4 min read

Apprenticeships: The Perfect Way of Closing the Skills Gaps?

By Oliver Simpson on Nov 15, 2022 1:15:00 PM

The looming and ever-growing skills gaps are a worry for businesses across the globe. As global talent shortages continue and the expectations of employees increase, recruiting and retaining the right talent to plug skills gaps can be difficult.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Skills Gap
3 min read

Why Become Employee Owned?

By Katie Downing-Howitt on Jun 25, 2021 7:30:00 AM

If you’ve seen us mentioned in Business Live, Insider Media and other regional publications, Ascento has now become employee owned and operates for the benefit of the employees of the company, allowing all employees to share in its success and ensure the long term future of the business.  

As it's Employee Ownership Day, we thought it was time to comment on why we made this decision. Outgoing Founder and Managing Director Chris Ash, says “I have been really excited to step aside as the sole owner of the company and cannot wait for the whole team to share in the next exciting stage of our journey. 

Becoming employee owned means we are stronger together, means that we can all share in our successes and the culture will continue to strive through a collective spirit and drive.”

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Digital Marketing Accelerating your career
6 min read

The New Apprenticeship Roadmap

By Helen Abbott on Jun 19, 2021 10:40:36 AM

The Importance of the new Apprenticeship Roadmap

The road to a quality apprenticeship has been released as a new guide. Its goal is to assist employers in comprehending the stages required in providing high-quality, successful apprenticeships in their organisations.

The guide provides employers with links to information and tools at various phases of an apprenticeship journey to assist them in ensuring a quality experience for their apprentices, thereby increasing retention, achievement, and, as a result, the returns that apprentices provide. The guide is a step-by-step guide for employers of all sizes. We can also utilise this to better understand the role of employers in the apprenticeship process.

Similar guides for end-point assessment organisations and trainees will follow the road to an excellent apprenticeship. They highlight the collaborative approach required in delivering apprenticeships, together with the provider guide to delivering high-quality apprenticeships.

What is the Apprenticeship Roadmap? 

Business Needs

Initially it is important to understand the added benefits of having apprenticeships within your business. It is always good to research what is out there and to understand how apprenticeships have benefitted other similar organisations.

Recruiting an apprentice is a cost-effective and efficient strategy to develop talent and a motivated, talented, and qualified workforce.
  • Apprenticeships helped 86 percent of employers build skills that were relevant to their business.
  • Apprenticeships helped 78 percent of firms increase productivity.
  • Apprenticeships assisted 74 percent of firms increase the quality of their product or service.

The Candidate

It is important to reach and recruit from the largest pool of candidates, whilst fully understand the commitment required to have an apprenticeship on board and comprehending any additional support needs.

The government offer support in recruiting from helping you create an apprenticeship service account, to helping you locate an apprenticeship training course and a training provider with the help of find apprenticeship training as well as supporting you recruiting an apprentice to establish your own apprenticeship opportunity. They will also post your apprenticeship position on find an apprenticeship if you make one.

You have control over the recruiting process through out and for more information here.

Funding and Employer Responsibilities

Understanding what funding is available to employers and knowing what are the responsibilities when employing an apprentice is really important to everyone involved.

The government may be able to assist you in paying for apprenticeship training. Whether or not you pay the apprenticeship levy determines the amount you receive. If you have a pay bill of less than £3 million per year, you will need to contribute 5% to the cost of the apprenticeship with the remaining 95% being funded by the government. To find out more, refer to here which covers England and rest of the UK through the links shown.

The Job

Any job within your organisation needs to be fully planned in and supported. You need to ensure that your apprentice can spend at least 20% of their time as off-the-job training.

Your apprentice will receive two sorts of training during their apprenticeship. During your apprentice's usual working hours, a training provider provides "off-the-job" instruction. This programme will teach your apprentice the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to acquire occupational competence as outlined in the apprenticeship standard. 

You, as the employer, will provide ‘on-the-job' training. To help your apprentice accomplish the task you've recruited them for, you'll need to provide training and supervision.

Training and Assessment Provider

You need to find the right training provider that you feel confident in working with. It is critical to select a training provider that is appropriate for your company. You need to consider how well they communicate about the training with you, what other companies have to say about them and what their apprentices have to say about them. 

You will need to negotiate on the price of the apprenticeship with them and ensure that you carry out an initial assessment prior to learning commencement.

Commitment Statement

Employer must sign a commitment statement with their apprentice and training provider before they begin their learning and training. The following items must be included in the commitment statement:

  • the planned content and schedule for training
  • what is expected and offered by the employer, the training provider and the apprentice
  • how to resolve queries or complaints

Mentoring and Training

Two of the main questions that need addressing on this roadmap about Mentoring and Training are:-

  • Have you noted and tracked apprentice development throughout the process to ensure they are on track?
  • Is your apprentice receiving the right career guidance, mentoring and learner support to ensure success?

Mentoring and Training are so important to your organisation and you need to find the right training provider who will preferably work in line with your strategies, priorities and fulfil your main requirements. The best providers will work in partnership with employers to ensure the programmes we deliver to their staff are tailored to meet their requirements. 

End Point Assessment

End-point assessment (EPA) is a test of your apprentice's knowledge, abilities, and behaviours over the course of their apprenticeship, confirming that they are occupationally competent.

Employers in the sector created the assessments, which are carried out by independent agencies known as end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs).


Many organisations consider joining the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network. Through their own employees, they show a strong commitment to apprenticeships and/or traineeships. They have a strong profile in their industry or region, and they represent a wide range of occupations.

Moreover, every year the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers are announced and your business can also enter the National Apprenticeship Awards.


Once the apprenticeship is over, you need to consider what happens next and what merits come from completing their apprenticeship, this might be a promotion, a higher income, or the opportunity to specialise further in their chosen subject to enhance their career further.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Digital Marketing Accelerating your career
3 min read


By Oliver Simpson on Apr 9, 2021 4:04:10 PM

'A Plan for Jobs’ Extended

Following on from the recent Government Budget 2021, it was announced that extra money was available for the apprentice cohort from April 2021 onwards on top of the total package of support amounting to £30 billion made last year. As part of the economic response to coronavirus, the government launched ‘A Plan for Jobs’ and subsequently, this has been extended out with further incentives for employers also.

As we have seen in our working lives, the pandemic has accelerated the switch to Digital by 4-6 years as noted by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and remote working “Zoom like” meetings are now the new-norm.

With Digital and Management skill gaps being discussed in many media forums, now is the time to take a look at apprenticeships that are vocationally aligned with industry and their employees, to positively impact job roles and workplaces in the UK.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Digital Marketing Accelerating your career
3 min read

Ofsted REPORT Praises Ascento

By Katie Downing-Howitt on Apr 1, 2021 2:28:53 PM

The hard work of leaders, tutors and staff at Ascento Learning and Development has been recognised within a recent report following on from our recent progress monitoring visit from Ofsted.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Digital Marketing Accelerating your career
3 min read

Why now is the right time to train and develop your staff

By Oliver Simpson on Nov 18, 2020 12:00:00 PM

As we find ourselves in the middle of the second national lockdown in 8 months and with countless industries and whole sectors being on the brink of collapse, the subject of training and developing staff is understandably not at the top of anybody’s to do list at this juncture.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Digital Marketing Accelerating your career
3 min read

Top 10 Tips for Working From Home

By Oliver Simpson on Nov 16, 2020 5:15:00 PM

1. Have a dedicated workspace

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Digital Marketing Accelerating your career
1 min read

The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant & How to Claim It...

By Oliver Simpson on Oct 8, 2020 12:33:55 PM

As part of the economic response to coronavirus, the government has launched ‘A Plan for Jobs 2020’ with a total package of support amounting to £30 billion being made available. Part of this support package was the announcement that the government were “going to pay employers to create new apprenticeships”.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy
5 min read

Top Tips For Business Survival & Growth In A Time Of Crisis

By Chris Ash on Apr 22, 2020 9:30:00 AM


Last week I explored the first set of strategies to positively impact your business during a time of crisis. As the COVID-19 crisis moves on, you should hopefully now have a toolkit designed for short-term survival.

In this blog we will move onto exploring the offensive strategies designed to help your business survive and ultimately grow.

An offensive approach – is about planning for longer term survival and essentially adopts a promotion-based approach, with positive moves that aim to provide upside benefits.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy Leadership & Management Accelerating your career
2 min read

A brief summary of the Apprenticeship Levy

By Oliver Simpson on Oct 4, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Welcome to the final post in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. Since its launch over two years ago in April 2017, the Levy has had a profound impact on individuals and businesses up and down the country.

Topics: Apprenticeship Levy