We found the way apprentices think is different from university graduates. Apprentices have a more practical way of approaching things. They also come with a lot of passion and enthusiasm to learn.
Alex Douglas-Mann
Senior SEO Director, 
iCrossing
Find out how to hire an apprentice and how DSS can assist you in the process. If you’d like support with the levy, see our range of B2B solutions in DSS Business.   

 

 

> Understanding the Levy

Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a genuine job with an accompanying assessment and skills development programme. Apprenticeships salaries cannot go under the minimum wage (£3.90/hour). Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. 20% of their time is to be spent in off-the-job training.

The levy

Designed by the government to increase employers' investment in apprenticeships and workforce development. Introduced in April 2017.

Scope

Less than 2% of UK employers: businesses with an annual payroll of £3,000,000 up (public and private sector). If you don’t fall into this category, you can still take advantage of the levy by using the levy transfer.

Procedure

The levy is set at a rate of 0.5% (with a £15K allowance) of the total payroll, and it's collected monthly by PAYE. The government applies a 10% top-up.

Usage

The money on your levy pot can only go towards the training and assessment of the apprenticeship. It cannot be spent on associated costs such as wages.

Use it or lose it

Use it or lose it. If employers do not spend their levy funds after 24 months, they will be ‘lost’, and made more widely available to other companies engaged with apprenticeships.

The levy transfer

Levy-paying organisations can transfer up to 25% of their annual levy fund to any other employer, including both levy-paying and non-levy organisations. 

If you haven't spent the levy, it will expire after 24 months

This is an opportunity to productively utilise the funds to identify future skills gaps support wider regional workforce skills and development needs engage with employers in your supply chain.

Limitations

Payments can't be stopped once the apprenticeship has been approved on the apprenticeship service (unless the apprenticeship stops).

Finding a receiver

Get in touch with employers in your industry, in your supply chain, or look within regional partners. Or work with DSS and we can make it happen.

Increase business productivity, develop your existing workforce, and attract new talent

Training for the apprenticeship will be paid in full. Get help, advice and support from the transferring employer. Allow non-levy payers access to all training providers on RoATP.

Limitations

The apprentice, standard, start/end date and training provider needs to be identified in advance as the transfer must relate to a specific apprentice.

Considerations

You need to have an account on the apprenticeship service. You need to sign an agreement. If the apprenticeship stops, then funding stops. If the levy sender runs out of account funds, you will be asked to make a 10% contribution. The government will pay the remaining 90%. 10% of all transfer funds received count as state aid. Transfers can be used only for new starts and to pay for training and assessments and are managed through the apprenticeship service.

> Hire an apprentice

We can get you working with people aged 16 and over.

Their statuses vary from school leavers, graduates and experienced professionals looking for a career change.

Registration

The organisation registers interest with DSS

Consultation

BDC (Business Development Consultant) completes initial meeting

Vacancy

The vacancy is uploaded to job boards and the screening takes place

Interviews

Telephone, face to face interviews. Assessment day & work trial

Selection

The successful candidate starts the apprenticeship with the organisation

> Upskill your current workforce

Look no further than the Digital Skills Solutions bespoke apprenticeships for existing staff. At DSS, we understand the importance of your time, and we spend it wisely. We also understand the requirement for staff development, which will enable them to keep up to date with the ever-changing trends, rules and regulations in the industry. 

Our apprenticeships could benefit any of your staff who wish to be upskilled or have a potential job role change. Whatever the request, we can cater for. 

At DSS, we work with the employers’ internal Learning and Development teams to design a bespoke apprenticeship for all existing staff members. 

We truly thrive on the results we see when employers decide to take this significant and positive step with their employees. Expect to see and feel a brand new confidence in your team

> Apprenticeship offer

Level 4 - Data Analyst

The role of a Data Analyst is to collect, organise and study data. They are typically involved with managing, cleansing, abstracting, aggregating data, and conducting a range of analytical studies on that data. They also document and report the results of data analysis activities making recommendations as to how to improve business performance. They require a good understanding of data structures, database systems and procedures used to undertake a range of different types of analysis.

The Data Analyst Apprenticeship teaches learners or existing staff how to collect, organise and study data, to provide essential business insights to organisations. 

This course has been specifically designed to help the apprentice adopt an analytical mindset; which will provide a professional understanding of data and can then be used to improve the performance of the business and productivity of the workplace. 

- A minimum of 4 GCSE passes at grades D - E
- Entry-level 3 in English or Maths, or progression from ESOL
- Aged between 16 -18
- Completed college assessment
- Successful interview

Level 4 - IS Business Analyst

The IS (Information Systems) Business Analyst will determine and present solutions on how information systems can be used to improve operational efficiency. The role embodies early and regular investigation and analysis that ensures the right IS solution is chosen to meet the required business need.

Through a delivery of blended learning, the apprentice is able to gain an understanding into business processes; facilitating and coordinating business requirements regarding the business change agenda.

- A minimum of 4 GCSE passes at grades D - E
- Entry-level 3 in English or Maths, or progression from ESOL
- Aged between 16 -18
- Completed college assessment
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Improvement Practitioner

Improvement Practitioners use a blend of Lean and Six Sigma, project and change management principles and tools to identify and lead the delivery of change across organisational functions and processes. Improvement Practitioners can be found across all sectors and functions including automotive, banking, engineering, food products, IT, property, retail, telecoms etc.

-  Either before or during the apprenticeship, apprentices will be required to achieve level 2 qualifications in English and mathematics prior to taking the end-point assessment
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Marketing Executive

Marketing is vitally important to all businesses providing insight to develop and deliver new products and services to meet ever-changing customer needs. It is the process of researching, developing, promoting and distributing, products or services through effective channels to engage with a range of target audiences. Occupations in marketing span most industries and sectors and the roles can sit within a specific company/agency that provides marketing deliverables and advice to external clients, or within an internal marketing team, delivering marketing activities to drive that business. Marketing teams generally work with external agencies to deliver specialist elements of their marketing campaigns.

- The entry requirement for this apprenticeship will be decided by each employer
- Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Associate Project Manager

Projects can be defined and delivered within different contexts, across diverse industry sectors. They can be large or small. Every project needs to be managed to ensure its success, An associate project manager knows what needs to be achieved, how it will be achieved, how long it will take and how much it will cost, and works with the project team to achieve the required outcomes.

The entry requirement for this apprenticeship will be decided by each employer, but may typically be five GCSEs at Grade C or higher, including English and Mathematics, and hold a minimum of 48 UCAS points, or equivalent.
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Software Developer

The primary role of a software developer is to build and test simple, high-quality code across front end, logic and database layers. A developer will typically be working as part of a larger team, in which they will have responsibility for some of the straightforward elements of the overall project. The developer will need to be able to interpret design documentation and specifications. The customer requirements will typically be defined and agreed by more experienced or specialist members of the team, such as a business analyst or technical architect.
 
Typical Job Roles: Web Developer, Application Developer, Mobile App Developer, Games Developer, Software Developer.

 

-  Individual employers will set the selection criteria, but this is likely to include A levels; a level 3 apprenticeship or other relevant qualification; relevant experience and/or an aptitude test with a focus on functional maths
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Cyber Security Technologist

The primary role of a Cyber Security Technologist is to apply an understanding of cyber threats, hazards, risks, controls, measures and mitigations to protect organisations systems and people. Those focused on the technical side work on areas such as security design & architecture, security testing, investigations & response. Those focussed on the risk analysis side focus on areas such as operations, risk, governance & compliance.

- A Levels, a relevant Level 3 apprenticeship, or other relevant qualifications, relevant experience and/or an aptitude test with a focus on functional maths
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Cyber Security (Risk Analyst)

The primary role of a Cyber Security Technologist is to apply an understanding of cyber threats, hazards, risks, controls, measures and mitigations to protect organisations systems and people. Those focused on the risk analysis side focus on areas such as operations, risk, governance & compliance. Whether focused on the technical or risk analysis side, all people in this occupation work to achieve required security outcomes in a legal and regulatory context in all parts of the economy.

- A Levels, a relevant Level 3 apprenticeship, or other relevant qualifications, relevant experience and/or an aptitude test with a focus on functional maths
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Cyber Intrusion Analyst

The primary role of a Cyber Intrusion Analyst is to detect breaches in network security for escalation to incident response or other determined function. An Intrusion Analyst will typically use a range of automated tools to monitor networks in real-time, will understand and interpret the alerts that are automatically generated by those tools, including integrating and correlating information from a variety of sources and in different forms and where necessary seek additional information to inform the Analyst’s judgement on whether or not the alert represents a security breach. When an Analyst has decided that a security breach has been detected, he or she will escalate to an incident response team, or other determined action, providing both notifications of the breach and evidence with the reasoning that supports the judgement that a breach has occurred. An Analyst will typically work as part of a team (or may lead a team) and will interact with external stakeholders, including customers and third party sources of threat and vulnerability intelligence and advice.

- Individual employers will set the selection criteria, but this is likely to include A’ Levels, level 3 apprenticeship or other relevant qualification relevant experience and/or an aptitude test with a focus on functional maths
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Software Tester

The primary role of a Software Tester is to ensure that software operates as intended. Testers typically design and prepare test plans and conduct software testing as appropriate to ensure that software is fit for purpose. They document and report the results of testing activities. They have a good understanding of the software lifecycle and software development practices.

- Individual employers will select which vendor or professional qualification the apprentice should take
- Level 2 English and Maths will need to be achieved, if not already, prior to taking the end-point assessment
- Successful interview

Level 4 - Network Engineer

The primary role of a network engineer is to design, install, maintain and support communication networks within an organisation or between organisations. They need to maintain high levels of operation of communication networks in order to provide maximum performance and availability for their users, such as staff, clients, customers and suppliers. They will understand network configuration, cloud, network administration and monitoring tools, and be able to give technical advice and guidance.

- Individual employers will select which vendor or professional qualification the apprentice should take
- Level 2 English and Maths will need to be achieved, if not already, prior to taking the end-point assessment
- Successful interview

Level 3 - Team Leader/Supervisor

A team leader/supervisor is a first-line management role, with operational/project responsibilities or responsibility for managing a team to deliver a clearly defined outcome. They provide direction, instructions, and guidance to ensure the achievement of set goals. Working in the private, public or third sector and in all sizes of organisation, specific responsibilities will vary, but the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed will be the same whatever the role.

- The entry requirement for this apprenticeship will be decided by each employer, but may typically be five GCSEs at Grade C or higher.
- Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment.

Level 3 - Junior Content Producer

A Junior Content Producer (also referred to as a Creative Content Assistant) is responsible for developing and creating content that can be used across a variety of media including digital, social media, broadcast or in print. Working to the customer/client brief, they research, prepare and develop the media messaging to maximise audience engagement, capturing the strategy and objectives of the brand and needs of the customer they are representing.

- Individual employers will set their own entry requirements, but this will typically include English and Maths at GCSE Grade C or above
- Apprentices without English or Maths Level 2 must achieve this prior to taking the end-point assessment
- Successful interview

Level 3 - Digital Marketer

The role of a digital marketer is to define, design, build and implement digital campaigns across a variety of online and social media platforms to drive customer acquisition, customer engagement and customer retention. They will typically be working as part of a team, in which they will have responsibility for some of the straightforward elements of the overall marketing plan or campaign. They will normally report to a digital marketing manager, a marketing manager or an IT Manager.

The Digital Marketer Apprenticeship offers a mix of digital marketing skills, web optimisation and social networking management. The course has been specifically designed to build a strong foundation for success - providing apprentices with the key knowledge and valuable skills needed to become a professional digital marketer. 

- A minimum of 4 GCSE passes at grades D - E
- Entry-level 3 in English or Maths, or progression from ESOL
- Aged between 16 -18
- Completed college assessment
- Successful interview

Level 3 - Improvement technician

Improvement Technicians are responsible for delivery and coaching of improvement activity within an area of responsibility, often associated with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. They can be found across all industry sectors and functions including automotive, banking, engineering, food products, IT, property, retail, telecoms etc.

- A minimum of 4 GCSE passes at grades D - E
- Entry-level 3 in English or Maths
- Completed college assessment
- Successful interview

Level 3 - Software Development Technician

A Software Development Technician typically works as part of a software development team, to builds simple software components (whether web, mobile or desktop applications) to be used by other members of the team as part of larger software development projects. They will interpret simple design requirements for discrete components of the project under supervision. The approach will typically include implementing code, which other team members have developed, to produce the required component.

- A minimum of 4 GCSE passes at grades D - E
- Entry-level 3 in English or Maths, or progression from ESOL
- Aged between 16 -18
- Completed college assessment
- Successful interview

Level 3 - Infrastructure Technician

The Infrastructure Technician provides support to internal and external customers, helping them to be productive when using technology to do their jobs. By using tools to problem solve and troubleshoot non-routine issues, this role sets people up on systems, providing support when needed and rectifying issues to maintain the organisations' productivity. 

- A minimum of 4 GCSE passes at grades D - E
- Entry-level 3 in English or Maths, or progression from ESOL
- Aged between 16 -18
- Completed college assessment
- Successful interview

Level 3 - Digital Support Technician

The broad purpose of a Digital Support Technician is to maximise the effective use of digital office technologies, productivity software, digital communications. In their daily work, There are two routes for Digital Support Technicians: Digital Applications Technician, and Digital Service Technician. 

- Individual employers will select which vendor or professional qualification the apprentice should take
- Level 2 English and Maths will need to be achieved, if not already, prior to taking the end point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification is an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language
- Successful interview

Level 3 - IT Solutions Technician

IT Solutions Technicians work as part of a multi-disciplinary team, such as “DevOps” style teams, which carry out the full set of stages across the whole solution lifecycle: requirements gathering, solution development, testing, implementation and ongoing support. IT Solutions Technicians undertake duties across the complete IT solution/ Apprentices then choose one of two options: IT Hardware Solutions Technician or IT Software Solutions Technician. 

- Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve these prior to the end point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

- Successful interview

> Our delivery methods


20% off the job through block release or weekly delivery


On-the-job mentoring and developing professional competencies


Gateway and end-point assessment


Online delivery supported with scheduled 'touchpoints' and 'deep dive' residents


On the job coaching and mentoring developing technical knowledge


Gateway, supported revision exercises and end-point assessment


Predominately online delivery with virtual meetings and support available online and by telephone


Gateway, self-led revision exercises and end-point assessment


Gateway, self-led revision exercises and end-point assessment

 

Support for your apprentices

Additional learning

Additional learning support through one to one working.

Individual support

For apprentices at risk of not making the planned progress to achieve successfully.

Personal support

We support apprentices with any personal issues or concerns.

Financial support

DSS apprentices are entitled to a complimentary NUS Apprentice extra card, which provides a wide range of discounts to support their journey.

Line managers

We support apprentices in their relationship with line managers.

Support for you and line managers

Account manager

We provide a dedicated account manager for support that will be available for employers at all times.

Line managers

A DSS email account specifically set up for employers can be used by line managers.

Touchpoints

Touchpoints are set at week 1, 2, and 5 at the start of the programme, and then once a month.

Welcome pack

Employers receive a welcome pack with all the necessary information and paperwork.

Train and support

DSS can train and support line managers who will be mentoring apprentices.

 

Progress tracking

OFF-THE-JOB TRAINING

Apprentices are required to spend 20% of their time in off-the-job training.

Smart Assessor

We use an online platform called Smart Assessor to make this easy; our dashboard keeps both you and your apprentices fully updated on the learning progress.

Provide Support

Our trainers will always be available to answer questions and provide support.

 

> Case studies

We specialise in progressive and seamless learning pathways from school to the workplace; it is our goal to close the skills gap in the UK. Digital Skills Solutions have placed learners in the workplace, workshops, and seminars throughout the nation. Below is a selection of some of our success stories. 

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