Frequently asked questions
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1. WHO ARE THE SKILLS NETWORK (TSN)?
- The Skills Network is your training provider.
- We are responsible for the delivery of your Apprenticeship.
- You will be visited every four to six weeks by your dedicated Trainer.
- You have a dedicated Learner Support Advisor (LSA), who will be in contact with you at least once every two weeks and is available for support and admin queries.
- All your work will be uploaded to our OneFile system, through which you will receive feedback and further guidance.
- Remote visits will also occur with your Trainer, depending on your rate and pace of progress, and they will provide additional support where needed.
- Contact details are as follows:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – 01757 600686.
2. WHAT IS AN APPRENTICESHIP?
Apprenticeships allow you to combine work and study by mixing both on-the-job and off-the-job
training with workplace learning. You’ll be in employment whilst also studying for a formal
qualification. By the end of your Apprenticeship, you’ll have developed new skills, knowledge
and behaviours that will help you to succeed in your chosen career or progress onto a higher
level of study.
Exactly what you’ll learn depends on the role that you’re training for. However, Apprentices in any role follow an approved curriculum plan which may include the following depending on your level of prior learning and experience:
- Functional skills − GCSE level qualifications in English, maths and IT.
- National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) − From level 2 (comparable to five GCSEs) up to level 5 (similar to a postgraduate degree).
- Technical certificates − Such as BTEC, City and Guild Progression Award, etc.
- Academic qualifications − Including a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND), foundation degree or the equivalent of a full bachelor’s degree.
- Employee rights and responsibilities – Each Apprenticeship Standard with TSN will involve a clear understanding of your role as an employee within an organisation.
There are currently two forms of Apprenticeship − Frameworks and Standards – however, TSN is moving solely towards Standards.
Frameworks were developed by sector bodies and were used to assess Apprenticeships. Each Framework contained pathways which set out different roles.
A Standard contains a list of the skills, knowledge and behaviours an Apprentice must have learnt by the end of their Apprenticeship. Standards are occupation-focused; they are not qualification-led.
For all Apprenticeship Frameworks, there is a minimum duration on-programme of 366 days, and for Standards, this is 372 days.
You’ll also be constantly developing your personal and professional skills, otherwise known as ‘soft skills’, which are highly valued by employers. These include communication, teamwork, problem solving, resilience and time management, as well as your knowledge of IT and the application of numbers.
Your Apprenticeship is not just about providing you with a sector-specific qualification. We are committed as your training provider to ensuring that you develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours to allow you to accelerate your development and significantly improve your overall performance in both current and future job roles.
3. BENEFITS OF AN APPRENTICESHIP
When completing an apprenticeship, you will:
- Work alongside experienced staff both within your workplace and through The Skills Network (TSN).
- Gain job-specific knowledge, skills and behaviours which will enhance your performance in both current and future job roles.
- Earn a wage, plus holiday pay.
- Have a dedicated Trainer, who will personalise your Individual Learning Plan (ILP)
in line with your starting points to ensure that development of your knowledge,
skills and behaviours is accelerated.
- Be given time to learn and study during your working hours. This is known as
‘off-the-job Training’. 20% of your working hours should be dedicated to your
learning and development.
- Be given dedicated support for the development of your English, maths and digital skills.
- Access personalised support in the form of your own Learner Support Advisor (LSA).
4. WHAT IS A GATEWAY PROCESS?
- In the world of Apprenticeship Standards, the gateway is the door between the two core stages of the Apprenticeship.
- During stage one (on-programme), the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the Apprentice are developed, with the aim that the Apprentice will be competent in their job role, as set out in the Standard. The second stage is where the Apprentice demonstrates that competence at End Point Assessment (EPA), as set out in the assessment plan.
- At gateway, the employer (often in consultation with the Apprenticeship provider) unlocks the door because they believe that the Apprentice is competent in their job and ready and able to prove this.
- Knowing when an Apprentice is gateway-ready is much more than simply checking that the Apprentice has obtained all the mandatory requirements outlined in the assessment plan (although this is important). It is about the employer being convinced that the Apprentice is at the level of competence set out in the Standard and is prepared for the End Point Assessment, so that they can claim that competency.
5. WHAT IS THE END POINT ASSESSMENT (EPA)?
- EPA stands for End Point Assessment.
- Some EPAs are graded for Pass, Merit and Distinction – you should be aiming for Distinction.
- An EPA is a series of tests an Apprentice must take to prove their ability to do the job they have been training for.
- EPAs can only be taken a minimum of 12 months after the start of an Apprentice’s training and must be successfully completed before an Apprenticeship completion certificate can be issued.
- There is no common format for an EPA; they vary between Apprenticeships. All EPAs are developed from ‘assessment plans’.
- Importantly, EPAs are not designed to test every single aspect of a Standard. Instead, they are designed to enable an Apprentice to demonstrate that overall, they have developed the key knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be able to do their job effectively.
An EPA might involve all or some of the following testing methods:
- Multiple choice tests
- Evidence portfolio (such as a logbook)
- Observed practical skills tests
- Professional discussion with independent Assessor
- Workplace projects.
6. IMPORTANT CONTACTS
If you have any issues, there is support available from our trained team in Selby, who can be contacted via the details below:
If you are having difficulties with OneFile, the link to use is as follows:
For all other queries and resources, please go to our website:
7. IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SAFEGUARDING, PREVENT AND BRITISH VALUES
For more information, please visit our website – https://www.theskillsnetwork.com/safeguarding
Designated Safeguarding Lead – Stuart Allen (Director of Curriculum and Quality)
Phone – 01757 210022 / 01757 600698
Safeguarding line – 07912 270020
Email – email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org