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    Information for employers

    Everyone is talking about Degree Apprenticeships. Join thousands of employers already recruiting fresh talent, giving teams new skills, and seeing productivity rise along with staff satisfaction.

    Why work with Harper Adams?

    Established in 1901, we're the leading specialist university tackling the future development of our planet's food production, processing, animal sciences, engineering, land management and sustainable business. We're industry minded - we have links with more than 700 businesses, and our strongly vocational degrees have helped thousands of students into highly skilled careers.

    Our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships can help you recruit new talent or upskill your existing staff.

    What's in it for you?

    • Increasing employee satisfaction.
    • Reducing staff turnover.
    • Reducing recruitment costs.

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    Frequently asked questions

    How are apprentices funded?

    Apprenticeships are funded through the apprenticeship levy; If you are a company with over £3million pay bill, you will pay a levy which you are then able to draw down and fund apprenticeships within your organisation.

    If you are not paying the levy, you are able to access unspent levy funds to support apprentices in your organisation. Dependent on the size of the company and the age of the apprentice you recruit, there may be a 5% contribution to the training costs. We will discuss this in more detail and confirm with each employer.

    How do we access funds from the Digital Apprenticeship Service?

    You will need to set up an account with the Digital Apprenticeship Service. If you are a levy paying company, you are then able to allocate funds. If you don’t pay the levy, you are able to reserve funds.

    Some levy paying companies pledge some of their levy to support smaller organisations. You can apply to these to these companies and access full funding for apprentices within your organisation.

    What does the apprenticeship cost?

    The training costs of the apprenticeship are covered by the funding, which includes teaching on campus, learning activities set during the academic year, the end point assessment and other elements relating to learning.

    The apprentice will need to be paid an appropriate wage, for the duration of the apprenticeship. You can set the salary, provided it meets the minimum requirements for the apprenticeship wage or national minimum wage.

    Are there any financial incentives for employing apprentices?

    You will receive a payment of £1000 for any apprentice aged 16 – 18 you recruit to the business. This payment is made to any size company. You would also receive the payment if you recruited an apprentice with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) who is aged between 19 and 24. Payments are made in 2 instalments: one after the apprentice has been on programme for 3 months, and the second after 12 months.

    If your apprentice is under 25, you may not be required to pay National Insurance contributions. If your apprentice is earning less than £967 per week, you may be eligible to claim this benefit. 

    How can I check if an apprentice is eligible for apprenticeship funding?

    There are various rules that govern eligibility for apprenticeship funding. They key elements are as follows:

    • Has an eligible residency status (please see annex A of the funding rules)
    • Has the right to work in England
    • Is able to complete the apprenticeship in the time they have available (for example visa expiration or their fixed term contract expires before the apprenticeship is due to complete)
    • Spends at least 50% of their working hours in England for the duration of the apprenticeship

    Does not use a student loan to pay for the apprenticeship. If they are transferring from a full time course, the student loan must be stopped.

    Who pays for accommodation and meals during block weeks of teaching?

    The cost of accommodation and meals is not covered by the apprenticeship funding, so you would need to negotiate this with your apprentice; you would need to consider the apprentices’ salary and whether you are able to support with the costs.

    There is limited accommodation on campus, so apprentices are not guaranteed a room. We will supply a list of local hotels and B&B’s to help with arranging suitable accommodation off-campus. Meal packages are available if the apprentice is staying off campus and would like to take advantage of catering services on campus.

    Is there anything specific that needs to be in an apprentices’ contract of employment? 

    An apprentice needs to be employed by you for the full duration of the apprenticeship and they would be governed by your terms and conditions of employment. You would need to sign an apprenticeship agreement at the start of the programme that outlines the duration of the course and off the job training requirements. An existing employee, or a new recruit would need to have this agreement in place. An apprentice must not be expected pay for any training as part of the apprenticeship programme. Apprentices do not pay for any training costs; if they leave your employment, you cannot ask them to repay any costs.

    How do I advertise an apprenticeship vacancy?

    You are able to advertise an apprenticeship vacancy via the Digital Apprenticeship Service. This will enable the post to be advertised nationally on the “find my apprenticeship” website. You are able to set this up yourself, or allow us permission to submit the advert. We would ask you to fill out a template job advert, which we can then post on the website. We can also share vacancies to prospective candidates who have enquired with us, plus share on social media. If you advertise vacancies on your company website, we can direct any potential apprentices to apply. UCAS also advertise vacancies on their website, which is another option for promoting any vacancies you have.

    What are the apprenticeship standards?

    Apprenticeships have been developed by groups of employers within the industry who have agreed the key knowledge, skills and behaviours required for that particular job role. The apprenticeship programme is modelled around development of these through completion of a degree (if applicable) and learning activities relating to the apprenticeship standard.

    What additional support is available to apprentices?

    Apprentices are able to access various types of support while on programme, including academic/study support, learning support for those with specific learning difficulties or disabilities and mental wellbeing support. As an employer, you may be able to access further support via the Government Access to Work scheme, facilitated by Able Futures . If apprentices request support from the university, we will discuss their individual needs and aim to support them throughout their programme. This may include providing them with equipment or software, specialist 1:1 support or arrangements for exams and testing.

    How is the apprenticeship assessed?

    Each apprenticeship includes an End Point Assessment (EPA), which is an independent assessment of the apprentices’ competence at the knowledge, skills and behaviours within the apprenticeship standard. An assessment plan has been agreed for each standard and End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAO’s) facilitate the assessment in accordance with the plan. The EPA has to be independent from the delivery of learning and will differ slightly for each apprenticeship standard.

    How can I manage off the job training in the workplace?

    Off the job training is a key element of the apprenticeship regulation and requires the apprentice to have time for training and study relating to the apprenticeship standards. This needs to be at least 6 hours per week; how this happens in the workplace is for you to agree with the apprentice. It does not need to be a strict number of hours per week; the block weeks on campus count towards the minimum requirement, so provided they are involved in a learning activity at least once a month, this would meet regulation. We would always recommend you discuss off the job training with your apprentice and agree how it will work in practice; they will have assignments and assessments to complete during the academic year, so you will need to look at how this is planned into a working week. During the Summer, the apprentice may not have any academic study but there will still be a requirement for off the job training. We will agree a training plan with you and the apprentice at the start of their programme, which outlines the modules of the degree and any other planned learning activity throughout their programme.

    How do you monitor progress of apprentices?

    We will conduct regular progress reviews during the apprenticeship programme. These will be planned at the start of the programme and will involve the apprentice, their line manager or mentor and a representative from the university. The majority of progress reviews will be online and conducted via Zoom. We will monitor the progress of the apprenticeship and meeting off the job training requirements, along with discussing any achievements or areas of concern.

    How do we decide an apprentice is ready for assessment?

    Readiness for EPA is agreed by a discussion between the apprentice, employer and university representative at the gateway meeting. This will be a meeting to confirm the apprentice is able to demonstrate competence against the knowledge, skills and behaviours within the apprenticeship standard. The apprentice will typically be asked to provide a portfolio of evidence to provide examples of meeting these standards. At the gateway meeting, the apprentice will be asked to provide examples of meeting the standard, which the employer and university representative will confirm. If all agree the apprentice is ready for EPA, they will be put forward for assessment.

    What happens after the gateway meeting? 

    After the gateway meeting, your apprentice will need to prepare for their final assessment. This will vary dependent on the apprenticeship standards, but can include completion of a work-based project, preparing for discussions or tests and preparing to deliver a presentation. All activities relating to the apprenticeship standards will have taken place at this point, but your apprentice will still need some time in the workplace to prepare for the final assessment. The university will facilitate End Point Assessment and confirm arrangements for this to take place. 

    Who chooses the End Point Assessment Organisation?

    The EPAO will be chosen by the employer and we will discuss this during the programme. Once the organisation has been selected, we will arrange to upload the evidence produced by your apprentice for assessment and facilitate the end point assessment. In some instances, you may be asked to take part in the End Point Assessment panel – this is dependent on the requirements of the assessment plan.

    How are apprenticeships regulated? 

    Ofsted inspect all services providing education and skills for learners of all ages, so are in scope for inspection under their inspection framework.

    The ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) are part of the DFE (Department for Education) and set regulations for funding of apprenticeship programmes. We are regularly audited monitor the performance and quality of our delivery.

    What would be the next steps if I would like to put somebody forward for an apprenticeship?

    If you would like to discuss further, or a have a potential apprentice to put forward, please contact the apprenticeships team:

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