Apprenticeship Framework Components

The big picture.

An apprenticeship is made up of several qualifications and elements. This section outlines the main areas within an apprenticeship.

Knowledge Based Qualification (KBQ)

Certificates that prove you’re in the know.

Some apprenticeships will include an individual KBQ (also known as a Technical Certificate or a Technical Knowledge Qualification). This includes all of the theory and knowledge required for the relevant job role.

Competence Based Qualification (CBQ)

Putting it all into practice.

To ensure an apprentice is competent within their field or job role, an assessment is carried out both at the centre and in the workplace. This qualification ensures learners have the skills to do the job.

Combined Qualification (CQ)

One stop shop.

Some apprenticeship frameworks have a CQ, which includes both knowledge based and competence based elements, and covers the requirements of both the CBQ and the KBQ.

Functional Skills

Getting the basics right.

To maintain our high standards we’ve set some minimum requirements. The minimum requirement for Functional Skills in apprenticeships is English and maths at Level 1 for Intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeships and Level 2 for an advanced (Level 3) apprenticeship. For some programmes, completion of an ICT Functional Skills qualification at an intermediate or advanced level may also be required.

Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)

Know your rights.

It’s important that ERR training empowers apprentices to understand employer and employee rights and responsibilities under Employment Law, and how employment rights can be affected by other legislation. The knowledge or competence area of the framework can cover this subject but sometimes there’s a specific qualification within the NCFE apprenticeship as well. 

ERR is available via workbooks from the relevant Sector Skills Council or Standard Setting Body.

Additional Employer Requirements (AER)

More strings to your bow.

Depending on where an apprentice is going to work they might need to learn some extra skills. These qualifications aren’t funded and usually cover training that’s specific to the area of work, eg first aid or health and safety.

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

See the targets. Then reach them.

Providing apprentices with the opportunity to continually learn and grow in confidence is integral to every part of our apprenticeship programmes. That’s why each apprentice is assessed on a list of Personal Learning and Thinking Skills. Goals are set based around the skills needed for success and learning in life. Many of our qualifications are already mapped to the 6 PLTS.

The 6 PLTS are:

  • Independent enquirers
  • Reflective learners
  • Self managers
  • Creative thinkers
  • Team workers
  • Effective participants.

For more information simply read the individual sector framework documents at