Ellie the apprentice smiling

An apprenticeship is a combination of on and off the job learning and development.

We have practical tools to help you develop an apprenticeship programme for your organisation. 

If you’re thinking of doing an apprenticeship have a look at our Think Care Careers website for more information.

What is an apprentice?

Apprentices work as employees with experienced staff to gain job-specific skills, whilst working towards a number of qualifications and gaining experience. All whilst getting paid. 

The learning and development lets apprentices get relevant care skills. They might work directly with people who need care and support as a care worker, or team leader. Apprentices may also work in a non-direct social care role in catering or administration.

New apprenticeship standards

The way that apprenticeships work is changing. We have a dedicated page on the new apprenticeship standards and funding systems. The plan is that the standards system will completely replace the frameworks system by 2020.

There will be a transitional phase where equivalent frameworks and standardswill run side-by-side as standards are embedded.This phase will end on 29 December 2017, when the framework will switch off and be completely replaced by the new standards.


Apprenticeships have lots of benefits.

88% of employers who hire apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce (source: National Apprenticeship Service). 

You can create and manage tailored apprenticeship programmes to meet the needs of your business.

They are a cost effective and low risk way for you to grow your workforce and help improve the recruitment and retention of staff.   

For apprentices, it gives them a chance to gain work experience, achieve nationally recognised qualifications and earn a wage.

Download the report we did looking at the return on investment of adult social care apprenticeships.

Take a look at these real life case studies.

We design the apprenticeship framework for those working in social care.

There are currently three levels of apprenticeships available.

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care - level 2
  • Advanced Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care - level 3
  • Higher Apprenticeship in Care Leadership and Management - level 5

The system of apprenticeships is changing in England and new standards are being introduced. 


Funding for apprenticeships is available to learning providers from the Skills Funding Agency. We have more information on our Apprenticeship Funding Systems page

Our Workforce Development Fund (WDF) can be used by employers to help fund the delivery of apprenticeships in adult social care.

These role profiles are designed to provide guidance to support employers to understand how the Health and Social Care Diploma can be used to meet the emerging needs of integrated roles.

In order to produce these documents, Skills for Care has spoken to a number of employers and reviewed a small number of job descriptions currently being used. These roles are developing and evolving at pace and in most cases are being designed at local level to meet local needs. Therefore these documents will be refreshed regularly as more information and intelligence is gathered.

Skills for Care fully acknowledges the variances and differences between jobs, job titles and job descriptions and therefore the documents below are merely a starting point to reflect the learning to date.

The purpose of this document is to aid employers in understanding how the Health and Social Care Diploma can support the learning requirements of a worker in this type of role. 

Learning profile: Extended care worker

Learning profile: Coordinator roles

Learning profile: Reablement worker

Learning profile: Navigator roles


A traineeship is designed to provide young people with the skills and work experience they need to find employment in the care sector or to progress onto an apprenticeship.

They provide an education and training programme which focuses on the needs of the employer.  

They are targeted at 16 – 23 year olds who are unemployed. Young people up to the age of 25 with learning difficulties in academic assessments can also complete a traineeship.

For more information on traineeships please visit the .gov website

Tell us your thoughts on social care traineeships

We’re looking to understand the relevance and value of traineeships in adult social care.

A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that unlocks the great potential of young people, aged 16 to 24, ensuring they are ‘work ready’. At the core of traineeships are high-quality work experience placements, work preparation training, and English and maths teaching and qualifications if needed. The ultimate aim is to give young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for, helping them secure an apprenticeship or other job in the future. Trainees are not paid, and there is no cost to the employer apart from time.

If you’re an adult social care employer please complete our survey to give us your thoughts on traineeships. Your feedback will help us to shape the support we can provide you. The survey closes on Friday 21 July at 5pm.


We issue apprenticeship completion certificates through the Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE) system.

This is on behalf of Skills for Care and Development (ACE certification body).

We certificate for the:

  • Higher Apprenticeship in Care Leadership and Management (level 5)
  • social care pathway at intermediate and advanced level of the joint health and social care (England) framework
  • the children and young people’s workforce (England) framework

Apprenticeship completion certificate guide

We also have a useful frequently asked questions (FAQs) which can help with any enquiries you have.

In September 2013 Skills for Care embarked on the Career progression in care project. This project was based on evidence that apprenticeships boost productivity by enabling businesses to grow their skills base.

We worked with several small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across all the sub sectors of the adult social care (ASC) sector. A result of this was the report below and some very positive case studies which you can also download from the list below. 

Summary of findings

Since the Progression Project commenced the SMEs have started 342 apprentices, this was a significant overachievement of the project target of 105 apprenticeship starts over the lifetime of the project.


Case studies

From this project we have some great examples of how some SMEs have implemented a successful apprenticeship programme into their organisation. Our new case studies can help you see how they did it and can help you if you are an employer interested in hiring apprentices.


Loading Icon

Please wait... logging you in.