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Apprenticeships, Professional Development and Training Jargon Index

Confused about the jargon, terms and official names of services in the world of apprenticeships and training? On this page we’ve endeavoured to explain the meaning of many common terms. 

Think there’s something we’ve missed out? Let us know. Contact us here.


An apprenticeship is where a learner is employed by a company to work whilst studying towards earning a qualification. Apprenticeships are a government backed scheme and are provided by approved training providers. Employers must work with a training provider to choose an apprenticeship framework. 

Apprentices can be any age from 16+, and can study qualifications from a Level 2 (GCSE) to a Level 7 (Master’s Degree). Most businesses will fund apprenticeships through the Apprenticeships Levy or by government funding. For businesses who don’t pay the levy, the government will usually fund around 95% of the training fees for apprenticeships, with the business covering the final 5%.

Apprenticeships Levy

The Apprenticeships Levy is a government enforced tax on businesses who pay more than £3 million a year on payroll. They are charged 0.5% of their total payroll bill, and this is paid through PAYE to HMRC. 

The funds paid through the Apprenticeships Levy then sit in a pot for a maximum of 24 months, where they can be accessed to fund apprenticeship training. 

The government will top up a businesses Apprenticeships Levy pot by 10% after each monthly contribution. Levy payers can also transfer up to 25% of their funds to non-levy payers within their supply chain to help smaller businesses benefit.

Back-To-Work Courses

If you’re unemployed but you’d like to advance your skills, you can take a back-to-work course. These courses are usually government funded, and will often count towards your work with the Job Centre. Completing a back-to-work course shows you are pro-active and can help fill a gap in your CV whilst you can’t find work. 

Back-to-work courses often teach employable skills like digital skills, or offer you a change to get an important licence like an FLT licence. Because of this, they are usually completely free to you and the Job Centre may even help to cover your travel expenses to attend one.

Commercial Courses

Commercial courses are training programs designed for businesses and their employees. A business might hire an external training provider to come in and run a commercial course. 

These courses often teach relevant industry qualifications that are essential for safety, wellbeing and legal requirements. Examples include First Aid, Risk Assessment, COSHH and Mental Health.

End Point Assessment

An End Point Assessment, or EPA, is the find assessment your apprentice will undertake as they reach the end of their apprenticeship. A tutor will carry out an End Point Assessment – they must do so in a way that is impartial and objective. 

The goal of the assessment is to find out where the apprentice’s current understanding and expertise of the subject sits at, by analysing their knowledge, skills and behaviours.

An End Point Assessment may involve observing the apprentice in their usual job role. Tutors will also often ask questions related to the role, which may be recorded. Apprentices may also sometimes be recorded demonstrating their ability with a certain skill. These recordings are proof which can be provided to an assessor for the qualification. 


OFSTED stands for the ‘Office for Standards in Education’. It is a department of the UK government which is responsible for inspecting and reporting on educational institutions. 

You may have heard of OFSTED assessing a nursery, primary school or high school, but they are also responsible for higher education institutes such as apprenticeship training providers. 

Training Provider

A training provider is a company that offers training courses and qualifications. They’ll help a business set up training for their staff or often help businesses search for and hire an apprentice. They employ tutors who will deliver courses or apprenticeship standards.

If you are hiring an apprentice, you’ll need to use a government approved training provider, to ensure they’re delivering qualifications to the correct specifications.

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