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Apprenticeship Framework Components

What apprenticeships involve

Learners completing an apprenticeship work alongside experienced staff, gaining job-specific skills while earning themselves a wage. They’re also given time for study which is related to their role - this is usually one day a week. Depending on their level, apprenticeships take between one and 5 years for learners to complete.

Each apprenticeship is comprised of several qualifications and elements, the main components of which are outlined here.

Knowledge Based Qualification (KBQ)

Some apprenticeships will include an individual KBQ (also known as a Technical Certificate or a Technical Knowledge Qualification). This includes all the theory and knowledge required for the relevant job role.

Competence Based Qualification (CBQ)

To ensure an apprentice is competent within their field or job role, an assessment is carried out both at the centre and in the workplace. This qualification ensures learners have the required skills to do the job.

Combined Qualification (CQ)

Some apprenticeship frameworks have a CQ, which includes both knowledge based and competence based elements, and covers the requirements of both the CBQ and the KBQ.

Functional Skills

To maintain our high standards we have established some minimum requirements. The minimum requirements for Functional Skills in apprenticeships is English and maths at Level 1 for intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeships, and Level 2 for advanced (Level 3) apprenticeships. For some programmes, completion of an ICT Functional Skills qualification at an intermediate or advanced level may also be required.

Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)

It’s important that ERR training empowers apprentices to understand employer and employee rights and responsibilities under Employment Law, and how employment rights can be affected by other legislation. The knowledge or competence area of the framework can cover this subject but sometimes there’s a specific qualification within the NCFE apprenticeship as well. 

ERR is available via workbooks from the relevant Sector Skills Council or Standard Setting Body.

Additional Employer Requirements (AER)

Depending on where an apprentice is going to work they might need to learn some extra skills. These qualifications aren’t funded and usually cover training that’s specific to the area of work, e.g. first aid or health and safety.

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

Providing apprentices with the opportunity to continually learn and grow in confidence is integral to every part of our apprenticeship programmes. That’s why each apprentice is assessed on a list of PLTS. Goals are set based around the skills needed for success and learning in life. Many of our qualifications are already mapped to the 6 PLTS.

The 6 PLTS are:

  • Independent enquirers
  • Reflective learners
  • Self-managers
  • Creative thinkers
  • Team workers
  • Effective participants.

For more information, check out the individual sector framework documents on the Apprenticeship Certificates England website.


On our dedicated website QualHub, you’ll find:

  • quality assurance advice – prepare for and request a visit
  • online assessment support
  • direct claim status information
  • much more.
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Apprenticeship Frameworks

Our guide to Apprenticeship Frameworks

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