Apprenticeship courses


There are over 600 Government approved apprenticeships available. Here at the University we currently have new entrant apprentices working towards the following apprenticeship qualifications

Professional Services

  • Business Administrator (Level 3)
  • Finance & Accounting (Level 2, 3 & 4)
  • HR Support (Level 3 & 5)
  • Customer Service (Level 2)
  • Marketing/Digital Marketing (Level 3)


  • Laboratory Technician (Level 3)
  • IT/Digital Support (Level 3 & 4)
  • Software Development (Level 4)
  • Engineering Operative/Technician (Level 2, 3 & 4)
  • Installation/Maintenance Electrician (Level 3)


  • Horticultural/Arborist (Level 2 & 3)
  • Facilities Operative/Management (Level 2 & 3)
  • Plumbing and Domestic Heating (Level 3)
  • Carpentry and Joinery (Level 2 & 3)
  • Cultural Heritage (Level 3)
  • Commis Chef (Level 2 & 3)


You will complete most of your training on-the-job at your designated department. You will work with your line manager to learn job-specific skills in the workplace. Any formal instruction will be delivered by the Training Provider and may take place in the workplace or through day or block release, depending on your type of Apprenticeship.


Alongside your training, you will have the opportunity to achieve your qualification by completing different types of work and development. This will depend on the Apprenticeship itself and the level of skill that it requires.

The different levels of apprenticeship correspond to the following:

Levels of Apprenticeship Training

Level of Apprenticeship

Equivalent qualification upon Completion


(Level 2)



(Level 3)



(Level 4)

Certificate of Higher Education or Degree



Apprenticeships last between one and four years depending on the level and complexity of the course. For example, a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Customer Service is likely to take 13 months whereas a Level 4 in Engineering may require four years.

The Apprenticeship will always be of adequate length to ensure that workplace learning and job experience is sufficient to prepare you for the role required of them.


When you join the University as an apprentice, you will earn a salary that will normally increase every year of the apprenticeship. And because the University is a 'Living Wage Employer', your salary is likely to be very competitive compared to that of many other employers. In addition, the cost of the skills training and college fee will be covered by the government so your apprenticeship should not come at a cost to you.




In general, through an Apprenticeship you would obtain:

  • A technical diploma, based on material taught by your training provider through coursework
  • A competence certificate,* based on the skills learnt and demonstrated in the workplace
  • Employee rights and responsibilities
  • Functional skills (short courses in English, Mathematics and ICT)

*For the competence certificate, you will complete tasks at work and build up a portfolio demonstrating the range of skills acquired. Your portfolio will be reviewed periodically by an assessor from the college, who will guide you on what needs to be done to complete the portfolio. In many fields, the competence part is called an NVQ or National Vocational Qualification.


For more information on how to become an apprentice in the UK, visit the government sites here.

Off the Job Training

Anyone doing Apprenticeship-based training will spend at least 20% of their time on Off The Job (OTJ) training. Apprentices don’t need to be called away from their job one day a week - in fact, they don't even need to leave the office...

Off-the-job training refers to any activity relevant to the job but not covered by day-to-day tasks. Department of Education (DoE) guidelines on Off The Job training state 'It is the activity, rather than the location that determines whether the training meets the funding rules definition'

The ESFA sets out that the definition is as follows:

“Off-the-job training is training received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s paid hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship. “It is not training delivered for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. “Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. “Off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard, teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours required to reach competence in the particular occupation.”

The Apprenticeship funding rules state that off-the-job training can include the following:

  • “The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training) 
  • “Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions,
  • “Learning support and time spent writing assessments / assignments.”


Q: Why must all off-the-job training, including where it has been re-arranged, take place during paid hours? 

A: An apprenticeship is a work-based programme. The training is required to help the apprentice become fully occupationally competent in the workplace. Therefore, it is reasonable that the apprenticeship should be delivered during the apprentice’s working hours. It is not appropriate, and would be unfair, to expect an apprentice to undertake the apprenticeship in their own time, in addition to their job role. The delivery of the apprenticeship content is flexible. It is up to the employer and the training provider to decide at what point during the apprenticeship the training is best delivered. This could be a proportion every day, one day a week throughout, one week out of every five or some other variation. This will depend on what is best for the organisation and the apprentice.

Q: Does the 20% off-the-job training requirement apply to all levels of apprenticeships?

A: Yes, there is no differential based on the level of the programme. At levels 2, 3 and 4 some employers are arguably more accustomed to a day-release type of model, which equates broadly to the 20% minimum. The eligibility criteria for the apprenticeship programme is the same regardless of level, i.e. that the individual requires significant upskilling to be occupational competent. Therefore the input of training, and how and when it is delivered, is also the same, regardless of the level of apprenticeship.

Q: Has the ESFA considered the financial burden that the 20% off-the-job training policy places on employers?

A: An individual will only be engaged in off-the-job training if they are an apprentice, and they should only be an apprentice if the employer has agreed that they require significant new learning (which meets the minimum threshold) to be able to perform their job effectively. If the individual does not require this level of training and can perform their job adequately without it, then they should not be engaged on an apprenticeship.

For those that are engaged on an Apprenticeship there may be an initial loss of productivity, due to the time the apprentice is engaged in training, but in the long term, the new skills that the person brings back to the workplace, which makes them fully occupationally competent, should compensate for this. An apprenticeship is one of many programmes on the market and a different programme may be a better fit for an individual or their particular employment circumstances, e.g. those that require a smaller amount of training or those where the employer cannot commit to the amount of training time to be delivered within working hours.

Q: How does the minimum off-the-job requirement work with prior learning? If someone has prior learning recognised do they have to do additional training to make up 20% of their time on programme?


A: Apprentices are not expected to do extra (unnecessary) hours, but they still have to do a minimum of 20% off-the-job training. 18 For example, if the apprenticeship requires a level 2 and a level 3 qualification and the individual already had the level 2, then the training provider should recognise this as prior learning. In doing so they are reducing the cost and the duration of the apprenticeship (as the apprentice now only requires the level 3 qualification).

The new (reduced) duration must still meet the minimum training duration threshold of 12 months. Of this new (reduced) duration, 20% of the working hours for this period should be spent on off-the-job training. The apprentice is still doing the minimum 20% off-the-job training (albeit against a reduced timeframe) and their previous learning has also been taken into account.


All FAQs can be found on the Department for Educations 'Off-the-job training: policy background and examples document'.

At the University, we work with many training providers to deliver our Apprenticeships. This is to ensure we always fit the apprentice and department with the most suitable course for their role.


See a list of our current Training Providers below...