Work-based learning (sometimes called training) is a way to get a qualification while learning to do a job.

Most people think of apprenticeships as one of the choices after Year 11 but, in most jobs, there will be some element of job-specific training alongside the work. Apprenticeships are not the only way to train, many companies offer in-house training that is specific to their organisation or industry. Some areas of work tend to use a specific qualification route, for example, a national vocational qualification (NVQ) to assess the ongoing development of their staff.

Training is available at entry level and level 1; this might be called foundation learning or a study programme. This training may be focused on a vocational area such as construction, engineering, health and social care, hairdressing, etc. It can include some specific qualifications, personal development, employability skills and a work placement.

Traineeships sit between foundation learning and intermediate apprenticeships. They are a practical way to improve employability by providing an extended work placement of between six weeks and six months, alongside employability and support for maths and English. Used well, they are a way for inexperienced young people to gain work experience and for employers to provide an extended work trial before taking the individual on as an apprentice.

You can find out more on our Traineeships web page.

Training at Level 2 could be either a job which has specific work-related training or an intermediate apprenticeship which is a job with work-related training, an underpinning qualification and study of English and work-related skills. 

Training at level 3 could be either in-service training specific to the role or an advanced apprenticeship. An advanced apprenticeship is structurally the same as an intermediate apprenticeship but is underpinned by a Level 3 qualification and may include more advanced work skills such as supervision or control of a work area.

A higher apprenticeship can be either a Level 4 or Level 5 dependent on the underpinning qualification (for example, a higher apprenticeship where the underpinning qualification is a foundation degree would be a Level 5). Companies may have previously put their staff through a higher national certificate or diploma on day release but the higher apprenticeship gives them the opportunity to do this to apprenticeship standard.

Degree apprenticeships are a recent development and will enable someone to achieve a degree level qualification whilst in the workplace.

An NVQ is work-based training available at Levels 1-5 which assesses work competencies but does not have a linked course of study and does not require the study of maths and English. It is usually used by employers for in-house training of staff to ensure that they have the correct qualifications for that specific role. It underpins the delivery of apprenticeship frameworks but is not an apprenticeship in its own right.

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