A Guide to Apprenticeships:
Everything Tech Employers Need to Know

If you’re a tech employer looking at providing apprenticeships, you may be unsure where to start. In this article, we lay out some of the key information you need to understand the world of apprenticeships, and how best to get your apprenticeship journey off the ground.

Employer, Insights

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Table of Contents

Apprenticeships in the tech sector

The tech sector is a fast-paced and continuously evolving industry. For businesses to stay on top of their game, teams need to be equipped with the most up to date and relevant digital skills, and many employers are turning to apprenticeships to do so. In fact, digital and IT apprenticeships are currently one of the most successful apprenticeship areas in terms of programme completions, with 77% of all digital and IT apprentices passing their apprenticeship in 2021, compared to the national average of 69%.

But what are apprenticeships, and what do they involve?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that allow employees to develop new skills, knowledge and behaviours whilst working alongside their job. They are delivered by experts from the industry who draw on real-life experience to bring training to life. Apprenticeships are designed so that learners can start applying their newly developed skills from the get-go.

Apprenticeship training is highly accessible and flexible for learners and employers. At Intequal, we deliver apprenticeship training online through virtual group classrooms so that apprentices don’t have to spend any time away from the workplace. These are carried out by our expert Technical Trainers who have years of experience using the technologies they teach and a wealth of knowledge from working in the tech sector.

In addition to on-the-job training, apprenticeships now also include an element of off-the-job training. Off-the-job training is a mandatory part of any apprenticeship programme in England and must be completed during the apprentice’s working hours. Activities must be relevant to the apprenticeship but not relate directly to their job role. It should enrich the learner's experience and deepen their knowledge. Your apprenticeship training provider will plan, set, track and monitor off-the-job training.

The final stage of an apprenticeship is called the End-point Assessment (EPA). EPA is designed to assess whether the learner has developed the relevant skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the apprenticeship standard. The End-point Assessor will be a third-party organisation, separate from the Training Provider and will be impartial to give an unbiased review of the apprentice’s abilities.

What apprenticeships are available in tech?

There are apprenticeships available across many different areas of tech, digital and IT. At Intequal, we focus on apprenticeships in data analytics, software development, digital marketing, IT infrastructure, networking and technical sales. We continually revise the content of our apprenticeships so that learners can receive the most up-to-date training in the industry and have partnered with Microsoft to ensure we embed the latest training for businesses working with Microsoft technologies.

We focus not only on technical skills, but also soft skills so that apprentices are fully equipped to thrive in the workplace, covering topics such as communication, stakeholder management and critical thinking.

Find out more about digital and IT apprenticeship programmes here.

Apprenticeship levels explained

Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 through to Level 7. At Intequal we deliver Level 3 and Level 4 tech apprenticeships to support people entering the tech sector or progressing their career.

Level 3 apprenticeships equate to two A-level passes. They’re considered an advanced apprenticeship and take between 16-18 months to complete, depending on the programme. Level 4 apprenticeships are equivalent to a first-year undergraduate degree. These are classified as higher apprenticeships and take between 18-19 months to complete.

Who can do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are available to anyone between the ages of 16-65 years and can be completed at any time in a person’s career – as long as they’ve not already gained the skills and knowledge related to the apprenticeship they’d like to do. They are suitable for everyone, from school leavers, existing employees, new recruits and those who are wanting to make a career change.

Apprenticeships are also highly effective for promoting your business’ social mobility, as they help upskill those from disadvantaged and under-represented groups. Find out more about how apprenticeships help access a wider pool of talent from your local community.

How apprenticeships are funded

For large employers with annual wage bills over £3million, apprenticeships are funded through the apprenticeship levy.
If you’re an SME, the government will support your business through co-investment, meaning the government will pay 95% of apprenticeship costs and your organisation pays 5%. This covers all required training and End-point Assessment, as well as apprentice recruitment if you’re hiring new talent. This cost-effective solution to training means almost any business can utilise apprenticeships to attract, upskill and retain talent - and many are choosing to do so.

Read more about apprenticeship funding here.

Expectations of employers: time and management

Time can be a concern for some managers or businesses who are looking to enrol apprentices, but it doesn’t have to be. At Intequal, we’re dedicated to making apprenticeships a hassle-free experience for employers.

From the start you’ll be connected with one of our tech experts who are regional to your area. They’ll get to know your business needs, objectives and culture to advise on which apprenticeship programme would best suit your organisation. Our in-house recruitment team then manages the full recruitment process, from posting job ads, to eligibility checks and preparing applicants for you to interview. This is all with no extra cost to you as an employer.

Our apprenticeship delivery is online, meaning your apprentices don’t have to spend large amounts of time away from the workplace, and can be flexible as to where they complete their training. Every business we work with will be assigned a Pathway Planner who mentors and supports your learners with periodical reviews, to ensure they are on track with their programme. The support of the Pathway Planner takes time pressures off managers and senior team members, as they will make sure your apprentice is guided every step of their training.

Employers and managers will need to carry out normal onboarding procedures and employee engagement. They will also be required to review apprentice’s progress every two months, but our team will always be on hand to give extra support and guidance if you should need it.

Why tech employers should invest in apprenticeships

There are many benefits to employers utilising tech apprenticeships. Through developing a long-term upskilling strategy for your teams, you can create more opportunities for your workforce to progress, meaning you can nurture your in-house talent. This in turn improves your overall retention rate. In fact, an impressive 92% of Intequal apprentices choose to stay with their employer after completing their apprenticeship training.

SMEs have seen significant results from utilising digital apprenticeships. It was recently found that SMEs experienced higher levels of productivity from their apprentices compared to their graduate recruits, as well as high levels of retention and loyalty among ex-apprentices.

Another benefit of apprenticeships is their ability to attract new enthusiastic employees, who have a hunger for learning. Through offering progressive apprenticeships in tech, you engage people who are eager to learn and can bring new innovative ideas and perspectives, giving your company and competitive advantage and making you an employer of choice. Read about Phoenix Software’s experience of using apprenticeships to attract and retain new talent in their IT helpdesk team.

Apprenticeship programmes are also highly cost-effective form of training, with the government paying between 95-100% of total training costs for SMEs. Through using a training provider, such as Intequal, you can remove the hassle and get experts to manage the process, meaning they are of little time commitment to managers.

To find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships, head to our employer page.

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