Apprenticeships explained

Apprenticeships, a brave new world

As of January 2016 a wave of fresh and exciting apprenticeships will be released in England. 

These programmes have been painstakingly developed to ensure they meet the needs of 21st century businesses and their apprentices.

Below you will find more information about these new apprenticeships:

What is different about them?

Written by teams of commercial employers - both large and small - and supported by sector experts…

…these new apprenticeships are based on standards. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), commissioned this raft of new apprenticeships to ensure that our apprentices emerge with the skills, knowledge and behaviours to drive today’s businesses forward.

Currently, only certain occupations have been selected to be re-developed, although new standards for other occupations are being released all the time.

Key differences:

Who have they been designed for and why?

Designed only for English apprentices, they have been developed to bring the best new talent into our industries…

…with the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to ensure individuals, businesses and sectors will thrive. 

Which occupations are covered?

Eventually all occupations will be covered, the aim is to have these live by 2017…

…but to get started BIS identified a number of key occupations which would become the focus of standards development. To see which occupations are now live and offered by FDQ, please review our portfolio of apprenticeships.

What do the new apprenticeships include?

Each apprenticeship differs in terms of what it can include, this is because each sector is different in terms of the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need…

…however, apprenticeships usually include/require:

To identify exactly what the apprenticeship you are interested in can include, please view the individual apprenticeship standards documents available.

When will delivery begin?

It is expected that the new apprenticeships will start being delivered in January 2016…

…please watch this space for updates. To prepare your business for delivery, please contact fdq today via: and a member of the team will get in touch.

It is envisaged that most of the migration from current apprenticeship frameworks to new trailblazer standards will be complete by 2017/18.

How and where are they assessed?

Apprentices going through the new programmes will be subject to end-point assessment in all cases…

…to reduce disruption to an apprentice’s working day it is possible to undertake assessment sessions at an identified business location as well as at any one of our approved End-Point Assessment centres.

End-point assessment requirements vary for each apprenticeship; details of the specific requirements are available on the apprenticeship standard pages along with grading criteria information.

FDQ has developed an innovative and flexible end-point assessment system, to ensure a streamlined service for our centres. 

Are the new apprenticeships funded?

All new apprenticeships in England are funded...

...funding is via the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), to find out more about how the new standards are funded and to register for funding, please click here.

What next?

All employers and learning providers who want to get started with delivering these new apprenticeships…

…can contact FDQ today to find our more, we are waiting for your call, if, however, you would rather read more about ‘next steps’ before you speak to someone in our team, please click here.

How can you help your apprentice succeed? See our new guide below!


Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship boosts PepsiCo’s Apprenticeship Programme


Food manufacturing giant and FDQ end-point assessment customer, PepsiCo, are embracing the FDPO apprenticeship to enhance and standardise their training across their Walkers Crisps production sites.

Over fifty apprentices have successfully completed their FDQ end-point assessment (EPA) and PepsiCo now have around 275 apprentices on programmes throughout the UK.

Mandy Reader, Organisational Capability Manager, UK and Ireland, explains how the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship fits into their ‘Grow our Own’ strategy,

“We have a four-stage technical pipeline and our aim is to develop our own technical talent from entry level, General Support Operators. The FDPO apprenticeship enabled us to map our training needs into a nationally accredited qualification. This makes it a much more attractive prospect for potential candidates. They can see that there’s a career path open to them if they work hard. For some it’s the first time they’ve ever achieved a qualification.”

With over 1500 applicants for less than 100 vacancies recently, their approach looks to be working.

End-point assessment a game changer!

Managing a multi-site apprenticeship programme requires significant resource, according to Reader. In her view, key to PepsiCo’s success is the three-way partnership between FDQ, as their EPA partner, PepsiCo, and CQM, their training provider. EPA represents a game changer for everyone, says Reader,

“For business and apprentices, EPA provides independent verification that they have achieved a recognised industry standard, one developed by food manufacturers themselves. For us it’s vitally important to work with a food specialist EPA organisation. With high volumes of apprentices going through end-point assessment, having assessors with solid occupational experience combined with a dedicated EPA Manager is central to the success of the programme.”

The Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship is now firmly established as the entry level production qualification for PepsiCo’s UK businesses. It has resulted in what Reader believes are ‘Gold Standard’ General Operators. And she’s not the only advocate of their apprenticeship programme. PepsiCo won the Food Manufacture Training Award in 2018 and have recently been named as an East Midlands Regional Finalist in the Employer of the Year category of the 2019 National Apprenticeship Awards.

Find out more about the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship and end-point assessment here.

Read more

FAB 2019 Finalists


We’ve just heard that FDQ have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Awarding Organisation of the Year category at the Federation of Awarding Body (FAB) Awards 2019.

Read more

Food Manufacture talks to Terry Fennell


Respected trade title, Food Manufacture, recently approached our CEO on the subject of how apprenticeships can help attract people into the industry. We know the new apprenticeship standards, especially the food and drink processes operator apprenticeship could be game-changers for the industry. But is the message getting across? Read the full article here


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