Apprenticeship Standards

What you need to know

The way Apprenticeships work is evolving. Previously they were based on around 250 ‘Frameworks’; now, the government is developing between 600-800 ‘Apprenticeship Standards’ that will set out what Apprentices need to learn.

Why are you messing with Apprenticeships?

Not us! We just report things. But Apprenticeships have always been evolving: Apprentices in the 12th century were handed over to their masters for seven to nine years, and their parents paid for the privilege. Now you get paid to be an Apprentice – so that’s progress – and the new system will make Apprenticeships easier to deliver, and more relevant to the careers they’re training people for.

What is an Apprenticeship Standard?

Broadly, it’s a list of skills and abilities that any Apprentice working in a particular occupation needs to have in order to do the job. The idea is that by focusing programmes on specific job roles (like Customer Service practitioner, fishmonger, highway electrician) and making Apprenticeships the same across a particular profession, rather than varying slightly between regions and employers, Apprentices will get training that they’ll be able to take anywhere.

How have they been put together?

The new Standards have been developed by Trailblazers. We’ll admit that this does sound like the next Marvel superhero team, but it refers to groups of major employers who have all collaborated to put the Standards together. This is good because it means that Apprentices will be learning things that employers know they need – so as an Apprentice, you can be confident that you’ll be getting the right kind of training that will make you employable at the end.

Apprenticeship FAQ's

What's the difference between an Apprenticeship Standard and what was there before?

There are a few differences. For a start, because there are more Standards, they’re much more tailored to specific occupations rather than being grouped under a single, broad Framework. Again, this is good for Apprentices, as it guarantees you’re on a programme that’s focused on the career you’re interested in.

The new Standards are also more rigorous and will be assessed differently. Rather than ongoing assessment throughout your Apprenticeship, you’ll be assessed at the end once your employer believes you’re competent enough. The exact details of these assessments are still being worked out, but employers will be able to tell you more when you apply.

Can you give me an example?

Yes. The Apprenticeship Standard for a commis chef (the most junior cooking role in a kitchen, working under the supervision of a senior chef) is ready to serve up and covers areas like:

– Basic food prep, hygiene and nutrition

– Knife use and safety

– Showing commitment to trying out new ingredients and dishes (it’s a hard life)

– Keeping up to date with trends in the business and wider industry

It’s been developed by employers including Hilton Worldwide, McDonald’s and the Institute of Hospitality – all people who know a thing or two about running kitchens.

What do I need to do now?

Definitely don’t worry about Standards or Frameworks – employers will give you more details about their Apprenticeship programmes when you apply. Plus, not every occupation has a new Standard yet as many are still in development (the target for having them all ready is 2020), so you might not even encounter one if you’re starting an Apprenticeship soon.

The main thing is that whether there’s a Standard for your chosen profession or not, the benefits of an Apprenticeship – learning on the job, getting paid and developing career-specific skills – remain the same. So all you need to do is keep researching the kind of career that interests you and search for Apprenticeships at

Find out more about Apprenticeship Standards here.

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