Apprenticeships

Keele University is committed to attracting, developing and retaining a workforce that enables it to meet the strategic objectives.  Apprentices play a key role in this agenda whether it is development support for existing staff or new talent wishing to develop their careers at Keele.  By offering high quality apprenticeships, we can develop a workforce that is equipped for the future.

The following headings provide some useful information on what an apprenticeship is and how this may be applied in your areas.  Please speak with your link HR team to explore opportunities further for both existing staff and new apprenticeship roles.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a qualification which proves that an individual can demonstrate competence in the relevant skill, trade or occupation.  It combines training and working together, thereby enabling the apprentice to earn a salary whilst continuing with their education and enhancing their learning by gaining the practical experience along the way.  The practical experience apprentices gain will be aligned to the course they are studying to ensure their knowledge and experience is being developed along a chosen career path. 

What makes up an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are made up of four key elements. By completing all of these the apprentice will have a full framework certificate including professional skills and a nationally recognised qualification;

  1. A qualification which proves that competence is demonstrated in the relevant skill, trade or occupation.
  2. technical certificate (where required) underpinning the skills learnt with theory and knowledge.
  3. Minimum level of competence achieved through qualification in both maths and English. 
  4. Employment rights and responsibilities (ERR) in the workplace is a module which demonstrates that knowledge and understanding of areas such as employees’ rights, employment law, responsibilities, diversity and health and safety.

 

Apprenticeship Levels

There are four levels of Apprenticeship available:

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships

Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC. These provide the skills needed for a chosen career and allow entry to an Advanced Apprenticeship.

Advanced Level Apprenticeships

Advanced apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 3, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC. To start this programme, the applicant should ideally have five GCSEs (grade C or above) or have completed an Apprenticeship.

Higher Apprenticeships

Higher apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation degree. Higher apprenticeships work towards Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Degree Apprenticeships

In some cases apprentices can also progress to higher education, including university degrees. These are known as Degree Apprenticeships and work towards levels 6 and 7, awarding the apprentice with either a Bachelor’s or master’s degree upon completion.

 

How is the Apprenticeship Funded?

During 2017 the Government implemented a new way of funding apprenticeships.  This is known as the Apprenticeship Levy. As a large employer, Keele University make a statutory contribution based on the annual pay bill, which is then “topped up” by some additional government funding.
 
This funding is available for the University to draw down from in order to support new and existing staff in their career development. 
 
It is important to ensure spending of the Levy is undertaken effectively and is aligned to the local workforce plans which underpin the university’s strategic plans.
 
In order to manage the funding for our apprenticeships we have access to the Digital Apprenticeship Service (known as the DAS), enabling us to view our current levy balance, previous transactions and forecast funding available in the future. 
 
Approved apprenticeship standards and frameworks are allocated funding bands. Funds must only be used to pay for training and assessment to attain an apprenticeship that is eligible for funding, up to the limit of its funding band. If the price agreed between us and the provider is above the maximum value of the funding band for the apprenticeship, we must pay in full the difference between the band maximum and the agreed price. This cannot be funded from our digital account.

Benefits to supporting an apprentice

Research suggests that businesses find apprentices offer significant return on investment with the contribution they make, outweighing any investment in training and positive effects on an organisation as a whole. They provide an opportunity to grow our own talent, boost the skills of the workforce and help improve productivity.

Don't just take our word for it, below some of our colleagues share their experiences of both running and taking part in apprenticeship schemes at Keele...

 

Staff photo

Julia Molyneux, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Julia Molyneux the Undergraduate Admissions Manager for the School of Medicine shares her experience of operating an apprenticeship scheme...

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Julia Molyneux, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences have operated a rotational apprenticeship scheme for the last few years.  Each year, the faculty have aimed to recruit three business apprentices and rotated them through three different areas across their Schools and Research Institutes to offer a broad spectrum of experience in the role.

Julia Molyneux, UG Admissions Manager for the School of Medicine who supports the apprentices during part of their rotations says...

“Having an apprentice may give staff the opportunity to supervise/mentor when their current role doesn't allow for this. As a small team we have volunteered to have an apprentice during our peak work period - October to March. This allows an apprentice to experience a wide range of tasks from helping us check applications through to assisting on interview days. Whilst we recognise that an apprentice requires additional supervision they can also be very helpful in supporting teams during busy times.”


Emily Brayford

Emily is a former Business Administration apprentice who has since gone on to further her career at Keele.

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Emily Brayford

Type of apprenticeship and qualification 

Business Administration Apprenticeship - NVQ Level 2

Why an apprenticeship?

I attended University studying Psychology straight after completing A-Levels at college, but I didn't feel like this was what I wanted to do as it was more of a panic choice at the end of my time at college. I dropped out of University after only a month after seeing the Apprenticeship role advertised at Keele. I felt like I didn't have a clear career path in mind, so the apprenticeship scheme was perfect for me, as it would allow me to see whether this was an area of work that I enjoyed as well as being trained and paid at the same time.

Why Keele?

K​eele University is local to me and is a trustworthy employer, therefore was very appealing to me. 

Apprenticeship experience

The apprenticeship opened up new doors for me with lots of opportunities that I would have never have had before. I left college unsure of which career path to take, and this apprenticeship allowed me to experience many different roles in administration to assist me in working out and pursuing a path that I enjoyed. I was able to gain so much experience which consequentially enabled me to obtain a permanent job within the Primary Care Sciences and Research Institute.

The scheme that I was part of involved ​me spending 6 month block within 3 different areas of the Faculty of Health. I obtained my permanent job before the apprenticeship scheme ceased, meaning that I spent 6 months within the Medical school and another 6 months within Primary Care and Health Sciences, where I subsequently obtained a permanent position.

The training that I experienced during my time was invaluable and allowed me to see which aspects of the different administrative roles within the Faculty I enjoyed, and which ones I didn't. I received huge amounts of support in all of the different roles that I worked within, and was also given the time and support to complete a level 2 NVQ in Business administration. 

Experience since completing the apprenticeship

Following the apprenticeship scheme, I obtained a permanent position as an Administrative Assistant within the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences and then received a further promotion to the role of an Administrator and Personal Assistant 6 months later. I now work as a School Programme Administrator within the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment, which I was able to obtain from all of my experience as an apprentice. I also went on to complete an NVQ Level 3 in my permanent position.


APPRENTICE-TECHNICIAN

Thomas Horne

Thomas is a 2nd year Laboratory Technician apprentice.

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Thomas Horne

Type of apprenticeship and qualification 

Laboratory Technician Apprenticeship.

Whilst working full time I have been working towards a Level 3 Qualification in Applied Sciences and an NVQ in the Laboratory Technician role.

During my apprenticeship I have been based in the School of Pharmacy for the first 9 months, followed by 9 months in the School of Medicine.

Why an apprenticeship?

I chose to undertake this apprenticeship because I thought it would be a great opportunity to gain qualifications, as well as experience in the Science field and of course earn a salary whilst training. I also believed this apprenticeship would put me in a better position to gain full-time work upon completion, because of experiences I could gain which I would not be able to obtain through college.

Apprenticeship experience

During my time so far at Keele I have completed in-house courses, such as the ‘Electrically Competent Person’, to allow me to undertake PAT testing on electrical equipment throughout the Laboratory in my role as Technical support at Keele. Also during my time in the Medical School I have been given a role as a Fire Marshall, which again required me to complete some training. 

Throughout my apprenticeship I have worked with a lot of analytical and laboratory equipment such as UV Vis Spectrophotometer, ICP, microscopes, tablet press, various volume pipettes, balances, homogenisers, IR and Dissolution testers.

Having worked in the School of Pharmacy and Medical School I believe this has helped to broaden my knowledge in different work environments whilst working with different colleagues. I also think that this apprenticeship has helped me to gain confidence working individually as well as working as part of a team.


APPRENTICE-NURSERY

Megan Ackley

Megan is currently based at the University’s nursery undertaking her apprenticeship.

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Megan Ackley

Type of apprenticeship and qualification 

Nursery Apprenticeship - Level 2 Children’s and Young Peoples Workforce.

Why an apprenticeship?

I thought the apprenticeship route would be the best to take as it is the best way for me to develop my skills in different aspects. Doing this apprenticeship in a subject completely unknown to me put me out of my comfort zone but I felt this would be the best way to learn and improve my skills in childcare. I also feel companies look for people who have more experience rather than everything being about qualifications, so I felt the apprentice route would benefit me with future jobs.

Why Keele?

I chose to work at Keele University as they are a reputable and high performing university and employer. I believed Keele would be a better alternative compared to other apprenticeship opportunities. 

Apprenticeship experience

I started the apprenticeship at the beginning of September 2017, and have already completed multiple training courses which is more than my previous jobs had provided me with. I have completed Level 1 Food Hygiene, and Level 3 Paediatric First Aid. I am also booked onto Level 1 Safeguarding, Manual Handling and Fire Safety Training in the coming months. The support from colleagues at the day nursery is ongoing and they always treat me as more than “just an apprentice”, they have made me feel welcome and helped me with my continuous amount of questions and my development.


APPRENTICE-TECHNICIAN

Zakee Hayat

Zak who undertook a Technician apprenticeship based at the University’s Anatomy Suite and has since gone on to progress his career in the department.

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Zakee Hayat

Type of apprenticeship and qualification 

Technican Apprenticeship -

A BTEC in Applied Science Level 3

NVQ in Laboratory Techniques Level 3

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills Level 3

Employee Rights and Responsibilities level 3

OCR Level 2 qualification in ICT

RSci Tech with SOB

Why an apprenticeship?

I chose to undertake an apprenticeship due to the ability to develop skills relevant to my job, receive quality training and also earn a wage at the same time. It allows you to begin setting up for your career of choice or progress onto higher education. As an apprentice, you get to work alongside experienced staff that will help you to develop job-specific skills, learning both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that prepare you for your career. You spend time working with people of all ages and abilities and develop your confidence, communication skills and ability to work in a team. Also, the opportunity to earn whilst you learn sounded appealing!

Why Keele?

I chose an apprenticeship at Keele as the thought of working at a university intrigued me, when I saw the job advertisement it was something I was very interested in. The countless amount of positive feedback which is available online just proves what a lovely establishment Keele is, both to work and study at. Finally, Keele’s mission and vision shows that they are ambitious and it is encouraging to work at a place which has these views.

Apprenticeship experience

I found the apprenticeship experience a great deal of fun. The training was detailed and thorough and set me up well for the future of my job. I received the relevant training which covered all aspects of my role and now allows me to perform my job to a high and safe standard. Any questions/problems I had were dealt with instantly and nothing was ever too much to ask. All of my colleagues are great and we are a close knit team.

Experience since completing the apprenticeship

Since achieving my qualifications, I have undertaken a lot more responsibilities in my role. I have more freedom and feel like I am a valued member of the team.