Get to Know Your Apprenticeships

Whether you’re an employer or a prospective learner, with so many different qualifications available in the UK it can be difficult to know where to start with apprenticeships. We’ve put together this reference guide to help you to understand the different types of apprenticeships and vocational qualifications available to you.

Frameworks & Standards

The first step to finding the right programme for your organisation is to select an appropriate framework. An apprenticeship framework is a definition of the requirements of what an apprentice must learn during their training. It’s a definition that’s used by training providers, colleges and employers to ensure that all apprenticeship programmes are delivered consistently and to agreed standards. In other words, frameworks ensure that every apprentice of any given subject has the same basic skills and competencies as the next.

Each framework includes the details of the required qualifications, the key skills targets, and anything else that need to be completed. As well as this, the frameworks also include information on job roles, entry routes, course length and typical career paths available upon completion.

Frameworks by Nation

In England, frameworks are gradually being replaced by a new series of learning requirements called standards. The move to standards, which have been developed by employer groups called ‘Trailblazers’, has been taken to ensure that apprenticeship qualifications are truly employer-led.

Whilst the move to standards is taking place, the relevant existing frameworks are still in use.


England: SASE


Wales: SASW


Scotland: Modern Apprenticeships


Northern Ireland: ApprenticeshipsNI


How are Apprenticeships Structured?

There are multiple ways of building an apprenticeship qualification, from using an established course to developing a bespoke training programme for your needs.

Whichever route you take, you need to know which qualification you are entitled to.

National Occupational Standards (NOS)


Qualifications & Credit Framework


National Vocational Qualifications


Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework


Further Information

For further information about UK apprenticeships, apprenticeship frameworks and upcoming framework withdrawals please visit the Apprenticeships page of the government website.