An apprenticeship is a way to achieve a recognised qualification while gaining industry experience. It involves working and studying at the same time.

If you’ve been researching apprenticeships, you might have seen some technical jargon that you’re just not sure about. Here, we break down what each term means so you can confidently navigate the world of apprenticeships.

  • Apprenticeship standard: An apprenticeship needs to have an approved ‘standard’ in England that defines what you do and learn while you’re there. It’s how an apprenticeship is structured and makes sure you get the most out of the experience.
  • Apprenticeship frameworks: In England, frameworks are the old version of ‘standards’ and aren't used anymore. In Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, frameworks mean the way the apprenticeship is structured, similar to a ‘standard’ in England.
  • End-point assessment: An assessment you take at the end of your apprenticeship, carried out by an independent body. You'll have to demonstrate you can carry out your job responsibilities and that you have the knowledge and skills for the role. This is usually the last step before you get your qualification.
  • Knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs): Things you need to learn and demonstrate throughout your apprenticeship and during your final assessment to be awarded your qualification. These will be set out at the start of the apprenticeship.
  • Degree apprenticeship: An apprenticeship where you gain either an undergraduate or master’s degree while working. Degree apprenticeships are available in England and Wales.
  • Graduate apprenticeship: In Scotland, degree apprenticeships are known as graduate apprenticeships. This is an apprenticeship where you can gain an undergraduate or master's degree at the same time.

  • Apprenticeship levels: Apprenticeship levels tell you how advanced the apprenticeship is. They start from Level 2 and go all the way up to Level 7, and the level you start on depends on your previous qualifications and experience. The qualification you get at each level is different. For example, a Level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to GCSEs, and a Level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree. In Scotland, apprenticeship levels work slightly differently and include foundation, modern and graduate apprenticeships.
  • Training provider: The organisation that delivers the study part of your apprenticeship. For example, a university or college that is partnered with your employer to provide the apprenticeship.
  • Commitment statement: At the start of an apprenticeship, you, your employer and training provider all sign a statement, like a contract, that includes the details of the apprenticeship. This includes how the training will work and what’s expected of you. It’s designed to make sure you and your employer benefit from your apprenticeship.
  • Apprenticeship starts: Someone starting an apprenticeship. You might see this in reports, e.g. ‘There were 1 million apprenticeship starts in 2021’. This means that 1 million people started apprenticeships in that year.
  • Learner: Sometimes apprentices are referred to as learners.

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