Apprenticeship Frameworks in England

The role of Skills for Health

Skills for Health works with employers in England to support the development of Apprenticeships for healthcare occupations.

Details of the current Apprenticeship Frameworks can be found below, including information about the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards England (SASE), apprenticeship framework levels, certification, frequently asked questions and other useful resources.

Apprenticeships in England are currently undergoing a period of significant reform. To find out about the new apprenticeship ‘Trailblazers’ click here.

The Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE)

The Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE is statutory and was first published in January 2011. It governs what must be included within apprenticeship frameworks in England. SASE sets out how the apprenticeships must be named, delivered and what (if any) alternative qualifications may be used. It also outlines the requirements for Key and Functional Skills, Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR), Person Learning and Thinking skills (PLTS) and Guided Learning Hours (GLH).

Apprenticeship reforms mean that SASE Frameworks are being withdrawn over a period of time. As last start dates are known they will be listed in the table below:

Framework Last start date
L2 Apprenticeship in Health (Informatics) 30th November 2016
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Informatics) 30th November 2016
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Pathology Support) 30th November 2016
L5 Apprenticeship in Health (Assistant Practitioner) 30th September 2017
L2 Apprenticeship in Health (Clinical Healthcare Support) 30th September 2017
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Clinical Healthcare Support) 30th September 2017
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Dental Nursing) 30th September 2017
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Maternity and Paediatric Support) 30th September 2017
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Perioperative Support) 30th September 2017
L2 Apprenticeship in Health (Emergency Care) To be confirmed
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Allied Health Profession Support) To be confirmed
L2 Apprenticeship in Health (Optical Retail) To be confirmed
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Optical Retail) To be confirmed
L2 Apprenticeship in Health (Pharmacy Services) To be confirmed
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Pharmacy Services) To be confirmed
L2 Apprenticeship in Health (Healthcare Support Services) To be confirmed
L3 Apprenticeship in Health (Healthcare Support Services) To be confirmed

 

After the last start date it will not be possible to register apprentices on these frameworks, before that date registrations can continue as normal.

Intermediate and Advanced Level Apprenticeships

You can download framework documents for Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships from Apprenticeship Frameworks Online.

UCAS Profiles for Advanced Apprenticeships

Skills for Health has developed profiles for Advanced Apprenticeships which provide HE admissions tutors with clear and concise information to support progression for Advanced Apprentices into HE. The profiles for health related advanced apprenticeships can be found on the UCAS website.

Higher Level Apprenticeships

Skills for Health have issued a Higher Level Apprenticeship for Assistant Practitioner roles in healthcare. The Apprenticeship framework has been developed by Skills for Health with employers to provide a progression route for Healthcare Support Workers who want to develop the skills and knowledge required to be an Assistant Practitioner. The framework has both a Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) route and Foundation Degree route to achieving occupational competence. Employers and Apprentices can choose the qualification that best suits their needs.

The details of the Apprenticeship framework can be seen at http://www.afo.sscalliance.org/.

If you have any enquiries about the framework or you are a Higher Education Institution who would like a Foundation Degree included in the framework and need the Compliance Declaration Form please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also like to download a copy of the Core Competence and Knowledge Framework for Assistant Practitioner Higher Level Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship FAQs

  • Where do I find out more about apprenticeships?

    A full list of apprenticeships available for use in England can be found at Apprenticeship Frameworks Online. The individual framework documents detail what types of role learners may be employed in, give background regarding the sector, list the component qualifications, duration, specific detail re Key and Functional skills, ERR, PLTS and Guided Learning Hours etc.

    AFO website searching tip: Frameworks developed specifically for the health sector all contain the word ‘Health’ in the title eg Health (Clinical Healthcare Support). To bring up all the apprenticeships developed specifically for use in the health sector type in 'health,' tick the 'current frameworks' box and tick 'Skills for Health' and 'Skills for Care and Development'. You can also search for non-health related apprenticeships on this site eg business and administration, cleaning etc by changing your search criteria accordingly.

    National Apprenticeship Service website may also be useful.

  • What qualifications are included in an apprenticeship?

    The attached document gives an overview of the different qualifications and workbooks required for each country and each type of apprenticeship framework. It also details the differences between frameworks during the transition from NVQ to QCF qualifications. For Apprenticeship frameworks in England and Wales issued or updated from April 2011 onward please use Apprenticeship Frameworks Online to see the current and all archived framework documents.

  • Recognition of prior learning

    Skills for Health does not advise on this – please contact your Awarding Organisation or center directly.

  • Funding

    Skills for Health is not able to advise on this. Please see the Skills Funding Agency website.

  • Vacancies

    Skills for Health is not able to advise on this. Please see http://www.jobs.nhs.uk and http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk

  • What are the Functional and Key Skills Qualifications and Exemptions?

    If you are enquiring whether or not a particular GCSE/Key Skills qualification is allowable, please visit the AFO website and refer to the framework in question. Go to the frameworks library, search for your framework title, and then open the PDF. You will find all the information on transferable skills within these documents. You can also view a full list of allowable exemptions in the Knowledge base section of the ACE website.

    Please note that SASE was modified in February 2015 effecting Functional and Key Skills exemptions for learners starting on or after 6th April 2015, please refer to the new guidance on the ACE website. For learners who started before 6th April 2015, the original guidance must be followed.

    If you enquiring about a proxy exemption for key skills in a Blueprint framework please refer to this document.

  • What were the changes to Apprenticeship completion requirements from January 2014?

    From 1 January 2014 new rules apply to some of the England Apprenticeship Frameworks. Of particular note, learners must select specific units from the optional units available in the diploma qualifications as outlined in the table below. This is over and above the existing mandatory units in the diplomas. Certification for completion of the Apprenticeship will only be provided if the learner can provide certificated evidence that they have completed the following units:

    • Dementia Awareness (Level 2) J_601_2874 or Understand the process and experience of Dementia (Level 3) J_601_3538
    • Understand Mental Health Problems (Level 3) J_602_0103
    • Undertake Physiological Measurements (Level 3) R_601_8662
    Apprenticeship Framework (ENGLAND) Level Mental Health Dementia Physiological Measurement
    Health (Clinical Healthcare Support) Intermediate

    Health and Social Care (Health Pathway)

    Intermediate

    Health (Clinical Healthcare Support)

    Advanced

    Health (Healthcare Support Services)

    Advanced

    Health and Social Care (Health Pathway)

    Advanced

    Health (Allied Health Profession support)

    Advanced

    Health (Maternity and Paediatric Support)

    Advanced

    Only the frameworks listed in the table are affected by this requirement. Applicable only to learners who begin their programme on or after 01 January 2014.

    These changes do not affect Apprenticeship Frameworks in Wales.

Certification FAQs

Skills for Health issues certificates for England. All certification claims must now be made via Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE)

  • What are the Functional and Key Skills Qualifications and Exemptions?

    If you are enquiring whether or not a particular GCSE/Key Skills qualification is allowable, please visit the AFO website and refer to the framework in question. Go to the frameworks library, search for your framework title, and then open the PDF. You will find all the information on transferable skills within these documents. You can also view a full list of allowable exemptions in the Knowledge base section of the ACE website.

    Please note that SASE was modified in February 2015 effecting Functional and Key Skills exemptions for learners starting on or after 6th April 2015, please refer to the new guidance on the ACE website. For learners who started before 6th April 2015, the original guidance must be followed.

    If you enquiring about a proxy exemption for key skills in a Blueprint framework please refer to this document.

  • I have a question about framework requirements eg ERR and GLH

    Please go to the AFO website to download a copy the framework you require. Go to the frameworks library, search for your framework title, and then open the PDF. You will find all the information you require within these documents.

  • One of my learners has been rejected on ACE, what do I do?

    When we reject a claim for certification we include a comment on the ACE system detailing the reason for the rejection. If you are writing to enquire why a certification claim has been rejected please go to the learner ‘STATUS’ tab on the ACE system to read the comment. If you are emailing us to appeal we will contact you within 5 working days, however we must follow the requirements of the SASE regulations, the requirements of the framework and the guidelines set by the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (FISSS), therefore we strongly advise that you make the changes we require as soon as possible.

  • Where are my certificates - England?

    All applications are approved or rejected within 10 days and Skills for Health will post the certificates within 10 days of the application being approved. Please note that you cannot apply for a certificate until payment has been made directly to FISSS via the Central Payment System, information on this system can be found below. If you are concerned about the whereabouts of a certificate that has recently been printed and posted, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • How do I pay Skills for Health for my certificates - England?

    Certificates are charged at £22 each. As of 1/9/2013 all certificates must be paid for via the Central Payment System (CPS). This system is operated by the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (FISSS), therefore any queries you have regarding the payment system must be sent directly to FISSS.

    General FAQ’s on the CPS can be found here. https://acecerts.co.uk/web/central-payment-system-frequently-asked-questions.

    No payments should be made directly to Skills for Health unless you are paying for a certificate reprint. Skills for Health will not issue invoices for payments made via the CPS.


Other Useful Documents:

If you have a query about Apprenticeships and Certification in England that is not answered on this page please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..