Higher Apprenticeships

The Higher Apprenticeship involves apprentices studying for a Foundation Degree or BTEC qualification while improving their skills through vital on the job training 

The Higher Apprenticeship was developed in response to requests from the construction industry employers and can be achieved through three bespoke pathways.

  • Apprentices can gain a newly developed Level 4 NVQ in Construction and Building Services Management and Supervision (Sustainability) supported by a Higher National Certificate (HNC) (currently delivered by University of Greenwich).
  • A Level 5 Foundation degree in Professional Practice in Construction Operations Management (currently delivered by Middlesex University)
  • A level 5 NVQ in Construction Operations Management (Sustainability) supported by a Higher National Diploma (HND) (delivered by Leeds College of Building)

Benefits to your business

The Higher Apprenticeship scheme allows businesses to turn their most promising employees in to construction operations managers.

Improving the skills that employees have makes them more productive, less likely to make mistakes and more loyal to you and your business. The mix of workplace and classroom/online teaching also ensures they get a clear picture of how their new skills help their employers. 

Grant funding

Fees will differ depending on which college you want to work with, although they can be offset by a CITB grant of up to £1,750 for each year of study. An additional £400 can be claimed when after the apprentice completes their Higher Apprenticeship.

Full details of available grants from CITB can be found in our Levy & Grant section.

In addition, employers who have never taken on an apprentice (or have been unable to in the past 12 months) may be eligible for a further £1,500 from the National Apprenticeship Service.

Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship

The Higher Level Apprenticeship at Level 4 in Construction and Building Services Management and Supervision (Sustainability) has been developed to meet the needs of the building services sector who work across a broad range of areas and is designed to assess occupational competence in the workplace and demonstrate knowledge and understanding through the technical certificate.

The introduction of the Higher Level 4 Apprenticeship will address the following:

  • Provide progression onto Level 5 and above
  • Allow entry onto degree programmes
  • Assist retention and provide a pathway for experienced workers
  • Improving supervisory, management and leadership skills
  • Higher (Level 4) is specifically designed to meet the needs of candidates who have gained Level 3 qualifications (Advanced Apprenticeship) or those with appropriate prior experience of work in the sector. As a consequence the qualification is not suitable for younger (pre18) learners.

Details of the Apprenticeship can be found at www.afo.sscalliance.org  or at SusCon Part of Business Services at North West Kent College.

Foundation Degree

The Foundation Degree that apprentices will achieve was approved by CITB as meeting the needs of the construction industry, giving them the knowledge and practical skills that UK businesses require and can use.

The degree is currently offered by Middlesex University and delivered by local Further Education (FE) colleges, although it is hoped that other universities may offer the course in the near future.

All the colleges involved have well regarded construction departments and have been delivering construction NVQs, HNC/Ds, Foundation degrees and Honours degrees for many years.

Apprenticeship Agreement and Mentoring

You  will be required to enter into an Apprenticeship Agreement with their apprentice, stating that they will be doing an apprenticeship in a particular skill, trade or occupation. An employer’s main responsibilities will be to offer support and make sure their apprentices get opportunities to learn through work.

Apprentices have to be given the chance to work at a higher level than they would normally do, under the supervision of a manager. This might include letting them attend meetings with more senior staff, or allowing them to help solve more difficult problems at work.

Employers also need to appoint an existing member of staff as a Workplace Mentor for their apprentice. They will offer personal support to the apprentice and act as the bridge between the business and the college/training provider.

The Mentor will need to be appropriately qualified, with significant experience and an interest in staff development.

Further information on the Higher Apprenticeship Foundation Degree is available by emailing: higher-apprenticeships@mdx.ac.uk

BTEC Higher Apprenticeship

The Sustainable Built Environment Higher Apprenticeship, provided by Leeds College of Building, covers a variety of disciplines; including architecture, surveying, planning, maintenance, construction management, building services or civil engineering.

Apprentices will have the opportunity to apply critical reasoning and analysis techniques to solve built environment and engineering problems, using industry standards, appropriate codes of practice and work-based evidence; developing personal and business skills, which will enable apprentices to contribute to the demands of a professional environment.


All BTEC Higher Apprenticeship frameworks comprise a knowledge and competence component, backed up by transferable skills (English, maths and ICT), Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) and Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR).

There are three pathways available so you can specialise in Construction & the Built Environment, Building Services Engineering or Civil Engineering. The minimum course length is 18-month with HNC (one year for HND/18 months for NVQ).

Further information on the BTEC Higher Apprenticeship is available by emailing: secarter@lcb.ac.uk

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