What are apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships can be the start of a completely new career path, or they can help experienced professionals progress in their industry. They give apprentices the skills and knowledge they need to do their job effectively.
Many people think apprenticeships are only for young, new employees, but we see apprentices of all ages come through our doors at TSW Training. Depending on eligibility rules, apprentices can often be existing employees, or employees taking on new roles too.
On an apprenticeship programme, learners are able to put what they learn into practice as they work alongside their colleagues day-in, day-out. An apprenticeship also allows them to earn a wage while they’re learning, so they’re able to support themselves financially and gain a nationally recognised qualification at the same time.
According to the Government’s Apprenticeship Evaluation 2021, employers choose to recruit apprentices based on the benefit to the apprentice and/or the community, as well as the cost and affordability of apprenticeship programmes.
How to recruit an apprentice
If you have fixed recruitment processes then that’s fine, you can follow your usual channels and simply advise us of the successful applicant(s) once the process is complete.
However, TSW are here to support you throughout the recruitment process. If you ‘d like us to help you recruit, then we can do as little or as much as you want us to.
- Help you write the advert
- Advertise on your behalf (including Indeed, Apprentice Vacancy Service, Careers Wales)
- Sift your applicants down to a shortlist
- Organise interviews for your shortlist.
- Support on the interview process
You tell us what you need, and we’ll put together a support package that meets your needs, free of charge!
With over 50 years’ experience behind us, we’re experts in apprenticeships and many other training programmes; we do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your business priorities instead.
In fact, 99% of employers agreed that they were satisfied with the support we offer, in our latest Employer Survey*.
It means that everybody is able to access training, no matter how big their training budget.”
How much does an apprenticeship in Wales cost?
Apprenticeships in Wales are fully-funded by the Welsh Government who aim to boost the economy by helping more people get into employment.
We manage all the funding for you, making the process as easy as possible.
Funding Opportunities with TSW Training
Funding Opportunities with TSW Training
How do apprenticeships benefit employers?
Employers can use apprenticeships to train staff using their own systems and processes. For instance, an engineering apprentice could learn tools and techniques that are unique to the company they’re working for.
Apprenticeships can be a great way for employers to futureproof their business as they allow the team to plan ahead, and fill any skills gaps they might have uncovered.
While an employer will pay the apprentice’s wages, training costs are typically fully-funded by the Welsh Government, which means the employer can save money too.
The Benefits Of Apprenticeships For Employers
The Benefits Of Apprenticeships For Employers
Who can take an apprenticeship with TSW in Wales?
The eligibility criteria differs between occupations and the level of qualification, but in general, apprentices need to:
- Be 16 or over
- Be paid at least national minimum wage
- Be employed with you for at least 16 hours per week
- Be fully committed to all the qualifications within the apprenticeship
What do I need to offer an apprentice?
You’ll need to sign an agreement or contract with the apprentice that outlines what they can expect from the apprenticeship, and what you as a business expect in return. That could be things like offering an exceptional learning experience, and a safe environment to work in. We can provide all the guidance you need on this.
An apprentice will also need time to complete their work, so you should be prepared to give them time to study, alongside the learning they’ll do on the job.
Above all, they’ll need to be surrounded by a supportive team and mentors who they can learn from, so make sure they have people on hand to answer any questions they might have.
Discover more about what it takes to manage your new apprentices in our blog.
Developing skills and career prospects
Developing skills and career prospects
*Figures taken from TSW Training’s Employer Survey 21/22
Apprenticeships are typically offered between Level 2 and 5, where Level 2 is someone who will be in a semi-skilled role or new to the industry/sector and level 5 being experienced senior managers/practitioners in that sector.
Much of the evidence required to achieve the competence element of an apprenticeship is gained on-the-job, and so their job role must match the requirements of the qualifications as best possible. At the planning stage, our Account Managers will support you in selecting the most appropriate level and qualifications for your apprentices and, the most appropriate units to be completed as part of those qualifications.
It’s all in the process! We’ll help you to:
- Advise on the funding eligibility requirements
- Write the person specification
- Evaluate the applicants against that specification
- Advise on the suitability of their past education
- Plan the interviews
A good recruitment process ensures that you get the right person for your organisation.
This will depend on the eligibility rules at the time and there can be situations where you will need to commit to immediate progression to ensure your apprentices remain eligible for the higher-level learning. Your Account Manager will be able to provide advice on the latest eligibility rules and support you in your planning.
Planning for progression and further development is an important element of the apprenticeship programme. Apprenticeships are available at a range of levels which broadly map out as follows:
Level 2 – Semi skilled roles or new entrants to the industry
Level 3 – Skilled roles and those with greater responsibility in the organisation
Level 4 – Senior operational roles
Level 5 – Senior strategic roles
Level 6 – Degree Apprenticeships
This is just a guide and level descriptors will vary slightly between different industries and sectors, but your Account Manager will be able to provide all the guidance you require on planning the next steps and identifying any funding available to support you.
Yes, absolutely! We are always really pleased to see an apprentice engage fully in their personal development and take the next steps in terms of qualifications and opportunities. The apprentice’s Training Advisor is the best person for them to discuss direct apprentice support for progression and development.
If an employer wants to discuss options for further development of their apprentice/s then they can speak to the Training Advisor or their Account Manager at any time.
One of the most important features of any good apprenticeship programme is the ongoing communication between TSW, the employer and the apprentice. This is essential to keep all parties accurately informed on the progress being made and to allow any adjustments and changes needed.
Feedback on progress is provided to the employer following every formal review with the apprentice (typically monthly) by the workplace Training Advisor allocated to your organisation.
Yes, apprentices are subject to the same employment rights and policies as your other employees.
It is often difficult to predict how a new employee will perform and behave in terms of punctuality, responsiveness to feedback, absenteeism, and other discretionary factors but, we can prepare as best possible at the planning stage.
It is always recommended that you consider the level of immediate impact you expect an apprentice to have in the workplace and manage expectations accordingly. For young people, this may be the first serious employment role that they have held and so there will be a period of learning and adjustment to the culture and professional expectations of the organisation. Their level of relevant skills and knowledge will be lower than other more experienced employees and this should be considered when measuring their performance in the workplace.
At the apprenticeship planning stage, it is important to consider the person specification you need to recruit and have an appropriate induction, mentoring and support system in place to develop them to the professional standard you expect. TSW can help you work through this process and advise based on our experience in the sector and on best practice approaches from other organisations.
This is managed on a case-by-case basis and our response is tailored to the specific circumstance and apprentice. If your apprentice is making slower progress than expected, learning more slowly than others or becoming anxious around learning then it is likely that the Training Advisor will increase the frequency of visits and support to meet their needs. The methods of delivery and support will also be reviewed, and the style of delivery monitored to ensure it meets their preferred learning style.
If there are concerns around additional learning needs (i.e. dyslexia) then our Quality Team will help by providing a Learning Coach to ensure that the support the apprentice receives is adapted to meet their needs.
We operate a range of feedback methods to allow you to provide ongoing feedback on our service and your experiences.
For general and ongoing feedback there are several routes to provide feedback and we actively encourage apprentices and employers to provide feedback and raise issues at every opportunity:
- At the monthly reviews with the Training Advisor
- Employer surveys
- Learner surveys
- Employer engagement meetings
- Ad hoc via Maytas Hub, phone, MS Teams or Email at any time
If there is an issue that is in more urgent need of addressing:
- Employer Engagement Manager: This is your primary contact as an employer, they are there to ensure that you get the service you require. In the first instance, take every issue to them.
- Quality Director: If an employer is still unhappy with the situation after speaking to the Employer Engagement Manager, then they can escalate the issue to the Quality Director.
- Training Advisor/Assessor: This is the primary contact for the apprentice. Any problems or concerns that an apprentice has should be directed at the Training Advisor in the first instance. If the apprentice is still unhappy with the service, or the outcome of a concern/issue, they can progress this issue to either the Internal Quality Assurer or the Account Manager for your organisation, both work independently of the Training Advisor.
- Appeals Procedure: If an apprentice is unhappy with assessment decisions that have been made then they can follow the formal Appeals Procedure
- Formal Complaints Procedure: While it is unlikely this would ever be required, should a learner or Employer be unsatisfied with previous support or responses then they can follow the formal complaints procedure.
The apprenticeship funding is attached to the individual apprentice, not the employer. As a result, we can follow the apprentice to their new employer and seamlessly pick up exactly where they left off.
Yes. Employment legislation applies equally to apprentices as to any other member of staff. We would always recommend that you fully consider the impact of shiftwork on their learning (positive or negative impacts) and consider the need for apprentices to be supervised on all of their shifts. Shift work can be a positive experience for apprentices when managed well as the breadth of experience they gain is greater.
This varies greatly across the various apprenticeship and levels. Your Account Manager will make you fully aware of requirements at the planning stage and allow you to fully review your options.
All accidents incurred by an apprentice must be reported and recorded in line with HSE guidance in the workplace.
TSW must also be informed of every accident involving an apprentice and, depending on the nature and severity of the accident, we may need to undertake an investigation on behalf of Welsh Government.
These things happen! We would ask that you let us know as soon as possible when an apprentice cannot make their appointment and let us know when they return to work. We will make alternative arrangements to ensure they continue to be supported as soon as possible following their return to work and keep them on track.
The quality of our services is of primary importance and is monitored using a broad range of sources and activities:
- The feedback gathering mentioned in the previous question
- Achievement statistics
- Quality Assurance strategies
- Observations of Training Advisors and IQA’s performing their roles
- Feedback visits with learners and employers
- Surveys with learners and employers
- Independent monitoring from Welsh Government
- Compliance Auditing (internal and external)
- Quality Auditing (internal and external)
- Peer observations performed by other apprenticeship providers within our consortium
- Formal inspection from His Majesty’s Inspectors, Estyn
- Welsh Government performance monitoring
The data and feedback gathered from these sources is evaluated by our Quality Director and formal development plans agreed. If you ever want to discuss our service development plans, just ask your Account Manager who will be more than happy to discuss our plans and get your feedback.