As one of the largest employers in Portsmouth, the council recognises that it has a key role to play in setting an example by offering a wide range of apprenticeships,  establishing good practices and encouraging our staff to develop and grow.  

Our apprenticeships provide an opportunity for us to develop our workforce and provide employment and training opportunities for people in our community. Apprenticeships have helped us attract new talent into the workforce, enhancing diversity and innovation and aiding succession planning.

Portsmouth City Council is committed to developing and supporting apprenticeships. With the apprenticeship levy being introduced in April 2017 and the public sector apprenticeship target, we need to continue to recruit fresh talent into the workplace as well as looking at career pathway opportunities for existing staff.

If you have any questions about apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy, please contact or call 023 9286 8236

Apprenticeships - aspire - learn - grow

Apprenticeships are a good way to gain the skills and experience needed to get into many careers. They combine work, training, and study, letting you earn while you learn.

There is a wide range of apprenticeships for over 1,500 job roles, giving people the opportunity to enter careers in anything from engineering and boat building, to veterinary nursing and accountancy.


You'll need to be over 16 years old, and show you have the ability to complete the programme.


An apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme. Through the apprenticeship, apprentices gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills they need for their immediate job and future career. The apprentice gains this through a wide mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the job training and the opportunity to practise new skills in a real work environment.  An apprenticeship has to be a minimum of one year and can take up to five years to complete.


Depending on your skills and qualifications, there are four different levels available:

  • Intermediate (Level 2) — generally considered to be the same level as five GCSE passes/standard grades/National 4s and 5s
  • Advanced (Level 3) — generally considered being the same level as two A levels/Highers
  • Higher/technical (Levels 4 to 7) — can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree
  • Degree/graduate-level (Levels 5 to 7) — these are new and enable apprentices to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship

From April 2017 Portsmouth City Council will be subject to the government's new apprenticeship levy.  If you have any questions regarding the levy or the public sector target, please read the FAQs at the bottom of this section, contact or call 023 9286 8236


Why are the government introducing the apprenticeship levy? 

The levy is being introduced to fund a step change in the number and quality of apprenticeships, delivering on a commitment that there will be three million additional apprenticeship starts by 2020. 

The levy will ensure that apprenticeships have secured funding, and that they help improve the technical and professional skills of the workforce and increase productivity.


What is the apprenticeships levy?     

The levy applies to all employers, including the council, with a pay bill of over £3 million per year. A levy (0.5% of an employer’s pay bill) will be collected monthly via PAYE by HMRC. All employers will have an allowance of £15,000, which means that the levy is only applicable on pay bill over £3million.


What happens to the money once it is paid under the levy?

The money will be collected by HMRC. Individual employers’ funding for apprenticeship training in England will then be made available to them via a new Apprenticeship Service account, through which employers will be able to pay for training for apprentices. The service will also support employers to identify a training provider, choose an apprenticeship training course and find a candidate.


Will employers only be able to spend their levy money on apprentices?         

Yes. Specifically, employers will be able to use their funding, up to a cap which will depend upon the standard or framework that is being trained against, to cover the costs of an apprentice’s training, including English and maths, assessment and certification. Currently these costs are eligible for government funding under the trailblazer standards and you can find more detail about this in the FAQs below.

The levy cannot be used to cover the salary costs of an apprentice. 


What happens if the levy money if unspent?         

The employer will have 24 months to spend the levy funds. If an employer does not spend their levy funds by this point then the unspent portion will be returned to the government and made available to other employers who are investing in apprenticeship training.


Exemptions and public sector target?

There will be no exemptions. All public sector employers with a pay bill over £3 million will pay the apprenticeship levy. To ensure that it does, the government will set the target that 2.3% of the workforce of all public sector bodies will be apprentices. 

The levy can only be used to fund the approved qualifications attached to an apprenticeship. The range of programmes on offer is broad with new apprenticeship being released all the time. Changes to the funding rules means that age or previous qualifications will no longer be a barrier to accessing apprenticeship funding.


This means we have an opportunity to develop our existing staff, whatever their age, experience or seniority. Apprenticeships provide a great way to combine work with study either by developing new skills in your current role or training for a new role that requires you to up skill and take on additional responsibilities.


Although these will be considered apprenticeships it will not affect salary, contract of employment or employment status.


This provides a fantastic opportunity for staff to progress along their chosen career pathway and the range of standards available is vast ranging from level 2 (GCSEs) to level 7 (degree).

As a public sector body Portsmouth City Council need to comply with Public Contracts Regulation 2015 when selecting a training provider to be able to deliver these programmes for us.  Since May 2017 the Apprenticeship Team have commissioned over 10 training providers to deliver a wide range of apprenticeship programmes.


To find out what is available please look at the Apprenticeship Training Directory under "documents". 


Please be aware that there is eligibility criteria that staff will need to meet to be accepted on a programme, this will be looked at on an individual basis.  If you are interested in taking part in a programme please discuss with your manager. Once discussed please view the step by step guide under "documents" and complete the Internal Application form.


If there are no programmes applicable to your area of work please look at the "find apprenticeship training" link.  If you find a suitable programme please contact the Apprenticeship team and they can look to procure a training provider for you.


If you have any questions please check the FAQs before contacting the Apprenticeship Team. 


T: 023 9268 8236

Please enter your qualification onto HR self-serve and follow the instructions.  If you work for Adults or Children's Social Care under NMDS it is mandatory for you to complete your qualifications. Please speak to your manager for further information.


If you are unsure what level your qualification is please see the information under 'documents' below, if you are still unsure you can email your qualifications awarding body and they should be able to confirm.

Portsmouth City Council can provide opportunities to help and support people entering the workforce by offering work placements across all areas of the council.  This experience can be both beneficial to the individuals and to the team participating.


It is the responsibility of the team supporting the work placement to communicate with the person and ensure all the required forms are completed.  The work placement team can provide advice and support to enable teams to successfully and safely take on work placements, keeping within the guidelines set by government.


All the forms are listed below along with FAQs.  If you have any questions please contact



  • FAQs
  • Managers checklist
  • Risk Assessment
  • Non PCC IT form
  • Confidentiality & Data Protection
  • Code of Practice 


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