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What Are Flexible Apprenticeships?

Posted on 26 March, 2022


We’ve seen many changes in the world of work over recent years, much of which has been accelerated by the pandemic. Employers can no longer rely on a steady stream of job candidates, while today’s employees want to feel a sense of purpose in their work. They want to try new things, to upskill and reskill and to have their value recognised.

The good news is that apprenticeships are continually adapting to meet these shifting demands. In fact, a new flexible system being explored by the Government could unlock meaningful opportunities for both employers and apprentices in 2022.

Read on to find out more.

Introducing front-loading

Apprenticeships continue to play an invaluable role in helping to unlock stills quickly and to allow motivated staff to fast-track into positions where they can provide real value. However, the flexible working patterns currently under consideration by the Government could make this process even faster.

Among the options being explored is a new ‘front-loading’ approach where an apprentice receives intensive off-the-job training before they begin their formal responsibilities. Essentially, this would teach key skills and technical knowledge from the outset, while key behaviours and practical skills will continue to be embedded throughout the full apprenticeship programme.

For sectors struggling with staff shortages, such as hospitality, front-loaded training could prove invaluable in helping apprentices to hit the ground running and make a real contribution to their workplaces from the very start. For example, we’re currently facing a national shortage of chefs, but the time required to train someone through current methods isn’t quick enough to meet this demand.

Getting to know accelerated apprenticeships

There’s also the potential for new ‘accelerated apprenticeships’, which allow an employer to adjust the length of an apprenticeship for an individual who has existing relevant knowledge or skills. For instance, anyone new to hospitality who has a background in customer service is likely to already have some of the essential skills needed in our sector and wouldn’t need as deep a level of training in this area.

A shorter training programme is not only a more cost-effective approach for an employer, but would reduce the time an individual has to spend as an apprentice. However, it is also worth noting that the law requires an apprentice maintains their minimum programme time of 12 months.

Understanding flexi-job apprenticeships

Another training model to consider is flexi-job apprenticeships’, which are designed to ensure that sectors and occupations, where short-term contracts or other non-standard employment models are the norm, can access the benefits of apprenticeships too.

Embracing flexibility

With flexible apprenticeships, employers can look at what skills they need for their workforce now – and what they’re likely to need in the future – and choose a tailored approach.

For years, apprenticeships have made it easier for employers to unlock skills quickly and fast-track new recruits into positions where they can provide real value – while offering career longevity to the talented individuals they already rely on. Flexible apprenticeships will formalise this process and are set to bring big rewards to both hospitality businesses and their employees.

Feeling inspired? Get in contact with our friendly team today to find out more about how tailored training can work for your hospitality business.


It was great speaking to our account manager, Catherine, this afternoon and great to hear that HIT are being so supportive with our apprentices, I found the call very positive in a time of crisis, so thank you.

The Learner’s leaflet is great and being sent out to Apprentices and Line Managers following our communication last week providing a great follow up.

Jonathan Foot - Head of Apprenticeships, Compass Group

McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

HIT Training has provided such an incredible support to us during lockdown, with regular webinar invitations, videocalls and engagement solutions. Our business focus shifted to learning and development and we managed to enrol 3 times more apprentices on training programmes than before!

Anastasia Talatzidou -L&D Manager, Gaucho


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