Apprenticeships are paid jobs, combining practical, on-the-job training with off-the-job learning. Apprenticeships in HR and L&D can offer structured, entry-level routes into the people profession, and provide experienced workers with the opportunity to 'upskill' and progress their careers.

An HR or L&D apprenticeship is delivered in contractual partnership with the following organisations:

  • The employer: Committed to developing the apprentice through an effective on-the-job and off-the-job training programme lasting a minimum of 12 months

  • The registered training provider: Either a registered FE college, university or independent training provider which delivers a structured, timely and credible training programme, which includes the employer's active involvement

  • The CIPD, as the registered apprenticeship assessment organisation: Approved to carry out robust assessment activities at the end of the apprenticeship training programme.

Training providers

Understand your role as a training provider, and how the CIPD, as the end-point assessment organisation, can support you

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Employers

Understand your role as the employer, and how the CIPD, as the end-point assessment organisation, can support you

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Apprentices

Understand your role as the apprentice, and how you can work with the training provider, employer and the CIPD as the end-point assessment organisation

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How HR apprenticeships work

Read on for information on what's involved in Level 3 and Level 5 HR apprenticeships. Please stay tuned to our website for further information on the L&D apprenticeships awaiting approval to be on the register of end-point assessment organisations.

Apprenticeship standard: HR Support

Who is this aimed at?

This Level 3 Apprenticeship is the entry route for a career in HR. Some typical responsibilities may include:

  • handling day-to-day queries
  • providing HR advice
  • using HR systems to keep records
  • providing the business with relevant HR information
  • working with the business on HR changes
  • working on a range of HR processes, varying from transactional to relatively complex issues (from recruitment through to retirement).

HR Support professionals deliver front-line assistance to managers and employees. They take ownership for providing advice on a wide range of issues, using company policy and current law.

Entry requirements

Applicants must be 16 or over and living in England.

The Level 3 Apprenticeship is comparable to an 'A'-level standard of education. Whilst applicants do not necessarily need 'A' levels for successful completion of this apprenticeship, they do need to demonstrate capability of operating competently at the Level 3 standard of work.

This may be judged according to the following descriptors:

Knowledge – shows an ability to learn factual, procedural and theoretical knowledge and understanding according to the HR Support Standard. As well as learning, retaining and processing this well-defined information, Level 3 apprentices show their ability to complete tasks and address problems that may be complex and non-routine. They can interpret and evaluate relevant information and ideas, and are aware of the different perspectives or approaches within HR.

Autonomy and accountability – Level 3 apprentices show aptitude to exercise responsibility, autonomy and judgement within limited parameters. They are able to take responsibility for initiating and completing tasks and procedures including, where relevant, responsibility for supervising or guiding others.

The selection criteria for recruiting an apprentice for an HR Support vacancy is the choice of the employer.

Initial assessment

Before starting an apprenticeship, the training provider must conduct and document an initial assessment. The initial assessment covers:

  1. what the apprentice has already achieved – prior learning and/or attainment
  2. what apprentices should be able to achieve in the future – their potential.

The initial assessment ensures the apprentice is enrolled on the right level apprenticeship programme for their capability. It should also be an opportunity to cross-check the job role (or roles) with the Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard - HR Support and confirm whether the role offers the right opportunities for gaining the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve the apprenticeship training and successfully pass the end-point assessment activities.

Assessment of prior learning must be quantified with any relevant work experience and/or skills already attained. This is particularly relevant for existing employees. If an apprentice does not have a requirement for 20% off-the-job training, they will most likely have already attained the required level of competence and will therefore be ineligible for this apprenticeship.

The initial assessment provides an opportunity to assess the learning needs of apprentices who do not have the minimum requirements of Level 2 English and Maths (A to C grades). Apprentices without these grades must acquire them as part of their apprenticeship training programme and before they start their end-point assessment.

Duration

The apprenticeship training period must last a minimum of 12 months up to a maximum of 20 months. In addition, the end-point assessment takes 12 weeks plus an extra four weeks (should a re-sit be required).

Gateway

All apprentices have to complete an end-point-assessment to complete their apprenticeship. An apprentice will work with their employer and training provider to decide on whether they are ready for their end-point-assessment. To check whether an apprentice is ready for end-point-assessment they need to go through the 'gateway'.

With the support of their training provider, an apprentice will need to provide the following evidence to successfully pass the gateway. This will include:

  • a minimum of 12 months on-programme training
  • certificates for Level 2 English and Maths qualifications
  • HR qualification certificates (optional for Level 3). Where no qualification has been completed, the training provider should issue a statement of knowledge.
  • statement of endorsement by the employer
  • 250 words summary of proposed Consultative Project.

When an apprentice has successfully completed the gateway, they will move on to the end-point-assessment.

End-point-assessment

As part of the assessment process, an apprentice will need to complete:

  • A Consultative Project
  • A Professional Discussion.

Through the Consultative Project and the Professional Discussion, an apprentice will be assessed against the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for Level 3.

Both types of assessment are assessed by an experienced Assessor from the CIPD, as the independent end-point assessment organisation. All of the CIPD Assessors are Chartered Members or Chartered Fellows, have a strong background in HR and have been assessing against HR standards for at least five years.



Consultative Project

The Consultative Project gathers evidence against the knowledge and skills components. In this assessment, the apprentice will work on a real project in the workplace relevant to their role. As part of the gateway, an apprentice will present the project they'll undertake by completing a project synopsis.

Once this has been approved, an apprentice has 10 weeks to complete and write up the Consultative Project.

Professional Discussion

The day after an apprentice submits their Consultative Project they will have a Professional Discussion with a CIPD Assessor. This Professional Discussion is via video conference and takes between an hour to an hour and a quarter. The purpose of the Professional Discussion is to gather evidence against the skills and behaviours required in the apprenticeship standard. An Assessor may also ask a few questions on the Consultative Project.

Scoring and grading

An apprentice will be awarded a Fail, Pass or Distinction. To achieve a Pass, an apprentice needs to have met all the components being assessed. To achieve a distinction, an apprentice needs to have passed all components as well as exceeding expectations in a number of components being assessed. Distinctions are by exception and recognise a small number of apprentices who are seen as outstanding.

If an apprentice fails, they are entitled to one resit. Further resits need to be agreed by the employer.

Apprenticeship certification and CIPD membership

The CIPD, as the end-point assessment organisation, applies for the apprenticeship certificate within two weeks, upon successful completion of the end-point assessment.

Apprentices who attained the CIPD's Level 3 HR Certificate/Diploma will apply for Associate CIPD membership alongside their qualification. All other apprentices who have successfully passed their apprenticeship with the CIPD, as the apprenticeship-awarding organisation, will be offered Associate CIPD membership within two weeks of passing the end-point assessments.

Apprenticeship standard: HR Consultant/Partner

Who is this aimed at?

Level 5 apprenticeships are aimed at HR professionals who are leading on people initiatives or playing a key contributing role in larger organisations. Their work may include:

  • making decisions and recommendations on people initiatives
  • influencing managers on introducing good people practices into the organisation
  • leading on people projects or the people part of business projects
  • aligning their work to overall organiational priorities.

Entry requirements

Applicants are usually 18 or over and living in England.

Employers will typically set the minimum entry requirements for this apprenticeship at two or more 'A' levels, or an occupationally suitable Level 3 or 4 apprenticeship.

The Level 5 apprenticeship is comparable to a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE). Whilst applicants do not need a previously attained DipHE for successful completion of this apprenticeship, they do need to demonstrate capability of operating competently at a Level 5 standard of work. This may be assessed according to the following descriptors:

  • Knowledge – Capable of practical, theoretical or technological knowledge and understanding of the Level 5 Apprenticeship standard - HR Consultant/Partner. The ability to use first-hand experience or observations of work to find ways forward in broadly defined, complex contexts. Capacity to analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant information, concepts and ideas. They show awareness of the nature and scope of the area of study or work. They are able to understand different perspectives, approaches or schools of thought and the reasoning behind them.

  • Skills – They show an ability to determine, adapt and use appropriate methods, cognitive and practical skills to complete work activities, inform actions and address broadly defined, complex problems. They have the potential to use relevant research or development to inform actions. They are capable of evaluating actions, methods and results.

  • Autonomy and Accountability – Level 5 apprentices take full responsibility for planning and developing courses of action including, where relevant, responsibility for the work of others and allocation of resources. They exercise responsibility, autonomy and judgement within broad parameters. They are accountable for the analysis and diagnosis, design, planning, execution and evaluation.

Duration

The training period for the Level 5 Apprenticeship Standard – HR Consultant/Partner must last a minimum of 12 months (and no longer than 32 months). The end point assessment will require an additional 12 weeks to complete. Should a re-sit be required a further four weeks should be added to the timeline for completion.

This obligation must be made clear to the employer when contacting terms and condition for the apprenticeship/s.

Gateway

All apprentices have to complete an end-point assessment to complete their apprenticeship. An apprentice will work with their employer and training provider to decide on whether they are ready for their end-point assessment. To check whether an apprentice is ready for the end-point assessment they need to go through the 'gateway'.

With the support of their training provider, an apprentice will need to provide the following evidence to successfully pass the gateway. This will include:

When an apprentice has successfully completed the gateway, they will move on to the end-point assessment.

End-point assessment

As part of the assessment process, an apprentice will need to complete:

  • a Consultative Project
  • a Professional Discussion.

Through the Consultative Project and the Professional Discussion, an apprentice will be assessed against the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for Level 5.

Both types of assessment are assessed by an experienced Assessor from the CIPD, as the independent end-point assessment organisation. All of the CIPD Assessors are Chartered Members or Chartered Fellows, have a strong background in HR, and have been assessing against HR standards for at least five years.

Consultative Project
The Consultative Project gathers evidence against the knowledge and skills components. In this assessment, the apprentice will work on a real project in the workplace relevant to their role. As part of the gateway, an apprentice will present the project they'll undertake by completing a project synopsis.

Once this has been approved, an apprentice has 10 weeks to complete and write up the Consultative Project.

Professional Discussion
The day after an apprentice submits their Consultative Project they will have a Professional Discussion with a CIPD Assessor. This Professional Discussion is via video conference and takes between an hour to an hour-and-a-quarter. The purpose of the Professional Discussion is to gather evidence against the skills and behaviours required in the apprenticeship standard. An Assessor may also ask a few questions on the Consultative Project.

Scoring and grading

An apprentice will be awarded a Fail, Pass or Distinction. To achieve a Pass, an apprentice needs to have met all of the components being assessed. To achieve a distinction, an apprentice needs to have passed all components as well as exceeding expectations in a number of components being assessed. Distinctions are by exception and recognise a small number of apprentices who are seen as outstanding.

If an apprentice fails, they are entitled to one resit. Further resits need to be agreed by the employer.

Apprenticeship certification, qualification and awards and CIPD membership

The CIPD, as the end-point assessment organisation, applies for the apprenticeship certificate within two weeks upon successful completion of the end-point assessment.

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