How the NSAFD can help with Apprenticeships

With the significant programme of change announced by the Government in England Apprenticeships
have never had such a high profile.

Responsibility and opportunity have firmly been placed with employers and as such many businesses, providers and awarding organisations are looking to better understand the whole landscape of apprenticeships. We have a unique understanding of all things apprenticeships with a team of experts who have been involved in designing and advising on apprenticeships for over 10 years in the food and drink industry.

Apprenticeship standards

What are apprenticeship standards?

Apprenticeship standards are new high-quality employer-designed apprenticeships. They contain the skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to have learned by the end of their apprenticeship programme.

Standards also include a graded end-point assessment. This is a synoptic assessment of the skills, knowledge and behaviours. It is made up of a number of elements that may include an observation, knowledge test, a project etc.

Developing apprenticeships

The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink facilitate the development of food and drink apprenticeship standards by bringing together industry expert employers and training providers who work together to develop high quality standards.

Visit our standards page to see all of the standards both developed by food and drink industry manufacturers and those used by those in the industry.


Continued industry development

Supported by The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, Industry Skills Partnership (ISP) groups have been created in order to concentrate on strategic industry skill challenges. We have brought together many food & drink businesses to address common issues and aid collective industry development of a fit-for-purpose skills system – supporting growth right across the sector.

Industry Skills Partnerships have been formed across many subject areas; engineering, food science & technology, packaging, supply chain etc and have been formed collaboratively to continue work of trailblazer groups insuring implementation, delivery and quality as well as continuing specific and wider skills agendas.

The Levy

What is the levy?

The 2012 Richard Review into English apprenticeships was clear that the government should be encouraging more apprenticeships, but that significant changes were needed to increase provision. Of particular note were the importance of making apprenticeships more rigorous and making them more responsive to employers’ needs.

The apprenticeship levy is a government organised plan that was introduced to increase the number of apprenticeships on offer in the UK – served in the form of a tax.

Employers with an annual pay bill of over £3 million must pay 0.5% of the total bill into the levy in monthly instalments. You can then access this funding to pay for apprenticeship training costs.

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Funding rules cover a 12 month period of activity from 1st August through to 31st July. The start date will determine the rules in force at the start of the programme.

Intermediate & Advanced Level

The intermediate (level 2) apprenticeships are considered to be equivalent to 5 GCSE’s grade 4-9 / A-C. In most cases they will take 12 months to complete.

The advanced (level 3) apprenticeships are considered to be equivalent to 2 A Levels and will usually take 12-18 months to complete.

Typically intermediate and advanced apprenticeships do not have any mandatory qualification requirements; however employers are expected to set their own which may include a minimum entry level in English and maths.

Higher Level

A higher level apprenticeship (level 4 or 5) is the apprenticeship equivalent of a higher national diploma (HND), a higher national certificate (HNC) or a foundation degree. The higher apprenticeships will usually take 18-36 months to complete. The requirements for higher level apprenticeships vary but typically you will need to have a minimum 5 GCSEs grade 4-9 / A-C, which will often need to include English language and maths. You may also need relevant industry experience and/or qualifications.

Degree Level

A degree apprenticeship can be a Bachelor’s degree (level 6) or a master’s degree (level 7) and they generally take 4-6 years to complete.

Usually you will need 3 A levels (grade A-C) or an equivalent industry recognised qualification, but the requirements will vary a lot depending on the programme you choose. Some, like engineering, will require you to have built up your occupational experience through the relevant level apprenticeships.

Frameworks v standards

The UK is moving away from Frameworks with many being ‘switched off’. If you were to employ an Apprentice now, you’ll almost certainly be using a Standard rather than a Framework. The progression and development of Standards is due to Government reforms that aim to increase the quality of Apprenticeship programmes and align them to the needs of industry employers, making them a much more attractive option for talent and careers development. Click here to download a breakdown of the differences between framework and standard apprenticeships