University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you.

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings.

Guidance for Line Managers

The University is committed to nurturing talent and developing expertise through providing relevant vocational and professional apprenticeships across all its schools and functions.

Apprenticeships can support the development of new skills for both new and existing staff and help with staff succession planning. Apprenticeships provide professional qualifications and require a substantial commitment over a minimum of a year, so you can expect to see a significant increase in skill level, confidence and proficiency. Investing in staff training through apprenticeships can also significantly increase engagement, productivity and efficiency and help you to retain staff within your team. Recruiting a new apprentice into your team can help with attracting motivated, committed individuals to work at the University in competitive, hard to recruit areas.

Funding for the cost of apprenticeship training is provided from the University’s levy fund, subject to a successful application. However, you will need to commit to release the apprentice for around 20% of their contracted hours, excluding leave, for the duration of the programme. Depending on the chosen apprenticeship standard, the duration may range from a minimum of 12 months to more than five years. Given this commitment, longer term apprenticeships require careful consideration by both the apprentice and their supporting line manager.

Not all of this time will out of the office, but you must allow time to complete assignments and other training activities. Staff will still need to be paid at their current grade level for time spent completing their training. They will also be visited regularly by external trainers to monitor progress and set new targets. As the line manager, you will also be expected to regularly review progress with your team member during one-to-one’s, attend quarterly three-way review meetings with your apprentice and training provider, and support the transfer of learning back to the apprentice’s work. 

Recruiting an apprentice

If you are considering recruiting an apprentice to your team, please contact your HR Advisor or HR Partner who will be able to advise on next steps.

Apprentices must be at least 16 years old at the start of an apprenticeship, therefore they may be 16-17 years old while working as an apprentice in your team. Please see the Protecting Young Workers: Guidance for Managers document for information about how to keep young workers safe, if you are recruiting an apprentice who may be under 18 years old.

Developing existing staff using apprenticeships

Undertaking an apprenticeship is a significant commitment for the employee and the University. It is important to explore whether the apprenticeship meets the staff member’s development needs and aspirations, and is the right development solution for both them and the department.

You will need to consider the following:

Is there a sizeable gap in the skills and knowledge that they currently hold in this area, and the skills and knowledge that you would like them to hold to be fully competent and confident in the role?

• Does the apprenticeship address this gap or would another form of training be more appropriate?

• Is the staff member fully committed and motivated to completing the apprenticeship?

Does the staff member’s current job at the University provide them with the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve their apprenticeship?

How will you accommodate the requirements of the apprenticeship e.g. the apprentice spending 20% of their working hours in off-the-job learning?

Are there other individuals within your team who would benefit from completing an apprenticeship and would wish to do so?

If there are several individuals who may benefit from completing an apprenticeship, then you will need to ensure that a fair and transparent application process takes place. For example, you may ask individuals to complete an application form that includes a supporting statement indicating why they want to complete the apprenticeship, how it meets their professional and personal development objectives and how they see the department benefitting from them completing the apprenticeship.

There are also eligibility requirements for apprenticeships nationally. An apprentice must:

  • Have the right to work in England.
  • Have been resident in the UK for 3 years.
  • Work enough paid hours each week to undertake sufficient training to achieve their apprenticeship. The minimum duration of each apprenticeship is based on an apprentice working 30 paid hours a week or more. This includes any off-the-job training they do. If an apprentice works less than 30 hours a week, then a minimum of 16 hours must be worked and the apprenticeship will take proportionately longer to complete.
  • Only apply for an apprenticeship unrelated to any qualifications they hold at the same or higher level than the apprenticeship they wish to apply for. The apprenticeship being applied for must be unrelated in subject and content from the qualification already held.
  • Spend at least 50% of their working time in England.
  • Have grade C or above / 4-9 in GCSE Maths and English (or equivalent). If not, they will need to complete a functional skills qualification in addition to their apprenticeship.

Remember that an apprenticeship is not a suitable solution to address performance management issues.

Selecting a suitable apprenticeship standard

Every apprenticeship is aligned with a specific apprenticeship standard. The standards outline what the apprentice will be doing and the skills, knowledge and behaviours required of them, by job role.  It is essential that the employee’s job role gives them the right opportunities to meet the standard. At the end of the apprenticeship, there is a formal, impartial ‘end point assessment’ which assesses whether the apprentice has successfully developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the apprenticeship standard.

Each apprenticeship standard specifies the educational level and typical duration of the apprenticeship. Note that there may be specific qualification requirements associated with a given apprenticeship standard.

A full list of current apprenticeship standards can be found at Apprenticeship Standards.

Applying for an apprenticeship

If you believe that an apprenticeship is right for a member of your team, then please contact People Development for further information and an application form. This will need to be completed by the employee and yourself to request funding. Degree or higher levels apprenticeships (Level 6 and Level 7) need to be supported by your Head of Function.

Please note that you cannot access funding for an apprenticeship without applying first through People Development.