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Welcome to Northern Skills Group Northern Skills Group brings together the experience and expertise of Middlesbrough College and NECC Training and works with over 2000 businesses across the North East and Yorkshire.

An expert provider of apprenticeships, employer-led training and retraining, Northern Skills Group works with more businesses employing apprentices in more sectors and at more skill levels than ever before. We offer fantastic facilities, expert tuition and dedicated support to help you source the right apprentice and the right training programme. Our specialist team of Business Advisors can also offer advice and guidance on the Apprenticeship Reforms and Levy. High-quality apprenticeship programmes can help businesses create the skilled workforce needed to give them the competitive edge in a globalised economy. In this Employer’s Guide to Apprenticeships, you will find general information on apprenticeships and how they work as well as the benefits of taking on an apprentice.


Apprenticeships explained What is an Apprenticeship? Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes designed to industry standards and, more specifically, to meet the needs of employers which lead to nationally recognised qualifications. There are three levels of Apprenticeship: Level 2 – Intermediate Level Apprenticeship (GCSE) Level 3 – Advanced Level Apprenticeship (A Level) Level 4, 5 & 6 – Higher Level Apprenticeship (up to degree level) Apprenticeships allow staff to work, earn a wage and gain a work-based qualification, all at the same time.

How does it work? Training programmes are designed to your specific requirements and learning is flexible to fit around your organisation. Apprentice training is primarily delivered in the workplace, supported by day release arrangements for many learners depending on the programme. Your apprentice will be allocated a personal Training Adviser to support them throughout their training and to help them achieve their qualification. Our Training Advisers have been chosen for their expertise and industry background and provide a responsive service for both employers and learners.

What are my responsibilities as an employer? When taking on an apprentice, employers must agree to:

• Employ the learner under an Apprenticeship Agreement

• Provide thorough workplace induction and provide ongoing support and guidance

• Release apprentices from the job to complete

English and maths (and ICT if applicable) initial assessments, learning and examinations

• Provide a quiet area for apprentices to carry out their studies (off the job guided learning at least 2 hours per week) unless otherwise agreed with Northern Skills Group

• Work with Northern Skills Group to plan and

co-ordinate on and off the job training. All employers must permit 20% of each apprentice’s employed hours to be used for off-the-job training

• Release apprentices from the workplace to

undertake their training and exams at one of Northern Skills Group's learning facilities as detailed in the apprentice’s Learning Plan

• Monitor progress at all times and with Northern Skills Group not less than every 12 weeks

• Help learners put into practice what they are learning

Who are they for? Apprenticeships can be completed by existing staff who want to recognise and develop their skills, or by someone who has joined the organisation in an apprenticeship role. Apprenticeships are available for anyone over the age of 16; there is no upper age limit. Once recruited, your apprentice must be given a contract of employment and be employed for a minimum of 30 hours a week. Many employers offer a 37 hour week.


you know One in five employers are hiring apprentices to help them though the tough economic climate.

Applicants may be eligible for funding if they have not completed an apprenticeship at the same level previously, or if the new programme is materially different - such as a different role or sector.

Source: Nat

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Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


Apprenticeships explained Northern Skills Group responsibilities

What does it involve?

Northern Skills Group will support employers and their apprentices and will:

All apprenticeships include on-the-job competence and skills training along with the underpinning knowledge and essential work skills such as communication, teamwork, numeracy and IT. They allow individuals to work, earn a wage and gain the qualifications and knowledge that will form the foundation for their professional working life.

• Assign a Training Adviser who will determine the

apprentice’s learning plan and review their progress

• Set out an Individual Learning Plan for the learner and yourselves on our Smart Assessor e-portfolio

• Provide appropriate support to enable the

apprentice to achieve the English and maths goals set for them. Provide off the job training sessions to support skills development

• Review each apprentice’s progress at planned,

regular meetings and provide feedback to the employer in relation to English, maths (and ICT if applicable) progress

• Keep records of any off-the-job learning • Formally assess the learner's competence using

practices which are timely, fair, regular and reliable

• Give constructive feedback to learners following assessment

• Co-ordinate mock exams, exam entries and exam invigilation for your apprentices


you know Funding may be available to support the cost of your apprentice's training and their salary. Our team can provide help and support to you in accessing this. Source: Nat

ional App


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Apprenticeship components include: Employment An expected minimum of 30 hours a week paid employment. Many employers offer a 37 hour week. Knowledge element – Technical Certificate A technical certificate is a knowledge based qualification which helps develop an understanding of the industry or role. Transferable skills element – Functional Skills These are practical, applied skills relevant both to young people and adult learners. They will help develop important skills like communication, teamwork, problem -solving and presentation skills. These could be English, maths or ICT. Employment rights and responsibilities Each apprenticeship must include a requirement for your apprentice to develop knowledge and understanding about the world of employment. Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) This provides a framework for describing the qualities and skills needed for success in learning and life. End Point Assessment This includes a series of tests an apprentice must take to provide evidence they can do the job they have been training for.

Your existing staff can be trained through an apprenticeship Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


Apprenticeship Standards What are apprenticeship standards? Developed by employers, the new apprenticeship standards are gradually replacing existing apprenticeship frameworks and provide a simpler structure to apprenticeships. Once a new standard is in place, the outdated framework which it replaces will be discontinued as soon as it is practical to do so. Apprenticeship standards which are approved for delivery will include an approved delivery plan. Approved standards have been ready for employers and training providers to deliver from 1st May 2017 however a phased approach has been taken to implement each new standard. Northern Skills Group stay up to date as new standards are ready for delivery and work with curriculum to ensure they can be delivered as soon as possible. Visit apprenticeship-standards for an up to date list of the latest apprenticeship standards.

Initial Assessment

On-programme phase: On-the job and off-the job training

Gateway to end-point assessment

End-point assessment

Completion and certification

Occupational competence


Apprenticeships deliver real business benefits Helping you to succeed

Benefits include:

As businesses face the challenge of an increasingly competitive marketplace, skilled and qualified employees are more important than ever before. Apprenticeships represent an effective and economic approach to staff development that offers a real return.

Increasing productivity and efficiency Your employees will be equipped with the skills and knowledge directly relevant to your business so they can make a real contribution to improving your productivity.

Our apprenticeship programmes are designed by industry specialists to deliver a training solution that meets your business needs. Our teams will ensure that the skills learned by your apprentice are immediately beneficial to your organisation. Our high-quality apprenticeships are an ideal way for both new and existing employees to improve their skills and career prospects, whilst offering a cost effective way for the organisation to build a confident and dynamic workforce.

Survey results consistently show high levels of satisfaction amongst employers who use apprentices These include:


of employers were satisfied with the relevance of training


of employers believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce


of consumers favour using a company which takes on apprentices

Source: National Apprenticeship Service


Developing a skilled and qualified workforce The apprenticeship programme will be designed to ensure that your employees have the relevant knowledge and skills to effectively carry out their duties. A competitive edge The apprenticeship programme will help you gain a competitive edge by helping you develop the specialist skills needed to keep up to date with the latest technology and working practices in your industry. Improve profitability Skilled and motivated apprentices can improve your organisation’s efficiency and profitability as they are able to fulfil their role to a higher level. Reducing training and recruitment costs In selecting Northern Skills Group to work with you to train your apprentice you will benefit from our free recruitment service. Motivation Reducing absenteeism and sickness by increasing loyalty and motivation allows your employees to become ‘managers of the future’. Investing in career development will strengthen employee satisfaction making your team more motivated and loyal to your company, improving staff retention.

Apprenticeship Success Northern Skills Group helps new generation of construction talent

A new generation of home-grown construction talent is supporting the creation of homes across Teesside and North Yorkshire. Five apprentices have joined Redcarbased housing association Coast & Country to help its growth in providing homes for rent, sale and shared ownership. Alex Orr, 18, and Daniel Bland, Jack Dixon, Harry Potter, Ryan Honor, all 19, are now part of Coast and Country’s 450-strong workforce. Northern Skills Group, the apprenticeship and training arm of Middlesbrough College, will train the apprentices as they study and work in different construction disciplines. Alex, Jack and David are all training in joinery, while Ryan will focus on painting and Harry on plastering. Emma Tooth, apprenticeship co-ordinator at Coast & Country, said: “We are delighted to work with Northern Skills Group to give these five young people the opportunity to work and learn skills that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives. “It is so important that we invest in our young people and help them get onto the career ladder. An apprenticeship with Coast & Country provides a wide range of opportunities for people with very varied skills and I am sure that all our apprentices this year will not only enjoy learning but will go on to have successful careers in their chosen field.”

Meanwhile another four apprentices – also being trained by Northern Skills Group – have joined Northallertonbased Broadacres Housing Association. The cohort includes apprentice bricklayer Jack Heads, 23; apprentice heating engineer Issac Maury, 16; apprentice joiner Edward Kerridge, 17, and apprentice electrician Boden Skelton, 18. They were appointed following a rigorous recruitment process, supported by Northern Skills Group, which saw more than 200 people apply for the positions. Eighty people were then invited for initial assessments and interviews. Andy Powell, customer services director at Broadacres Housing Association, said: “Broadacres’ mission is to make a real difference to people’s lives by delivering homes that people want to live in. “Our work with Northern Skills Group to bring apprentices into the business is vitally important because it protects our future skills pipeline while providing training opportunities for people in the communities where we work.” Carol Jordan, Director of Employer Engagement at Northern Skills Group said: “The competition for high quality apprenticeship opportunities is becoming increasingly acute. To that end, Northern Skills Group now operates an Apprenticeship Academy where apprentices can undertake a personal development programme to improve their chances of employment and get a real taste of life as an apprentice.”

Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


How Northern Skills Group can help you Apprenticeships at Northern Skills Group Every industry requires good business and professional industry related skills to make it successful. These skills underpin the efficient running of any organisation or business and are invaluable. Northern Skills Group has an excellent track record of providing high-quality training and we pride ourselves in achieving excellent standards in our expanding apprenticeship provision. Our experience of working with employers ensures that you receive an excellent service and get the most from your apprentice.

Who we are working with Northern Skills Group work with businesses across the North East and Yorkshire delivering apprenticeship training and assessment at all levels. These include:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1st Cloud Accountants Acklam Hall Appamondo Bedford Street Coffee British Steel Broadacres House Caterpillar Chipcase Manners Coast and Country Crathorne Arms Darlington Building Society DIY World Elring Klinger Espresso Web Evolution LLP / Baldwins Group Greaves West & Ayre Guisborough Hall Hairfayre Hitachi Rail Europe Homestart Hunstman Pigments Intelect ISO Tank Jennings Ford Labman


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

LK Salon Love Dental Mastercopy Middlesbrough Council Mulroys Seaview Centre Home Nifco North East Kitchens North Tees Hospital Olympic Tankwash Parkmore Hotel Primex Plastics Pure Hairdressing Real Meals Sage UK Shasun Pharma The Blue Bell, Yarm The Curing House The Vehicle Group Thirteen Group Total Recycling Solutions Ultimate Grooming Utilitywise Watson Woodhouse Yorwaste Zoe's Place

Apprenticeships we offer:

Business and Professional AAT Accountancy Business Administration Financial Services Leadership & Management Team Leading Catering and Hospitality Cleaning & Environmental Support Services Food and Beverage Service Food Production and Cooking Hospitality Team Member Hospitality Supervision Hospitality Management Professional Cookery Commis Chef Senior Chef-Production cooking Cleaning Supervision Childcare Children and Young People’s Workforce Early Years Practitioner (Early Year’s Educator) Construction Bricklaying Civil Engineering for Technicians (Institute of Civil Engineers) Electrical Installation (in partnership with JTL) General Construction Operations Painting & Decorating Occupations Plumbing & Heating Occupations Plumbing & Heating Occupations (Domestic) Surveying Site Carpentry Building Maintenance Building Services Engineering for Technicians Construction Management Glass Fenestration Installation Glass Fenestration Surveying Fabrication of Glass Supporting Structures Property Maintenance

Customer Service/Contact Centre Customer Service Contact Centre Operations Health and Care Health and Care Dental Nursing Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy Barbering Beauty Therapy Hairdressing Nail Services Housing Housing Practice IT and Computing Coming soon Motor Vehicle Motor Vehicle Fitting Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Motor Vehicle Trailer Maintenance and Repair Motor Vehicle Advanced Diagnostics and Management Principles

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Electrical/Electronic Engineering Plating/Fabrication Pipefitting Welding Fabrication & Welding Engineering Design Environment/Waste Management Improving Operational Performance Laboratory Science Technician (Education or Industrial) Logistics Operations Logistics Support Operations Maintenance Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Mechanical Engineering Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering Process Instrumentation & Control Engineering Process Operations Science Manufacturing Technician Science Maintenance Technician Traffic Office Warehousing & Storage Waste Supervisors Sustainable Waste Management Engineering Tool Making Engineering Woodworking, Pattern & Model Making Installation & Commissioning Performing Engineering Operations Performing Manufacturing Operations Technical Support Glass Industries Teaching Support Teaching and Learning in Schools

“Over half the companies recruiting apprentices believe they offer better value than university graduates” City and Guilds Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


Apprenticeship Levy and Reforms In spring 2017 the Government changed the way it funds apprenticeships in England. Read our quick guide below to find out how the changes may impact on your business.


Levy-paying employers receive a £15,000 allowance to offset against payment of the Levy. This will then be ring-fenced as electronic vouchers that can only be used to purchase training from recognised providers



of employers in the UK will not be paying the apprenticeship levy. If you are an employer and your annual wage bill is less than £3m, you are part of that 98% and will not pay the apprenticeship levy.

Non-levy paying employers who take on apprentices will contribute 10% of apprenticeship costs, with the Government funding the remaining 90%. Levy-paying employers who are committed to apprenticeship training will be able to get more than they pay into the Levy through a top up of their digital accounts

For every 16-18 year old recruited via an apprenticeship programme, an employer will receive an extra

£1000 10

The Levy applies to employers across all industries regardless of whether they employ apprentices or not

Employers with an annual payroll of £3m and over will now be paying the Apprenticeship Levy. This will be 0.5% of that payroll and will be paid through Pay as You Earn (PAYE)

Any published apprenticeship standards can be found online:
















Funding bands have been created for apprenticeship frameworks and the new apprenticeship standards; there are 15 funding bands in total.


For employers with less than 50 staff who recruit 16-18 year olds via apprenticeships, the Government will fund 100% of the training costs.

Depending on the apprenticeship type and level, the 10% contribution from employers will range from £150 - £2700.

Funding to support Apprenticeships Available Grants

Available funding

There are grants available for employers through the National Apprenticeship Service which aim to support businesses who would not otherwise be in a position to recruit employees through an apprenticeship programme.

Funding may be available to support the cost of your apprentice’s training. We can discuss apprenticeship funding with you and support you with eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Northern Skills Group can advise on current funding and grants available. Call 03453 40 40 40 and speak with one of our Business Advisors.


you know Apprentices are NOT just for your new recruits. Your existing staff can be trained through an Apprenticeship programme.

Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


Apprenticeship Success Career progression for aspiring North East accountants

Northern Skills Group has worked closely with 1st Cloud Accountants’ to develop a bespoke preapprenticeship programme, which has helped talented young people secure apprentice positions at a leading North East accounting firm. Sunderland-based 1st Cloud Accountants originally selected 12 individuals to complete the programme. During the experience the students learned about VAT and payroll skills, participated in a Dragons’ Den-style presentation, a skills examination and an interview with the firm’s director, Steven Tuckwell. Upon completion of the programme, five students were chosen to start an AAT Apprenticeship, running from level 2 to level 4, at 1st Cloud Accountants after demonstrating great potential and enthusiasm for accountancy. The apprentices have been allocated across the firm’s two offices, which are based in Sunderland and South Shields. The three year-long apprenticeship will provide the learners with experience in payroll, tax, bookkeeping, IT, and general administration duties, as well as developing their abilities in using essential software such as Sage and Xero. Assessors at Northern Skills Group will also support the apprentices academically throughout the course and oversee the practical elements of their training to help them gain respectful qualifications. 1st Cloud Accountants has been recognised for its commitment to

apprenticeship training as a nominee for the Employer of the Year Award at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2018, with support from Northern Skills Group. Kirsty Miller, AAT Apprentice at 1st Cloud Accountants, said: “Accounting is a career path I had been considering for a while, so the pre-apprenticeship programme was an ideal way for me to gain experience before making a final decision. Having the opportunity to gain experience before my apprenticeship was extremely valuable and increased my confidence when starting my permanent position at 1st Cloud Accountants.” Elaine Spencer, Accounts Manager at 1st Cloud Accountants, said: “The pre-apprenticeship scheme provided by Northern Skills Group is a brilliant way for us to highlight individuals’ potential and passion for the subject before selecting final candidates. All five apprentices have demonstrated their continued determination to develop as accountants at 1st Cloud Accountants.” Carol Jordan, Director of Employer Engagement at Northern Skills Group said: “Our apprenticeship and training experts are committed to providing young people with alternative opportunities to university. The positive outcome experienced by apprentices at 1st Cloud Accountants is a great example of how successful our programme can be for North East businesses.”

Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


Recruit your Apprentice with Northern Skills Group Finding an apprentice

What happens next?

If you have a new vacancy to fill, our dedicated recruitment team can help your business find the right employee for the job. We will match the applicant qualifications, skills and experience to your requirements, ensuring you are provided with the appropriate candidates to interview.

Northern Skills Group will provide you with a dedicated Training Adviser to support and guide you through the apprenticeship programme. They will work closely with you to:

How we work with you

Agree a clear delivery plan and the method of delivery to suit you and your employees Manage the training and evaluation to our nationally recognised quality standards

Northern Skills Group has some clear steps in place helping you successfully start on the apprenticeship journey taking much of the hard work away.

Ensure that the training plan is held in a constant state of review to ensure that it meets your requirements and responds to any changes in your business needs

Identify a Vacancy Discuss your vacancy with our dedicated advisors. Our advisors will help you decide which apprenticeships are right for your workforce from level to qualification, and units to study. We will also explain the funding that may be available to you.

Provide you with regular reports on your apprentice’s progress

Advertise We will confirm the details of the vacancy with you and we will advertise your vacancy through our free recruitment service. We will also advertise the position on our website. Shortlist We will identify suitable candidates (new and/or existing staff) for the role and help you to plan the interviews. Selection We’ll invite the shortlisted candidates for you to interview and feedback to them when you’ve made your decision. We can also design and administer a skills test to inform your decision. Recruit When the successful candidate begins their employment with you, we will enrol them as a Northern Skills Group apprentice.


Apprenticeship Success Apprenticeships Not Just For New Staff Say Darlington Building Society Bosses

A leadership and management training programme delivered by Northern Skills Group is leading to the development of new working practices proposed by staff at Darlington Building Society. North East apprenticeship and training provider Northern Skills Group (NSG) has developed a tailored programme for Darlington Building Society, enabling staff to sharpen their professional skills and improve performance when managing people and projects. Two groups have recently completed Diplomas in Leadership and Management Levels 3 and 4, with another cohort due to start the Level 3 this Spring. The training uses the apprenticeship framework model to deliver practical work-based learning that is applicable to the employer’s business. In addition to launching further qualifications later this year, the Society is also working with NSG on a Level 5 programme after requests from its staff looking to expand on their newly-gained skills. The final stages of the completed programmes involved learners suggesting new ways to improve operations and presenting their ideas to a Darlington Building Society panel, which included the Chief Executive, Colin Fyfe. A number of ideas that came out of the training are now being progressed by the Building Society to helpimprove working practices and customer experience.

This includes increasing customer focus on initial mortgage appointments, to improve the implementation of change, and to enhance the Society’s work experience offering. Andy Kane, Learning and Development Manager at Darlington Building Society, said: “Our Learning and Management programme in partnership with Northern Skills Group provides valuable insights to our staff and enables them to better understand the wider business world.” “The exceptional quality of the presentations is proof that our team have gained crucial skills, which is allowing the successful implementation of new procedures to benefit the company overall.” Carol Jordan, Director of Employer Engagement at Northern Skills Group said: “Our apprenticeship and training experts help staff gain fundamental business skills while achieving a nationally recognised qualification. The team at Darlington Building Society has demonstrated sheer determination throughout the learning process, their innovative solutions to improve the society’s operations are a great example of how the benefits associated with apprenticeships exceed way beyond the individual learner.”

Northern Skills Group is here to support you with all your apprenticeship needs Contact us on 03453 40 40 40 • email.


Apprenticeship Success Budding barbers show they're a cut above for entrepreneur

TWO apprentices are helping a Yarm barber to grow his business in the town. Ben Harris, 17, and Emma Ward, 24, are both training in hairdressing techniques at Ultimate Grooming on Yarm Road, and have helped owner Anthony Andrews expand from two barber’s chairs to five. Budding barbers Ben, from Middlesbrough and Emma, from Stillington, are studying barbering apprenticeships through Northern Skills Group – the training and apprenticeship arm of Middlesbrough College. And entrepreneur Anthony credits the duo’s hard work as one of the key components in the growth of the business. He explained: “I acquired the business in November last year and have built it up since – establishing a strong customer base and making sure the shop is busy. “Ben and Emma are learning on the job, just as I did on the shop floor, watching and being mentored under the guidance of me and my brother Barney. The Northern Skills Group assessor Debbie visits weekly to make sure they’re on track with their skills and knowledge. Both are huge assets to the business. We’ve been able to grow from two chairs to five, and the momentum is really going.” The apprentices spend one day each week at Northern Skills Group’s Middlesbrough headquarters where they learn the latest techniques at Francescos Hairdressing and

Beauty Academy, a functioning salon open to the public. Emma came to Ultimate Grooming through a work experience placement, organised by the Jobcentre Plus. Ben, who is affectionately known as “The Blade” Harris thanks to his sharp cutting skills, is just about to complete a Level 2 apprenticeship, while Emma, who has some previous experience, is studying at Level 3. The pair are also learning valuable lessons about enterprise as the ambitious Anthony has launched Ultimate Grooming’s own lines of hair and beard products. Carol Jordan, Director of Employer Engagement at Northern Skills Group said: “It’s fantastic to see Ben and Emma – two apprentices – having such a positive impact in a small business like Ultimate Grooming. The handson nature of learning is essential to barbering and that’s why our apprenticeships are geared around structured learning on the salon floor. “Ben and Emma’s training is just one example of how small businesses can benefit from apprenticeship training, and with Government incentives for SMEs there are opportunities for businesses like Ultimate Grooming to benefit financially. “Northern Skills Group advisors regularly support business owners in identifying and capitalising on those opportunities.”



Northern Skills Group Tel. 03453 40 40 40 Email. Northern Skills Group (Durham) Suites 13 & 14 Crossgate Centre Durham DH1 4HF

Northern Skills Group (Middlesbrough) Middlesbrough College Campus Dock Street Middlesbrough TS2 1AD

Northern Skills Group (Newcastle) The Stamp Exchange Westgate Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SA



An Employer's Guide to Apprenticeships  
An Employer's Guide to Apprenticeships