Section 7

Employer approval, change of circumstances, and frequently-asked apprenticeship questions

Since apprenticeships are work-based learning programmes, it’s imperative that your employer can provide you with the necessary training to meet the objectives of your apprenticeship with particular reference to the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) as detailed in the IfATE apprenticeship standard. This means ensuring that you are not only in a suitable job, but that you will be employed in a relevant role for at least the duration of your apprenticeship by an employer who can provide you with the necessary experience. We therefore work with your employer to determine their suitability before asking you to apply. This is our Employer Approval process which is covered in the video.

We encourage apprentices to think carefully about whether they’re comfortable with the apprenticeship pathway they’re applying for, and whether it meets their career aspirations.  If you are unsure about any aspect of your pathway or would like to discuss your options in more detail, please do let us know and we can explore the opportunity of moving you to a more suitable apprenticeship before you start.

Changing employer or career pathway once the apprenticeship has started is not easy, and it’s never guaranteed. We will always do what we can to accommodate a change, but we do need to know as soon as possible. If you are contemplating a change, please do speak to your AOO (Apprenticeship Outcomes Officer) or log an enquiry on the VLE via Student Central as soon as possible.

More information about the types of changes you’ll need to make us aware of, as well as some of the options available, can be found in the Change in work or personal circumstances document at the bottom of the page.

Previously, we shared our new starters’ most frequently-asked questions with you. The FAQs below focus on queries directly related to apprenticeships.


Commonly asked questions from newly starting apprentices

How do I access my UCEM email address and/or VLE?

Once you have registered and completed the payment screen, you will be sent a new student email address via Office 365. Once this is registered your VLE log in details will be sent to the new student email address. You should receive this within 2-3 working days of registering if you have not studied with us before. If this has not been received in the specified timeframe, please contact

If you are a returning student, your VLE log in details and email will remain the same from your previous study with us, and you won’t receive a new email confirming the details.

When will I be contacted by my AOO, and who can I speak to in the meantime?

You will have an initial review with an AOO within 3-6 weeks of starting the programme. In the meantime, if you have any queries or questions, please contact our Student Engagement team via Student Central on the VLE or by calling 08000199697 option 2. The team are available between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

When will I receive access to my off-the-job training diary and what should I do in the meantime?

Your Apprenticeships Outcomes Officer (AOO) will provide this during the first 3-6 weeks of the apprenticeship, and they will explain it in more detail at your initial review meeting. In the meantime, please keep a record of the activity type, dates and times of any Off-The-Job training you complete. More information about this is available in Section 3 – Off-The-Job training and End Point Assessment.

Where do I find my modules?

All modules for the current semester will be accessible via your VLE, and content will be available from the week before the semester begins. If you are concerned that the information is incorrect, please contact our Student Engagement team via Student Central on the VLE or by calling 08000199697 option 2. The team are available between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

How many hours of study are expected each week?

Apprentices need to be committing to a minimum of 15-20 hours of academic study each week, which includes your time allowed for off-the-job training. Study hours begin from the first day of the semester.

What activity do I have to do on my first day, and how do I log this?

To evidence your start of learning, you’ll need to complete an hour’s academic study (not induction material) on the VLE on the first day of term.

How do I get student discounts?

Since apprentices don’t pay tuition fees, they may not be eligible for the same discounts as students who do pay fees – but there are still plenty of handy discounts available, if you register via the relevant sites using your student email address. At the time of writing, we are aware of Student Beans and NUS Apprentice Extra card who offer discount schemes for apprentice students. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for the content of external sites.

I have received an email from the ESFA and the information about my apprenticeship is incorrect. What should I do?

The ESFA contact all new starters on an apprenticeship, and the information in this communication is based on the generic apprenticeship standard – for example, if you’re on the Chartered Surveyor Degree apprenticeship, it will state that the duration is 60 months. This is the time permitted according to the standard, but none of our apprenticeships are that long. If you are completing the MSc degree apprenticeship, the programme duration will be much shorter than for the BSc degree apprenticeship. Please refer to your apprenticeship sign up documents for the information specific to your individual programme.