The New World of Apprenticeship Standards and the Puzzle of On-Programme Delivery

Apprenticeships have evolved. A shift away from the safe and well-known framework to the more flexible and holistic approach of standards offers employers, training providers and colleges a host of opportunities. However, the relative lack of structure also causes confusion, uncertainty and makes delivery a puzzle that must be solved.

Since the launch of the standards we have been asked so many questions that start with the word ‘how’. How do I start? How do I track progress? How do I prove my apprentices are ready for gateway? How do I know that my apprentices are progressing? How do I evidence my apprentices have the requisite knowledge, skills and behaviours required of the standard? How do I ensure my apprentices cover the 20% off-the-job training?

If you’re asking these same questions, please know that you are not alone.

The change to the standards is a whole new world when it comes to apprenticeships. It is a giant leap in the delivery model from frameworks to standards and the lack of detail can make planning the mandatory on-programme learning difficult. The lack of a clearly defined structure can leave training providers unsure how to structure their delivery. It can leave the apprentice feeling isolated and confused and means that the risk of the apprentice dropping off the programme is heightened.

Clearly there is a need for greater structure. There are ambitious targets of 3 million apprentices completing the standards by 2020. This number becomes increasingly unlikely as we all read stories of the dwindling numbers of new starters, and that many providers across all sectors are claiming it is taking longer for apprentices to reach gateway, and that the natural consequence of this is, of course, that apprentices’ motivation reduces while their frustrations go the opposite way. The risk of non-completion also rises.

When it comes to supporting our customers through on-programme delivery, the main way we can help is through our Apprenti-kits. The premise of our Apprenti-kit is that it provides a clear pathway from day one of the apprenticeship through to gateway, and that they are:  

  • mapped to the standards that they support
  • created by genuine industry experts with recent relevant experience
  • are available as an e-kit that is compatible with most e-portfolio systems
  • are broken down into manageable sized modules that can be completed at the apprentice’s own pace
  • evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the apprentice
  • contain over 1,000 hours of our experience, expertise and knowledge
  • track learners’ progress towards gateway and evidence their readiness for end-point assessment

We are committed to continuing to listen and respond to our customers’ needs, particularly around on-programme apprenticeship delivery and preparation for end-point assessment. Our ultimate aim is to contribute to the number of apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship, and to continue to provide leading work-based learning qualifications and training materials.

Speaking about Highfield Apprenti-kits, Jon Ansty, Head of Assessment, at Eastleigh College, said:

I have been working with Highfield for nearly three and a half years now. During this time our working relationship has flourished. When we started looking at the transition to standards, we met a few times to discuss the offer from Highfield around the Apprenti-kit for frameworks as well as standards.

The kits we use are for a range of areas, we use kits for the new standards in Hospitality Team Member and Hospitality Supervisor, Customer Service Practitioner as well as Adult Care Worker and Lead Adult Care Worker.

The quality of the kits has been recognised by our employers including HC3S where we have branded the Apprenti-kits with their logo. The kits are of a professional level and I am impressed by the support provided by both Highfield in facilitating further tweaks to personalise the kits for Eastleigh College as well as the employers.’

Find out how we can work with your organisation to deliver effective on-programme training by calling us on 0845 226 0350 or 01302 363 277 or emailing

Apprenti-kit for Operations/Departmental Manager

A new Apprent-kit to help learners undertaking the new level 5 apprenticeship standard for operations/departmental manager has been launched by Highfield Products

Developed to support learners through a number of different delivery models – whether that’s direct delivery, distance learning or blended learning – the Apprenticeship Standard (Level 5) Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenti-kit comes complete with everything needed to help learners, employers and tutors throughout the apprenticeship journey. 

The comprehensive kit includes a welcome booklet that provides guidance on the new apprenticeship standards, thorough coverage of the required knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs), plus a wide range of sector-based activities to enhance learners’ understanding and achievement. 

Also included is an authoritative guide that aims to demystify end-point assessment, plus a textbook and workbook for each of the mandatory knowledge and skills modules, as well as for the required behaviours. 

And to provide added flexibility and adaptability, the kit is available in an A4 ring binder or electronically as an e-kit delivered direct to your inbox. 

The Apprenticeship Standard (Level 5) Operations/Departmental Manager Apprenti-kit costs £45.95 for the hard copy version, and £45.95 plus VAT for the e-kit version. 

For more information and to view a sample, click were. here.

To order your kit now, either call us on 0845 226 0350/01302 363277 or



Apprenticeship and traineeship learning resources

Sourcing the best resources for your learners can be frustrating, which is why we have developed a range of materials specifically matched to the apprenticeships and traineeships we offer.

Our Apprenti-kits and Trainee-kits are innovative learner resources, designed to guide apprentices and trainees right through the entirety of their programme, from day one to graduation.

traineeship learning resourcesApprenti-kits cover the mandatory units of knowledge-based apprenticeship qualifications, and include everything that learners need such as textbooks, workbooks and guidance from subject matter experts. Available in nearly 20 subject areas, apprenti-kits are also available as e-kits, using Adobe editable software so that learners can complete them electronically.

Our Trainee-kits are designed to support the government’s new traineeship programme, which are aimed at unemployed young people aged 16 to 24. They are part of the wider apprenticeship family, and designed to give learners the work experience, skills and knowledge that employers need them to have in order to start contributing to their business.

trainee-kitEach Trainee-kit contains a welcome booklet, explaining how traineeships and their component parts work, a work preparation section outlining the work preparation qualifications available, a section allowing learners to reflect on their work experience, plus a textbook for the academic aspect of traineeships and workbooks containing questions and activities mapped to learning outcomes that can be used as evidence of learning. And just like our Apprenti-kits, they come in an e-kit format so they can be completed electronically.

For more information on apprenti-kits, click here

For more information on traineekits, click here

New apprenticeship and traineeship support available

ApprentikitsWe’ve made changes to some our Apprenti-kits, keeping them up-to-date with the latest learning outcomes and ensuring your learners have the knowledge that employers require.

The revised Apprenti-kits cover apprenticeships in business admin, customer service and team leading,  and take into account the latest changes and updates to qualifications and apprenticeship frameworks.

There have also been changes to the Apprenti-kit for Retail, with two new units added, giving learners even more depth in their studies.

Apprenti-kits are an innovative learner resource covering the mandatory units of knowledge-based qualifications within an apprenticeship, and include everything that learners need such as textbooks, workbooks and guidance from subject matter experts. Available in nearly 20 subject areas, Apprenti-kits are also available as e-kits, using Adobe editable software so that learners can complete them electronically.

For more information Apprenti-kits, click here.

TraineeshipsWe’ve also recently launched a range of Trainee-kits to support the government’s new traineeship programmes.

Traineeships are aimed at unemployed young people aged 16 to 24, and are seen by the government as one of its flagship training policies.

They are part of the apprenticeship family, and designed to give learners the work experience, skills and knowledge that employers need them to have in order to start contributing to their business.

A traineeship is designed to prepare learners to progress into either employment or a full apprenticeship and can last between 3 weeks to 6 months.

Trainee-kits are now available in the following areas:

  • Active Leisure;
  • Business and Administration;
  • Cleaning;
  • Conflict Management;
  • Customer Service;
  • Fire Safety;
  • Health and Social Care;
  • Hospitality and Catering;
  • Land-based;
  • Legionella;
  • Manual Handling;
  • Retail;
  • Risk Assessment;
  • Underage Sales Prevention;
  • Warehousing; and
  • Waste Management.

Each Trainee-kit contains the following:

A Welcome Booklet – explaining how traineeships and their component parts work.

Work Preparation Section – outlining the work preparation qualifications available and what is required of learners. There is also a section allowing learners to reflect on their work experience and keep a working diary.

A Textbook – providing learners with all the information they need to complete the academic aspect of their traineeship, with Highfield-style illustrations to engage them.

Workbooks – containing questions and activities that have been mapped to learning outcomes. The completion of them can be used as evidence of learning for the relevant qualification.

Trainee-kits are also available in e-kit format, using Adobe editable software so that learners can complete them electronically. Prices are:

2-4 units = £29.95
5-8 units = £35.95
9-12 units = £39.95
13+ units = £45.95

For more information, go call us on 0845 2260350 or email

Delivering apprenticeships with Superdrug and Savers

Recently Superdrug and Savers – part of the AS Watson Group – made the switch to HABC for all their apprenticeship needs.  As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 (3-7 March 2014), we spoke to Operations Manager Sue Johnston, and two learners, about how apprenticeships were bring real benefits both to the business and to young people.

Sue Johnston, Operations Manager, Superdrug and Savers

Superdrug and Savers‘For us, one of the main benefits of Apprenticeships is the up-skilling of our workforce.  Apprenticeships bring in new people who, given the opportunity and the right training, can become a key element of our succession plan. Great people means great service, which in retail can also have a positive effect on sales and the profitability of the business.

Our Apprentices gain a qualification as well as some very valuable life skills such as increased confidence, better communication skills and self-belief, all of which are transferable into any other workplace or further education scheme.

To any business considering taking on apprentices, I would say ‘Go for it!’ You are giving a young person an opportunity to develop their skills, get on the career ladder and gain valuable experience. The business also benefits from this experience. It’s a win-win situation.

I would say for young people considering an Apprenticeship; choose carefully and ensure the area you want to go into is right for you.  If possible, volunteer somewhere first to be sure.  But once you have made your choice, you’ll get a qualification, valuable experience, a chance of a permanent job at the end – all whilst getting paid….Why wouldn’t you?

Eighty percent of our completed Apprenticeships have gained a permanent role within our business, but one of our great success stories is Christy.

Christy became an apprentice after completing a 6-week Retail Traineeship through the Job Centre voluntarily, as she was registered unemployed.  She showed such promise during those 6 weeks that we offered her the opportunity of doing an Apprenticeship.  Christy completed her qualification over 12 months and gained a permanent contract. She has recently been promoted from being a Sales Assistant to a Store Supervisor – and she is still only 18!

We chose to work with HABC for Apprenticeships because of their customer service, their family atmosphere and the fact that they include you as a provider, rather than dictate to you.  So far it’s been an excellent experience and there is always someone to answer your questions.  We meet regularly to discuss our future and where to want to develop, and HABC fully support us in this.’ 

Christy Horsley, Superdrug (Apprenticeship: Retail Skills)
‘I chose an apprenticeship over other courses as I prefer to learn practically.  Classrooms never suited my learning style and doing an apprenticeship meant I was getting experience, as well as a qualification.

So far the best part for me has been passing my tests.  I was very nervous but with the support from my assessor and my manager, I sailed through each one first time.  I’m already achieving my goal of getting a permanent position as I have now completed my apprenticeship.  I am now a store supervisor, but I want to continue learning do more so that one day I may be a store manager, helping other people become what they want to be.

To any other young people considering an apprenticeship, I would say this is the best thing I ever did.  If you like being hands-on then take the opportunity, work hard and you will achieve your goals.  I did!’

Gemma Southcoat, Superdrug (Apprenticeship: Retail Skills)
‘I wanted to have a career, not just a job, so I though an apprenticeship would be the best way to start that process as it could lead to so much more.

Working with the team and the customers has been the highlight for me.  I am a trainee sales assistant and work with the public every day in small town so you get to know the locals.  I love the customer service part of this role as I can help people, learn new skills and I am so much more confident talk to people now than I used to be. 

I hope that my apprenticeship will give me the opportunity to stay in retail with my current employer, but if not with them then certainly in the same area of the business.  I want to progress and work towards being a manager of my own store one day. 

My apprenticeship has helped me now only with the knowledge of retail but also in myself.  I was quite shy to begin with, and now I am far more confident and outgoing.’

To find out why more and more organisations are moving to HABC for apprenticeships, check out the AS Watson testimonial video on Highfield TV:


Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Retail Apprenti-kit

retail-apprenti-kitFollowing on from several months of review and development, we’ve made a number of updates to our Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Retail Apprenti-kit.

The updated kits now include units on understanding customer service in the retail selling process, how individuals and teams to contribute to the effectiveness of a retail business, and how a retail business maintains health and safety on its premises.

For more information click here.

HABC enters land-based skills sector with new qualifications

Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) has launched new qualifications in land-based skills sector, marking the organisation’s entry into the sector.

The three new Level 1 qualifications cover agriculture, horticulture, environmental conservation and general land-based skills, and are aimed at school-leavers and new entrants looking to begin a career in farming, horticulture, landscaping or groundskeeping.

HABC’s entry into the sector marks the beginning of a new commitment to the land-based industries. 

A Level 2 Diploma in work-based horticulture and two qualifications in land-based forklift truck operations are in development and due for launch by end of April 2014.  Training materials such as HABC’s Apprenti-kits – which support learners on government funded apprenticeship programmes and have been well-received in other sectors – will also be available from spring.

Ian Benison, Chief Executive of Derbyshire based SLIC Training, which will be delivering the HABC qualifications, said, ‘We’re incredibly excited that HABC is offering qualifications in the land-based industries, and even more excited to be the first Centre delivering them.  We have worked with HABC many times before and know how well-regarded they are in other sectors for consistently meeting the needs of employers, learners and training providers. 

The land-based industries as a whole need 60,000 new entrants by 2020 in order to be sustainable.  By offering qualifications at Level 1 we can give new recruits an insight into the sector whilst providing them with the appropriate skills and foundation from which they can make the next step in their own careers.’

Jason Sprenger, HABC Chief Executive, said, ‘Launching three new qualifications, with three more planned for April, is quite a commitment and demonstrates how seriously we are taking our entry into the land-based skills sector.  When we looked at the sector we felt that it was under-represented in terms of the breadth of qualifications available, and the services being offered to training providers and employers.  We are proud of the reputation we have established in other sectors for customer care and quality, and are keen to be able to offer the same standard of service to land-based employers and training providers so that they can support learners and improve their operations.’

For more information, call our sales team on 0845 226 0350, email or go to