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Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to earn, learn and make a difference. For primary and social care employers, it is an effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce for both new and existing employees in both clinical and non-clinical roles, from entry level up to degree level apprenticeships.


What you need to know about Apprenticeships

The Greater Manchester Training Hub provides support to primary and social care in relation to all apprenticeship offers across Greater Manchester offering:

  • guidance to practices to identify the appropriate apprenticeship
  • identify Education Providers
  • aid recruitment
  • highlight apprenticeship funding where available and
  • support practices on how to access levy transfer.

Apprenticeships support the Long Term Plan and the People Plan in relation to reducing workforce pressures, retaining workforce, growing and training the workforce, new ways of working and delivering care, and the overall sustainability of primary care. 

Apprenticeships are structured training programmes which give the current or future employee the chance to learn and work (literally) towards a nationally recognised qualification.

When employing an apprentice. They must be:

  • aged 16 years or over
  • not in full time education
  • minimum duration for an apprenticeship is 1 year
  • must spend at least 20% of their time off-job-training
  • must be paid for time spent in training or studying for relevant qualification
  • must pay an apprentice at least the minimum wage
  • work with experienced staff
  • learn job-specific skills
  • have the right to work in England
  • have an eligible residency status

They can start an apprenticeship whether they are starting their career, want a change or looking to upskill in their current job. Apprentices’ can have a previous qualification like a degree and can still complete an apprenticeship at an equivalent or higher level.

Apprenticeships must last for at least a year. They can last up to 5 years depending on the level the apprentice is studying

There are 4 levels of apprenticeships

There are 4 levels of apprenticeship standards. Apprenticeship standards outline the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) required to carry out a certain job role.
Below are apprenticeship standards relevant to primary care with a link to offer detail of each standard

Intermediate level apprentices follow work-based learning towards level 2 – equivalent to 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C). These apprenticeships provide the skills needed for the chosen career and allow entry to an advanced level apprenticeship. Apprenticeships at level 2 include:

Advanced level apprentices follow work-based learning towards level 3 – equivalent to 2 A-levels. To start this level of apprenticeship, you should ideally have 5 GCSEs (grade 4/C or above) or have completed an intermediate level apprenticeship. Apprenticeships at level 3 include:

Higher level apprentices follow work-based learning towards levels 4,5,6 and 7 – equivalent to a foundation degree and above. To start this level of apprenticeship, you should ideally have 2 A-levels (or equivalent) or have completed an advanced level apprenticeship. Apprenticeships at level 4,5,6 and 7 include:

Degree level apprenticeships follow work-based learning towards levels 6 and 7 – equivalent to a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. Apprenticeships at level 6 and 7 include:

  • Chartered Manager – Level 6
  • Registered nurse degree apprenticeship – Level 6
  • Project Manager – Level 6
  • Advanced clinical practitioner – Level 7
  • Senior Leader – Level 7
  • Specialist Community and Public Health Nurse – Level 7
  • Physician Associate Degree Apprenticeship – Level 7

Taking on an apprentice – new and existing employee

The process for taking on an apprentice can be quite daunting, especially if you haven’t done this before. Therefore, the Greater Manchester Training Hub are here to guide and support you.

Following are 2 methods of funding apprentices:


Apprenticeships are funded through the Apprenticeship Levy. Employers with a pay bill over £3 million a year must pay the levy. Non-levy-paying employers with less than £3 million a year will not need to pay the levy.

If the employer does not pay the levy, then they always co-invest with the government. The maximum amount the organisation will pay for apprenticeship training that started:

  • after 1 April 2019 is 5% of the total cost
  • before 1 April 2019 is 10% of the total cost

Levy Transfers

Levy paying employers can transfer some of their annual levy to other employers. These transfers cover 100% of the training costs of the apprenticeship (you still need to cover salary)

Key benefits of employing an apprentice

90% of apprentices stay with their employers upon completion of their course and nearly one quarter of apprentices go on to further develop their careers within 12 months of completing their apprenticeship

Apprenticeship pathways are now being developed to provide higher- level technical skills and provide a great option for retaining the existing workforce and building talent pipelines.

Apprenticeship schemes help employers ensure that they get exactly the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need while growing a talented and engaged workforce. Apprenticeships also help fill the skills gap within their current workforce and enable development in areas beneficial to the apprentice and the organisation. 

Employing an apprentice can add a whole new dimension to your workplace, bringing with them a fresh perspective and new ideas. This in turn can encourage existing employees to undertake further development to enhance their career. 

Each apprenticeship once completed rewards the employee with a nationally recognised qualification. The levels of qualifications are: Level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSE passes); Level 3 (equivalent to 2 A-Level passes); right the way through to Level 6 (degree level) and Level 7 (masters degree).

The apprentice will be assigned an assessor who is the person responsible for setting all of their work, marking it and guiding them through their course. They are there to answer any of their questions at any point and provide them with support tailored to suit their needs.

Apprenticeships within your community offer an alternative to full-time education and can widen access to employment to all areas of your local community.

Inclusive recruitment to better reflect the community you serve is a key message of the NHS People Plan and can also lead to better retention rates and improved workforce supply.

If you would like to discuss your apprenticeship requirements, please contact us at [email protected]

Functional Skills

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills are the fundamental, applied skills in English and mathematics that all people need to be able to operate confidently and successfully in work and life.

Functional Skills provide learning tools that enable apprentices to:

  • Apply their knowledge and understanding to everyday life
  • Engage competently and confidently with others
  • Solve problems in both familiar and unfamiliar problems; and
  • Develop personally and professionally

Functional skills qualifications are available in English, ICT and mathematics at the following levels: Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, level 1 and level 2. Each qualification is separate and assessed independently.

Functional skills form part of all new apprenticeship standards – although learners who already have obtained the level required by the apprenticeship will be exempt from undertaking them.

Levels explained The new GCSEs have a 9 to 1 grading scale to replace A* to G, with 9 being the highest grade. A grade 4 or above marks a similar achievement to the old grade C or above, the standard for a level 2 qualification. The Department for Education recognises grade 4 and above as a ‘standard pass’ in all subjects. It is a credible achievement for a young person that should be valued as a passport to future study and employment. Students who do not hold a grade 4 or above in English and maths must continue to study these subjects as part of their post-16 education; apprentices would undertake functional skills as part of their apprenticeship program to achieve level 4 or above in English and/or Maths if they had not already obtained this level at GCSE.

Functional Skills are equivalent to GCSE’s, the table below shows the comparison:

Entry Level

GCSE below G or level 1

Level 1

GCSE D-G or level 1-3

Level 2

GCSE A*-C or level 4-9

How to make sure apprentices are studying the correct level of English and Maths

For those undertaking a level 3 or higher apprenticeship, it is a requirement that they should hold or achieve an approved level 2 in both subjects before they can successfully complete and in some instances commence an apprenticeship.

For apprentices undertaking a level 2 apprenticeship, all apprentices to work towards level 2 in English and Maths.

There are Education providers that offer Functional Skills remotely, blended learning or in classroom based.

Kickstart Scheme

Employers can spread the job start dates up until 31 December 2021. You’ll get funding until 30 June 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 December 2021.

Further funding is available for training and support so that young people on the scheme can get a job in the future

For more information and to apply for the Kickstart Scheme go to:

Kickstart Gateway

A Kickstart gateway helps an employer get a Kickstart Scheme grant. They may also offer employability support to the young person on the scheme.

They already have (or are waiting on) a Kickstart Scheme grant agreement. The Kickstart gateway can add more employers and jobs to this grant agreement.

Employers can find a Kickstart gateway on this list.

To find out about Apprenticeship funding – click here Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking Service will facilitate funding transfers to create more apprenticeship opportunities offers detailed information and guidance on hiring an apprentice. offers an Apprenticeship implementation toolkit, which is designed to support you through the whole process from setting your organisational strategy through to when your apprentices are with you in the workplace. Apprenticeships in Primary and Social Care Information pack published by the HEE Talent for Care Strategy Access for the BKSB Functional Skills learning, for 1 year. This does not include the examination. Development opportunities through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) 

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