Organisational Development

Staff Apprenticeship Scheme

As a member of staff at Sussex, you could undertake an apprenticeship with the support of your line manager and department/division, and the process may begin at any time.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a combination of practical training and part-time study that can lead to a nationally recognised qualification. All apprenticeships consist of:

  • a period of training of at least twelve months with an end-point assessment
  • 80% on-the-job and at least 20% off-the-job training.

Apprenticeships are available in a huge variety of subjects at all educational levels, from GCSE through to Master's degree equivalents. There is a broad range of programmes available so whether you're interested in generalist business and management or developing specialist skills, there may be an apprenticeship to help you grow in your current role. 

What is off-the-job training?
Examples of off-the-job training could include: 
  • Learning new skills at work through shadowing other members of the team
  • Personal development discussions to plan new learning
  • In-house training programmes relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Coaching sessions with your coach
  • Writing reflective journals
  • Attendance at workshops, training days, or webinars relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Completion of online learning through a learning system and/or an in-house system
  • Mock assignments to prepare for End-point Assessment
  • Self-study that includes reading research or watching videos
  • Training on new working practices or new equipment
  • Role-playing or simulation exercises
  • Industry visits/conferences relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Writing assessments, assignments and completing projects or activities
  • Practical training or training in the workplace relevant to the apprenticeship
Staff apprenticeships at Sussex

As a Sussex staff member, you can undertake an apprenticeship with the support of your department or division and line manager. The process may begin anytime. However, your annual review is the perfect opportunity to discuss how an apprenticeship could help you to develop in your current role or fill a skills gap within your department. 

The direct costs of the apprenticeship will be paid from the University's Apprenticeship Levy funds. That means there is no cost to the apprentice (and no reduction of salary) and no cost to the department.

Apprenticeships do need to align with your current job role or your manager has to agree and provide opportunities for you to complete the apprenticeship. e.g. If you are an administrator and wanted to complete a project manager apprenticeship, your manager must provide written confirmation that opportunities for you to manage projects will be available in order to gain the skills knowledge and behaviours of the apprenticeship standard.

There is a broad range of apprenticeship programmes available to Sussex staff including but not limited to: 

Business and Finance

Coaching and Training

Leadership and Management

Customer Service

Project Management

IT and Digital Media

*various pathways available

If you cannot see a programme suitable for you in this list, please contact to find out about other available courses.

Leadership and Management apprenticeships

Watch the short video below to learn more about Leadership and Management training provider, Knowledge Brief.


KnowledgeBrief offer three levels of leadership and management apprenticeships:

Team Leader or Supervisor Level 3

This apprenticeship is particularly suited to new or aspiring managers interested in developing their skills and knowledge. However, you do not necessarily need to lead a team to benefit from this programme. It would also be relevant for those with workload management or project management responsibilities.

Operations or Departmental Manager Level 5

This apprenticeship is suitable for mid-level managers with approximately 4-5 years management experience. Also suitable for those with high-level workload management or project management responsibilities.

Coaching Professional Level 5

This course is designed for an aspiring coach or someone looking for ways to develop existing coaching skills as a manager and leader.

Strategic Management and Leadership Level 7

This apprenticeship is suitable for individuals in senior positions with strategic decision-making responsibilities.

The application process

1. Applicant identifies which programme they are interested in and meets with their Line Manager to agree to an apprenticeship in principle.

2. Applicant completes the Staff Apprenticeships application form with their Line Manager.

3. Apprenticeships Officer makes contact with the training provider to confirm details.

4. Training dates, delivery method, location, and end point assessment are all confirmed.

5. Apprentice returns completed Apprenticeship Agreement to the Apprenticeships Officer before the course start date.

Things to consider

Before applying for an apprenticeship you should take the following factors into account:

Considerations for potential apprentices
  • An apprenticeship is a big commitment. What will you get from it?
  • On completion of the apprenticeship you must be able to demonstrate how it will help you in your current role.
  • 20% of your working week will be given over to off-the-job training.
  • You must be available for all the training dates and complete any pre or post-course work that is a requirement of the apprenticeship. 

Next steps after identifying an apprenticeship during the appraisal process: 

  • Meet with your line manager to agree to the apprenticeship in principle.
  • Complete an apprenticeship application form with your line manager, giving a clear, concise business case.
  • Send the completed form to 
  • Agree to the training dates, location, delivery method, costing and end point assessment with your line manager and OD.
  • Complete an apprenticeship agreement and return to before the start of the apprenticeship.
Considerations for line managers
  • The apprentice must spend 20% of their time off-the-job training. This may involve regular day release, workshops, specific project work or job shadowing. 
  • The 20% off-the-job training component must be monitored.
  • You must be able to demonstrate how the apprenticeship will benefit the team and departmental objectives.

What is an apprenticeship and what are the costs?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that are designed to help individuals learn new skills which means that employers can train up existing members of staff through the apprenticeship route to help further their career development.  The university pays an apprenticeship levy so there are no training costs to the apprentice, their department and there is no reduction in salary, the apprentice earns while they learn.

The University of Sussex pays 0.5% of its payroll into the Apprenticeship Levy, a tax on employers whose annual payroll is more than £3 million.

This money is available for us to spend on apprenticeships for staff, meaning that apprenticeships are available at no direct cost to your department or division and no cost to the apprentice. The apprentice remains on the same salary.

However please note the funds cannot be used to cover apprentices’ wages, recruitment costs, a supervisor’s time to support an apprentice, or any other indirect cost.

Who can do an apprenticeship?

For anyone residing in England (3 years+) aged 16 years old and above, there is no upper age limit. There are no formal qualifications needed to do an apprenticeship however ideally you will have GCSEs (level 4+ or grade C) in English and Maths or be prepared to achieve functional skills as part of the apprenticeship.

I only have overseas Maths and English qualification?

You can apply for a comparability statement from ENIC – please ask Chris Hamilton for further details.

How long does an Apprenticeship last?

An apprenticeship is always a minimum of 12 months. The duration of an apprenticeship depends on the course being followed and the ability of the individual apprentice. An apprenticeship can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentice’s ability, and the industry sector.

What types of apprenticeships are available?

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.


Equivalent educational level






A level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree or above


6 and 7

Bachelor's or master's degree









Can I get a degree by doing an apprenticeship?

Higher apprenticeships give you the opportunity to train and study for a foundation degree or even an honours degree. You can also complete a Degree Apprenticeship to study towards either a Bachelors or Master's degree, during your degree apprenticeship you will be required to study part-time with a university.

Do apprentices have to be employed full-time?

The minimum duration of 12 months is based on an apprentice working at least 30 hours a week, including any off-the-job training they undertake. If the apprentice works fewer than 30 hours a week, or where a part-time working pattern is needed, you must agree with the training provider to extend the apprenticeship accordingly.

Are graduates eligible for an apprenticeship?

Yes, as long as it’s a different subject or above their degree level.

A degree is a Level 6 qualification. As such, a graduate can study a suitable Level 7 apprenticeship or take a Level 2-6 apprenticeship as long as they are learning 'substantive new skills'.

What are degree apprenticeships?

It’s an apprenticeship that includes a degree as part of the programme. This means that individuals can continue working and gain a degree debt-free.

What’s the minimum time an apprentice should receive off-the-job training?

It is 20% of their working hours but this is very flexible and can be day release, two half days, time each day or a block of time over the duration of the programme.

I passed Maths and English GCSE/O Levels years ago but have lost my certificates. What should I do?

If you are unable to find your certificates, please contact Chris Hamilton, as it is possible that we can verify your grades via the national database.

You can also contact the awarding body for replacement certificates (please note there will be a charge for this) or complete Functional Skills as part of your apprenticeship programme. 

What are the manager's responsibilities during the apprenticeship?

To ensure the apprentice is allocated 20% Off the job training/study time.

To attend progress reviews every 10-12 weeks this should take approximately 15-20 minutes.

To arrange opportunities and exposure to undertake new tasks to learn new skills.

I have a member of staff who already has prior learning, could this be used towards their apprenticeship?

If the prior learning is relevant to the apprenticeship being undertaken, then yes.  


If you have questions about the Staff Apprenticeships Scheme, eligibility or the application process, please get in touch.

Chris Hamilton standing behind a stall covered in apprenticeships promotional materialChris Hamilton, Apprenticeships Officer

Human Resources
Sussex House
T: +44 (0)1273 075510 

Apprentice Testimonials

The fact that the apprenticeship has been organised through my employer and I don't have to fund this qualification myself is amazing.”

Mia Difalco - Human Resources apprentice

Read Mia's full interview.


The attractiveness of a degree apprenticeship is that you're able to integrate degree level learning and make sure that it's applied to your job and also have your employer on board in terms of supporting you on that learning journey too.

James Bluring, Governance Services Senior Leader Masters Degree apprentice

Read James' full interview.

Knowledge Brief

KnowledgeBrief host regular 45-minute online Briefing Sessions for those interested in their apprenticeship programmes. See upcoming dates below:
Levels 3 Team Leader and Level 5 Department/Operations Leader 

Tuesday 25 April at 1:00pm

Level 5 Coaching Professional

Tuesday 21 March at 11:00am

Level 7 Strategic Management and Leadership Qualification

Tuesday 25 April at 2:00pm

Junior Content Production Apprenticeship

Julie Bailey reflects on her apprenticeship experience with the University of Sussex and Creative Process Digital.

Contact for more information about this apprenticeship programme.

How we learn – 70:20:10 explained

The 70:20:10 model for learning suggests that individuals obtain 70% of their knowledge from jobrelated experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal educational events. Hands-on experience (the 70%) is the most beneficial for employees because it enables them to discover and refine their job-related skills, make decisions, address challenges and interact with influential people such as managers and mentors within work settings.

Pie chart graph split into 70:20:10