Apprenticeship toolkit

Last updated 12 November 2017

Apprenticeship Standards: Mythbuster guide

The move to apprenticeship standards is the most radical reform to English vocational education for 50 years. In these early stages there is still uncertainty about what the changes mean and there are a number of ‘urban myths’ in circulation. If you are unsure about anything it is always best to check using official sources.

MythTechnology can't be used unless specifically stated in the standard and the assessment plan

Standards focus on knowledge, skills and behaviours and do not specify how the learning is best delivered. Assessment plans specify what should be assessed and some are clearer than others about how this is done. Digital skills are vital to industry and most employers will welcome suggestions for effective use of technology even if they do not specifically ask for this until prompted.

MythThe requirement for 20% off-the-job training means classroom-based training.

Each standard must have a 20% element of off-the-job training but this could be delivered in a range of ways. There is no fixed requirement that this learning has to take place on campus or any form of classroom setting.

MythWeekends and evenings are most suitable times for apprentices to study

This is not necessarily true. Apprentices must be allowed 20% of their normal working time for study. This means that weekend and evening study only counts towards the 20% if it is part of the apprentice’s normal working schedule. It may be possible for them to work weekends and evenings if the employer gives them time off in lieu during their normal hours.

MythDigital technologies can't be used in some workplaces.

Digital technologies are essential to modern business. With sufficient imagination and supporting processes they can be used in all apprenticeships. We have found good examples in all kinds of settings from childcare to airside in the aviation industry. Look out for the examples of effective practice throughout the resource.

MythThe ESFA and other agencies will not accept digital signatures.

Digital signatures are explicitly permitted and will be accepted so long as you ensure appropriate checks and balances in your business processes to avoid fraud and error. See our section on digital signatures.