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Open College Network West Midlands Centres: Lifetime learning for all

Apprenticeship Framework Explained

Apprenticeship frameworks can comprise the following components:

 1. Competency-based qualification

 This is a vocational qualification focusing on the skills required to do the job and is usually achieved through on-the-job training.

 2. Knowledge-based qualification

This is sometimes known as a ‘technical certificate’ and contains the knowledge required relating to the job role. This is sometimes achieved through on-the-job training at the same time as the competency-based qualification or may involve training sessions at a college or training provider.

3. Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

This may be completed as part of the competency or knowledge-based qualifications. The skills covered are:

  • Independent enquiry
  • Creative thinking
  • Reflective learning
  • Team working
  • Self-management
  • Effective participation 

4. Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)

This may be completed as part of the competency or knowledge-based qualification or through the completion of a separate workbook. It focuses on the rights and responsibilities of both the apprentice as an employee and their employer.

5. Functional Skills

These are qualifications in English, Maths and ICT (information and communication technology). ICT is not always required as it depends on the job role the apprentice holds. Refer to the individual apprenticeship framework to see if this applies.


All components of the apprenticeship framework must be completed in order for the apprentice to receive their certificate.

For more information about Apprenticeships please visit the governments Apprenticeship website at


Trailblazer Apprenticeships

The existing apprenticeship model is gradually being replaced by an employer lead reformed ‘Trailblazer’ model which is hoping to provide a simpler and more flexible approach.

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