Apprenticeships for university employees

NEW: Apprenticeship Cohorts

The University has moved to cohort starts for all apprenticeships across the University, to enable us to better support apprentices and line managers and build a robust onboarding, induction and apprenticeship experience for all.

Cohort start dates for apprenticeships are three times a year in January, April and September to align with our course start dates.

We will be creating a cohort and community of apprentices to enhance your experience and further support your career development.


Apprenticeship training is funded by the Apprenticeship Levy and is available to staff of all ages and grades. Please note that the levy pays for the apprenticeship training, not the employee's salary.


There are some conditions that are set nationally by the government (e.g. citizenship and residency requirements, minimum contracted hours). If your role is externally funded, you must obtain approval from the funder before you can enrol on an apprenticeship.

You must have an employment contract with the University which covers at least the length of the proposed apprenticeship. An apprenticeship does require a significant commitment of at least 13 months (longer for some courses), so you and your manager must be willing to commit to successful completion.

The apprenticeship must provide you with opportunities to gain significant new skills, so you would not be eligible if you already hold a qualification at a higher level in the same field or extensive knowledge in the subject, although you can take an apprenticeship to help you retrain into a new professional area. Your current role must match the content of the proposed apprenticeship course and provide appropriate opportunities for on-the-job training and skills development.

Apprenticeship courses may require a particular level of prior education or knowledge:

  • All apprenticeship courses require basic proficiency in Maths and English, which you can demonstrate either through GCSE qualifications at level 4 or above (it is your responsibility to evidence these), or by taking separate short courses in Functional Skills. The Training Provider may ask you to complete brief Maths and English assessments as part of the application process.
  • Some apprenticeship courses at level 3 and above may require completion of a related apprenticeship at a lower level. It may be possible to gain an exemption from this requirement if you can demonstrate equivalent prior learning or experience. The Training Provider would discuss which level would be most appropriate for you based on your previous experience and current skills.
  • If you are already taking another training course or qualification, you should complete this first before starting an apprenticeship. The commitment required to complete an apprenticeship may be compromised if you try to do this alongside other studies.

Our Work Learn Develop apprenticeship programmes provide funded professional training and development opportunities for University staff. The apprenticeship courses cover a wide range of core administrative skills and specialist technical areas. All are nationally accredited and offer recognised professional qualifications. Please see the courses pages for further details.

Please read the guidance below and speak to your line manager about whether one of these courses might be suitable to develop your skills. If you have any queries, please email the Apprenticeships Team.

  • Discuss with your line manager
    Identify need for development in your role and talk with your manager about:
    - The area/course you want to do and the time commitment involved
    - How it will increase your skills and benefit the team
    - What on-the-job training opportunities you will be able to access.
  • Find an apprenticeship course
    Explore the area in which you would like training. You can use the apprenticeship courses which are currently popular and decide which one you would like to do. If you can't see a suitable course listed, you can search on the Government website for further options (please note that it does need to be relevant to your current role).
  • Sign up for an Information Session
    Go along to one of these sessions (with your manager if possible). Find out more about how apprenticeship training works for University employees and what is expected of departments. Ask the Apprenticeships Team any questions at the end of the presentation.
  • Contact the Apprenticeships Team
    Fill out an 'expression of interest' form (on the right hand side). Send it to the apprenticeship team to see if the University already has an approved provider for the course you are interested in.
  • Speak with Training Provider(s)
    The Apprenticeships Team will arrange a conversation between you and the potential Training Provider(s) to make sure they can meet your needs. At this point they may wish to see your CV/JD to check suitability for the course and discuss the expectations. 
  • Decision time
    Discuss with your manager and decide if you are ready to commit to an apprenticeship. Contact the Apprenticeships Team to confirm your decision (DO NOT sign any Training provider contract without consulting the Apprenticeships Team). 
  • Eligibility and Enrolment
    The training provider will provide you with their application forms to enrol onto the course and confirm eligibility. This usually includes a commitment statement and an individual learning plan for you and your manager to sign. The Apprenticeships Team can support you and your manager to complete the paperwork and confirm the funding for your course.

    Please also fill out our internal 'existing employee apprenticeship agreement' with approval from your line manager and HR, and send this to the Apprenticeships team. This will enrol you internally.

  • Start your apprenticeship
    You will start on your apprenticeship and be added to the University's apprenticeship networking group on Teams.
  • Develop your skills and complete work
    Attend your training course and any other relevant professional development sessions as required. Complete the work-based elements of your course. Take exams or submit assignments/portfolios as required. After this you will complete the End Point Assessment to demonstrate what you have learnt during your apprenticeship.
  • Volunteer to be an ambassador
    Get involved with the apprenticeship scheme by supporting events throughout the year and writing a case study of your story to help spread awareness and promote the opportunities available.
  • Celebrate your achievement!
    Complete your apprenticeship and receive your professional qualification and receive a University apprenticeship certificate.

The Work Learn Develop apprenticeship programme provides an excellent opportunity for our staff to develop their careers with professionally delivered, accredited courses which are relevant to their work. All apprenticeship training is funded through the University's Apprenticeship Levy account. Please note that the levy pays for the apprenticeship training, not the employee's salary.

The Apprenticeships Team would be delighted to hear from you to discuss how you can access the best work-based training for your staff.


  1. Identify your employees' training needs
    Incorporate discussions into 1:1 meetings or PDRs about their development areas and explore whether apprenticeship-based training might be a suitable option. 
  2. Find an apprenticeship course
    Guide your employee to read about some of the apprenticeship courses which the University currently has employees enrolled on. If you can't see a suitable course listed, you can search on the Government website for further options.
  3. Sign up for an Information Session
    Find out more about how apprenticeship training works for University employees and what is expected of managers and departments. Go along to one of these sessions with your employee(s) and ask the Apprenticeships Team any questions at the end of the presentation.
  4. Contact the Apprenticeships Team 
    Encourage your employee to get in touch to see if the University already has an approved provider for their chosen course, or use the national 'Find Apprenticeship Training' search to find new/alternative providers which they would like to explore.
  5. Speak with training provider
    The Apprenticeships Team will arrange a call/email between the employee and the Training Provider(s) to make sure they can meet their needs. At this point they will check suitability for the course and discuss the expectations.

    Training costs are covered out of the University's Apprenticeship Levy funding, but there may be ineligible costs such as professional registration or exam fees which the department may have to meet - it is important to identify these at this point.

  6. Decision time
    Discuss the options with your employee(s) and decide which course they want to apply for.

    The Apprenticeships Team can confirm if the University already has an agreement in place, or will set up a new agreement and payment arrangements so please do not sign any agreement/contract without consulting them.

  7. Eligibility and Enrolment 
    Please be aware there are a number of documents to be signed in advance of enrolment which will require your support. The training provider will provide you and your employee with these forms to enrol them onto the course and confirm eligibility.

    Help your employee to fill out the 'existing staff apprenticeship agreement' with the training provider, and send this to the Apprenticeships Team. You will be asked to complete the manager's section to confirm that you support their application and can provide suitable on-the-job training opportunities. This will enrol your employee internally and be sent to your HR team.

    The Apprenticeships Team will support you and your manager to complete the paperwork and confirm the funding for your course.

  8. Manage your apprentice
    Line managers are responsible for delivering on-the-job training to help apprentices to develop their skills and embed the learning from their course. You may also wish to assign a mentor to support your apprentice. Training is available for line managers, supervisors and mentors.

    The Training Provider will arrange regular progress reviews with you and your employee.


Expand All

Apprenticeship programmes are open to all employed staff, regardless of age or grade. A lack of formal qualifications is no barrier and there is support for staff with disabilities and long term health conditions.

Full details of the courses and qualifications available through the programme can be found in the Courses section.

For information on all available apprenticeships in England please go to the Find apprenticeship training site.

The University has contracted an accredited training provider – Abingdon and Witney College – to deliver the majority of our Apprenticeship courses.
If Abingdon and Witney College do not provide the particular course that you are interested in, we will arrange an alternative local training provider.

The details of where the training will take place will be specific to each course. This may be on University premises or at the training provider’s premises.

Your current role will need to support the training and development required for your chosen apprenticeship course. This means that your role must provide opportunities to practise and develop your skills 'on the job'. For example, if you want to undertake a management course you will need to have some level of management responsibility in your current duties, and the course will support you as you develop a higher level of management skills. Apprenticeship courses cannot be funded unless this requirement for on-the-job training is met.

You will need to commit to completing all elements of the agreed training programme. These may include any of the following:

  • day release for professional training
  • regular assessment and observation visits in the workplace
  • completion of assignments
  • an NVQ portfolio of evidence
  • an End Point Assessment

Employees who are on part-time hours can still go onto an apprenticeship course, although it is recommended this is at least 30 hours a week*. Please discuss your hours with the training provider who will be able to work out how much longer your apprenticeship would be. Below is an example of how this works.


Normal Duration Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship 

  • 15months (practical period) +3 months (Gateway/EPA) = 18 months (total).

Reduced Duration Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship (for part time 24 hour week)

  • 18 months and 3 weeks (practical period) +3 months (Gateway/EPA) = 21 months, 3 weeks (total)

*If you are on fewer hours than this, please contact the apprenticeships team to discuss further.

Apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity to develop the skills needed within your team. The courses provide professional qualifications and require a substantial commitment over a minimum of a year, so you can expect to see a significant increase in skill level, confidence and proficiency. Investing in staff training through apprenticeships can also significantly increase engagement, productivity and efficiency and help you to retain staff within your team.

You will need to commit to release the apprentice for around 20% of their contracted hours for the duration of the programme (usually 12 to 24 months, depending on the course). This will not all be time out of the office, but you must allow time to complete assignments and other training activities. Staff will still need to be paid at their current grade level for any time spent completing their training. They will also be visited regularly by external trainers to monitor progress and set new targets.

As a manager or team leader, please consider apprenticeship courses in conversations with your staff about their development, for example during regular 1:1 meetings or as part of your PDR process. If several of your staff could benefit from apprenticeships, you may need to consider the impact on the team's workload if they were all to enrol on the course at the same time. Most apprenticeship courses have either rolling enrolment or at least one intake per year.


  • Your current job role provides sufficient work-based opportunities to support the course objectives
  • You have professional learning needs which are a good fit for the programme
  • Your manager supports your application and will release you from work to undertake the required training and assessment

Please follow the step-by-step process above and contact the apprenticeships team with any questions.

Information Sessions:

WLD - Professional qualifications for University staff

Find out about how apprenticeship-based training can help

  • develop you in your current role
  • prepare you for a new role
  • develop your team




Join the Apprenticeships Team at one of our regular live virtual information sessions where we will discuss the opportunities available and how it might work for you and understand more about our cohort start dates.

Please register to attend a session via the Eventbrite link to the right of this page.


The University Apprenticeship Expo 2022 is now live - please visit the webpage on the right-hand side of this page to sign up for sessions.