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Covid Update

On Tuesday 29 March, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, set out the next steps for living with COVID-19 in England from Friday 1 April.

Updated guidance advises:

  • Adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and no longer have a high temperature.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can return to college when they no longer have a high temperature, and are well enough to attend.
  • Adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice is 3 days.

For education and childcare settings from Friday 1 April:

  • Regular asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended in any education or childcare setting, including in SEND, alternative provision and children’s social care settings. Therefore, we will no longer be able to order test kits .


THANK YOU! Over £15000 raised for the British Red Cross to help families and communities in Ukraine - smashing our £10k target. Money raised so far



Apprenticeships add real value to businesses. Engaging in apprenticeships is the best way to mould your next generation of staff to your business needs.


Apprenticeships add real value to businesses. Engaging in apprenticeships is the best way to mould your next generation of staff to your business needs. Apprenticeship Standards are written by employers, to ensure they develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours required in the workplace. Apprenticeships are also a great way of upskilling your existing staff as well as new recruits.

Apprenticeship Offers

Explore Our Programmes


At SGS we recruit over 600 apprentices a year for our employers. We have an in-depth recruitment and selection process to ensure we only shortlist candidates with a great fit to the employers’ requirements. The employer then makes the final selection. At 90% retention, this out-performs most paid-for recruitment services.


Apprenticeship Funding and Incentives

Whilst employers cover the employment costs for their apprentices, there is funding available to support the training costs and there is also a number of employer incentives to encourage take up of apprenticeships.

All employers with a payroll over £3m already pay the apprenticeship levy, at 0.5% of their payroll. The levy funds can only be used on apprenticeship training, otherwise they are returned to the treasury after 24 months. For many levy-paying employers, the levy funds have become their training-and-recruitment fund and engaging in apprenticeships is the only way to recoup the benefits of their levy investment.

For employers who do not pay the levy (all employers with a payroll under £3m per year) the cost of training an apprentice is 95% funded by the government, with the employer only contributing 5% of the training costs.

Employer Incentives

The government provide a range of incentives to encourage employers to engage in the apprenticeship programme.

  • Employers do not make any National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25.
  • Employers with apprentices aged 16-18 at the start of their apprenticeship will receive a £1000 incentive for doing so, with £500 paid at 3 months and £500 at 12 months (assuming the apprentice remains on programme).
  • For smaller employers, with under 50 employees, the government will pay 100% of training costs for 16-18 year old apprentices, and no employer contribution is required.
Go to Funding & Incentives Page


Your Apprenticeship Journey

We will appoint an account manager to support your business with apprenticeships. The account manager will arrange a visit to explain the process, establish your training and recruitment needs, and go through all the details, costs and incentives. We will carry out a skills-scan to identify the apprenticeship programme that provides the best fit with your training requirements.

If required, we will then advertise your apprenticeship vacancy on the national recruitment site for a minimum of 2 weeks.

All applicants who meet your criteria will be invited for a college interview. We will ensure they have understood the job role, that they are a suitable fit for your business and we will screen for basic skills. We will then send you a shortlist of applicants for your final selection.

Once your apprentice starts employment, the college assessor will arrange a start-up meeting with the apprentice and the workplace supervisor to map out the training and assessment programme. The assessor will also plan review meetings every 12 weeks to ensure the apprentice remains on track to succeed. The assessor will be your key contact for all issues relating to training and the account manager will continue to support your business through the entire journey.

Types of Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are available at levels 2, 3, 4 and Higher. A level 2 apprenticeship will normally fit an entry-level role within the workplace.

Apprenticeship Standards

Apprenticeship Standards have replaced Frameworks. Designed for a particular vocational area by a representative group of employers, Standards define the knowledge, skills and behaviours that an apprentice must meet to achieve their apprenticeship. The apprentice also has to meet minimum standards in maths and English.

Standards involve an independent End Point Assessment process, and the outcome is graded pass, merit or distinction.

Apprenticeship Duration

All Apprenticeships last a minimum of 12 months, many take longer. Typically, a level 3 Apprenticeship will take 18 – 24 months. Some technical apprenticeships take significantly longer. A level 3 in a Construction trade can take 3 years.

The 20% Off-the-Job

All apprentices are required to spend a minimum of 20% of their employment hours in off the job training. Some of this will be their time at college and in one-to-one training with their assessor in the workplace. There is also lots of training in the workplace relating to the apprenticeship that can contribute to the 20% off the job, such as:

  • Health and safety training
  • Employer induction programme
  • Learning about new equipment, systems or processes
  • Learning new IT systems
  • Shadowing
  • Mentoring
  • Industry visits
  • Time spent within a supply chain or different department

It is permissible for some of the off the job training to take place within a live environment. Provided the activity is teaching new skills, knowledge and behaviours that are related to the apprenticeship it will contribute to the off-the-job requirement.


Smart Assessor

Smart Assessor is an electronic collection of a learner’s skills and knowledge, which is assessed by their tutor against a training standard or qualification and replaces paper portfolios.

Learn More About Smart Assessor Login
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Covid Update