Technician Development Framework

Technician Development Framework 

Key Terms and FAQs

Understanding Apprenticeships

The following is based on the current (as of July 2017)  ESFA / Institute for Apprenticeships Guidance

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a genuine job with an accompanying skills development programme. Through their apprenticeship, apprentices gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills they need for their immediate job and future career. The apprentice gains this through a wide mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practice new skills in a real work environment, at the level appropriate for the apprenticeship standard.

The required knowledge skills and behaviours are defined within the relevant apprenticeship standard. Standards are developed by employers to reflect the relevant training need for that particular occupation.

Apprentices are employees and have a contract of employment.

Apprenticeships must last a minimum of 12 months, with 20% structured off-the-job training, with an approved provider, before the end-point assessment, to develop competence in an occupation.

Off-the- job training is learning which is undertaken outside the normal day-to-day working environment and contributes towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. Although this can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work, it must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties. The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship schemes can bring a range of benefits for both the individual and the organisation. If developed and delivered as part of strategic activities, such as succession planning and talent management, apprenticeships provide an opportunity for the organisation to:

  • Develop new talent to support succession planning
  • Develop existing staff

They provide opportunities for apprentices to:

  • Gain and develop skills, experience and qualifications that may not have been accessible to them in other settings
  • Provide a supported opportunity to work towards or achieve professional registration
  • Significantly enhance their employability
  • Gain a greater understanding of their career choices

To meet the needs of both the organisation and the apprentices, the development and delivery of an apprenticeship programme must be driven by strategic need, informed by a clear understanding of the profile of the technical workforce and of the current and future needs of the organisation.

What is a Traineeship?

There is no clear, common definition or approach to traineeships; their scope is much wider and less clearly defined than apprenticeships.  Government documents cite traineeships as a precursor to apprenticeships, however in some cases HEIs have traineeships that follow on from or are instead of apprenticeships.

The title ‘Traineeship’ is used to encompass many types of training schemes and, as a result, whilst there is good practice available, there are limited consistent formal standards available to be applied in the design of training programmes.

We recommend that Traineeships should be used when training needs cannot be supported by the apprenticeship programme. We also recommend that the quality of design and delivery should reflect the approaches taken to develop an apprenticeship.

What is an Internship?

“An internship is where an individual works to gain relevant professional experience before embarking on a career” as defined in the Common Best Practice Code for High Quality Internships.

Professional Registration

Over recent years the Science Council has introduced a Professional Registration scheme for technicians. This scheme aims to enable technicians to demonstrate their competency at the appropriate level by applying for professional registration. Technicians must then demonstrate that they are continuing to develop their skills and competence on a yearly basis. This seeks to ensure that technical staff are working to a consistently high professional standard.

This framework provides guidance on designing and implementing training programmes which align the training received with the requirements of the three levels of professional registration. This approach aims to bring about a more consistent standard to training schemes by informing new programme design and current programme revisions.


What is meant by a genuine job?

There must be a ‘genuine job’ available during the apprenticeship. By ‘genuine’, the government means that:

  • The apprentice must have a contract of employment which is long enough for them to complete the apprenticeship successfully.
  • The apprentice must have a job role (or roles) within the organisation that provides the opportunity for them to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve their apprenticeship. This can be:
    • a new role(s), or
    • an existing job role where the person needs significant new knowledge
  • The apprentice must have appropriate support from within the organisation to carry out their job role.
  • When the apprenticeship is achieved, the expectation would be that the apprentice would continue in the role where a job opportunity continues to exist and where the apprentice wishes to remain in the job. Where this is not possible, you and the provider must support the apprentice to seek alternative opportunities.
  • The ESFA / Institute for Apprenticeships will monitor apprentice destination data and HMRC data to ensure that job roles are genuine and are not created purely for the purposes of the apprenticeship programme, and take action if not satisfied.

What is an apprenticeship standard?

Apprenticeship Standards are developed by employers around a job role or occupation. Each Standard includes details about:

  • The level of the standard
  • The length of the standard
  • The funding level attached to the standard.

The Standard also details:

  • The knowledge, skills and behaviours required to achieve the standard
  • The method of accessing the standard during, and at the end of, the standard
  • Qualifications needed to achieve the standard.

The standard will require (at least) 20% of the training to be off-the job, delivered by a registered ‘Training Provider’.

What are the apprenticeship levels?

The following names define the level of the apprenticeship and the equivalent educational level standard achieved at the end of the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Level
Equivalent educational level
Intermediate25 GCSE passes at grades A* to C
Advanced32 A level passes
Higher4, 5, 6 and 7Foundation degree and above
Degree6 and 7Bachelor’s or master’s degree

What is off-the-job training?

Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work, but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.

The off-the-job training must account for 20% of the apprenticeship and be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard. It could 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.

It does not include:

  • English and Maths (up to level 2) which is funded separately.
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard.
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s normal working hours (this cannot count towards the 20% off-the-job training).

What are funding bands?

Each Standard has been allocated a funding band which indicates the maximum amount that the government will pay for the training required within the Standard.  Employers may pay more, but this will not be paid for by government. Employers negotiate the final cost within the funding band. Find out more about funding bands here.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy and why is it relevant?

From April 2017, Government will collect the apprenticeship levy, on a monthly basis, from large employers, based on their headcount.

This money is held in a Digital Apprenticeship Service account to fund the off-the-job element of the apprenticeship. Once an apprenticeship has been agreed, the money can be ‘drawn down’ to pay the Training Provider.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are, in most cases, open to people of all ages.