Apprenticeships in Primary Care

We are working with PCNs and practices to support the prioritisation of apprenticeship programmes aligned to workforce plans and roles/skills shortages.

Diversify your workforce with apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a valuable way of learning, developing new skills and gaining new qualifications while working in the role. There is an increasing list of roles within General Practice that can be recruited as an apprenticeship, and some of the more common are Receptionists, Health Care assistants and Nurse Associates.

Apprenticeships are a key way for people to learn on the job, both for new starters to the NHS and for existing members of staff, allowing learners the opportunity to gain a qualification and apply their learning while continuing to earn a salary.

What is an Apprentice?

Apprenticeships are training programmes that combine workplace experience with off the job learning. The apprentice will be learning and gaining experience ‘on the job’ alongside off the job activities, such as assessments, research, personal reflection and more formal classroom activities.

Typically, for someone in full time employment, an apprenticeship would entail 80% normal work and 20% ‘off the job’ training. In other words 4 days at work and 1 day training.

There are different levels of apprenticeship from intermediate (level 2); advanced (level 3); to higher (level 4, 5) and degree levels (level 6, 7). Level 2 is usually 12 – 18 months; Level 3 is usually 18 – 48 months and Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 are usually 24+ months in length.

Anyone over the age of 16, who is not in full time education, can apply to be an apprentice, but anyone can start an apprenticeship at any point in their life, whatever their age, background or career level.

Many apprenticeship programmes require learners to have a minimum of level 2 functional skills in at least Maths and English (some standards require additional entry requirements or subjects). Sometimes these can be achieved while on the apprenticeship programme, however some apprenticeships or providers require this before starting. Support on functional skills can be found here.

You can read more about this on the website here or for further information about apprentice, trainee and cadet schemes take a look at the NHS Careers Website

Off the Job training flowchart

Off the Job training, Myths vs Facts

Functional Skills and exams

Quality Principles for NHS Apprenticeships

The Quality Principles for NHS Apprenticeships presents a set of guiding principles that, when reflected in practice, will support you to deliver high-quality apprenticeships in the NHS. NHS England have updated these principles, our updated version “Delivering High Quality Apprenticeships: Guiding Principles for the NHS in England” is now available.

This document also includes Inclusive Apprenticeship Recruitment as well as a variety of case studies. It can be found online here.

Benefits to Practices

  • Widening the pool of prospective applicants for your vacancies – attracting candidates who might not previously considered or thought about a career in health or care.
  • Fantastic opportunity to grow your own talent and bring fresh ideas into your practice
  • Cost effective by broadening the scope of training and development for existing staff, addressing skills gaps and helping succession planning.
  • Individuals will gain a nationally recognised qualification as well as the experience they need to either start their chosen career or work towards career progression
  • The flexibility of the unit options within the frameworks allows employers/managers to design training programmes that will address both individual and business needs.
  • Additional funding can be gained for specific apprenticeships as well as government incentives. See links below for additional funding opportunities:

Trainee Nursing Associate Funding – Training Hub (

Government Incentives


There are a wide range of clinical and non-clinical apprenticeships available, which can be a great way to fill a particular need in your practice. Non-clinical roles can help build skills in areas such as administration, customer service, health care, finance and IT for example.  As well as your practice providing on-the-job training, apprentices will study with a training provider of your choice.

Apprenticeships are now primarily delivered in the form of standards. These can be viewed via the Government Apprenticeships website. We suggest employing organisations use the Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online (HASO) to see what Apprenticeship standard training can be paid for by the Apprenticeship Levy transfer fund – it is a quick and simple search!

NHSLA Apprenticeship Pathways – March 2022

Apprenticeship Levy

If your practice has an annual pay bill in excess of £3m you will be required to pay the apprenticeship levy. This is money that is automatically taken out of your pay bill and put into a Levy pot which can then be used to pay for training. If you are a non-levy payer, you will only need to pay a contribution of 5% to any apprenticeship course. You can find more information about how this works on the website here.

Levy Transfer

Levy paying employers are able to transfer up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy funds to other employers. Levy transfer can also pay for 100% of the apprenticeship fees.

Who can receive transferred funds?

We can transfer funds to employers for new apprenticeship starts, particularly where the funds will create an apprenticeship that would otherwise not have been possible.  This can include new apprentices or existing employees.  Funds are not able to be transferred  for apprenticeships that have already started.

The C&P System Apprenticeship Collaborative is able to support practices with Levy Transfers to pay for apprenticeship programmes. If you would like to apply for a Levy Transfer, please download and complete the form below and email to

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Levy Transfer Application Form

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Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS)

In preparation for receiving apprenticeship levy for paying the apprenticeship fees (the organisation employing the apprentice needs to set up a Apprenticeships Digital Service Account (DAS).

In order to receive levy funding you will need to create an online account with Gov.UK to manage apprenticeships.

To register a new account on the apprenticeship service you will need:

  • your account owner’s email address
  • your organisation’s Companies House number, charity number, or public sector body name
  • your PAYE scheme’s Government Gateway credentials

Buttercups Training have created a web page to help employers set up a DAS account which can be found via this link.

Receiving Employer Guidance: Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Process

HEE Resources

The HEE website has some useful information, resources and links on Apprenticeships, and they also publish an information pack which outlines the benefits of apprenticeship qualifications in primary and social care roles and showcases the impact of apprentices within the work environment.


Apprenticeship Implementation Toolkit

There are many apprenticeship standards for employers to choose from and navigating the apprenticeship system might seem daunting. As an employer you might be working alone, as part of a wider Sustainability and Transformation Partnership or in an Integrated Care System but whatever your circumstances, you will want to be sure that you are selecting the best-fit standard, procuring the right provider and recruiting the best apprentices.


East of England

This is a really useful briefing on Apprenticeships from Rob Brooks, HEE Talent for Care Relationship Manager (Apprenticeships) – East of England.


Rob’s contact details are:
Mob: 07464 492 556  /  Email:   /   LinkedIn

NHS Employers

You can find additional information on the NHS Employers dedicated resource page for Apprenticeships.


Apprenticeships through PMA

Recruit an Apprentice, PMA’s Service includes

  • Advertising your apprentice job on the National Apprenticeship Jobs Board
  • Promoting your apprentice job on multiple jobs boards
  • Reviewing all candidate applications
  • Checking candidate initial apprenticeship eligibility criteria
  • Short listing candidates
  • Providing you with suitable and relevant applications for you to consider for interview
  • Enrolling your chosen apprentice onto the apprenticeship, completing eligibility checks and securing government funding

As part of an apprenticeship all candidates receive free access to our Professional Membership which gives them access to sector specific workshops, webinars E-learning, expert advice and more. Please see the link to the website below.

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BPP National Apprenticeship Week 2024 & Briefing Sessions Schedule W/C 5th February

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