Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

An organisation owned and run by all licensed UK Sector Skills Councils which acts as their collective voice to promote understanding of the skills system, coordinate policy and build capability in the network.

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Blueprint (Apprenticeship)

The non statutory specification for apprenticeships in England and Wales which has been replaced by the SASE/SASW.

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Competencies qualification (also known as the competence qualification)

The qualification(s) required to demonstrate the competencies required for performance in a particular occupation or job role and which must be at least the same level as the framework. The same competency qualification can only be used ONCE in a framework that will be used in England. The funding agency in England will view frameworks which include a competency qualification which has already been approved in another framework, to be a duplicate framework and will not fund another framework which includes the same competence qualification.


Every unit and qualification within the QCF has a credit value showing how much time it takes to complete (one credit represents 10 hours). There are 3 sizes of qualification on QCF: Award: Certificate: Diploma. In terms of size, an Apprenticeship framework is equivalent to the Diploma which is 37 credits or more. Functional Skills qualifications do not have a QCF credit value. However, Functional Skills, GCSEs with enhanced functional content, Key Skills all carry a notional value of 5 credits each within an Apprenticeship framework. In Wales, Essential Skills Wales and Wider Key Skills carry a notional 6 credits.

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Duplicate framework

Where a framework includes a competency qualification which is used in another framework and will not therefore be issued for use in England.

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Employee Rights and Responsibilities

Apprentices will learn about their rights and responsibilities as paid employees and these are based on nine national outcomes summarised in the SASE/SASW. This can be taught as part of an induction programme, as part of the knowledge qualification, or in other ways.

Entry conditions

These are defined in the SASE/SASW and are those conditions necessary to ensure that individuals can complete the framework. They must comply with the principles of equality and diversity and there must be evidence to justify entry conditions.

Equality and diversity

Apprenticeships must be inclusive and must ensure equality of opportunity for all to access and progress within Apprenticeships, including those with a learning difficulty, There must be evidence of justification which means that it still complies with equality and diversity principles e.g. a legal restriction.

Expression of interest (in developing a framework)

The process by which an organisation wishing to be involved with the development of a framework, or wishes to develop a framework themselves, can gain access to the framework development part of the website. It is the means by which a framework is assigned to an Issuing Authority, who may then allocate log in and password information to framework developers. See FAQ number three Expression of Interest.

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A document which contains the qualifications and other requirements to meet the statutory Apprenticeship requirements of the Governments in England and Wales. This is used by training providers and employers to make sure that no matter where in England and Wales the apprenticeship takes place, all apprentices the framework is consistent. This does not mean that all apprentices will achieve the same outcome, as there is scope for sectors to go beyond the minimum required by the SASE/SASW. Also see duplicate framework.

Framework Archive

The place on this website where previous issues of SASE/SASW compliant frameworks are stored. As they have been developed using this web portal it is possible to search these by occupational sector, job title, qualification, level, title or nation (England or Wales). Also refer to “Legacy Frameworks”.

Framework developer

The organisation who will develop the framework for submission to the Issuing Authority.

Framework “expert”

An individual who can assist you to develop a framework.

Functional Skills

Core elements of English, mathematics and ICT that provide individuals with the skills and abilities they need to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life, their communities and work. Individuals possessing these skills are able to progress in education, training and employment.

Find out more about Functional Skills.

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Issue (a framework)

The final stage of the framework development process where frameworks which meet the SASE/SASW requirements are issued on this website and the funding agencies are notified that it can go forward for public funding.

Issuing Authority

Organisations designated by the Secretary of State in England and by Welsh Ministers to issue Apprenticeship frameworks for a particular sector. There is only one Issuing Authority for each occupational sector.

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Legacy frameworks

Frameworks which were created prior to this website using the Apprenticeship Blueprint but which are not SASE/SASW compliant. The majority of frameworks will be deemed compliant with the ASCL Act from 6th April 2011 but will not be SASE/SASW compliant. It is a transition measure and once the last apprentice has completed a deemed framework it will be deleted. There will be no new starts on deemed frameworks from 6th April 2011.

Library (of frameworks)

A repository for all Apprenticeship frameworks in England and Wales which allows visitors to search under a range of key words.

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Modern Apprenticeship

The term used to describe Modern Apprenticeship programme in Scotland at level 2 and level 3.

Modern Apprenticeship Group (MAG)

An independent group which approves Modern Apprenticeship frameworks in Scotland.

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Outcomes (of a framework)

The qualifications and other components of the framework which are laid down in the SASE/SASW.

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An occupational area. Some frameworks are presented using one pathway and others, contain multiple pathways. The pathway approach is used where there are one or more closely related occupations which do not justify a separate framework. Individual pathways must be SASE/SASW compliant.

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

These six skills apply to England only and provide skills which employers and universities welcome. They include creative thinking, independent enquiry, reflective learner, effective participator, self management and team working.

Find out more about PLTS.


An organisation who has an idea for an Apprenticeship framework but who does not necessarily want to develop one and receives recognition for the idea in the final framework.

Progression (routes)

Defined in the SASE/SASW and described by the framework developer. Progression routes must be clearly stated in the framework both INTO Apprenticeships (from other programmes) and FROM Apprenticeships (including into Further and Higher Education).

Public funding

Funding of Apprenticeship frameworks by funding agencies in England (Skills Funding Agency) and in Wales (Welsh Assembly Government).

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Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)

A framework for creating and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to recognise smaller steps of learning that enables learners to build up qualifications bit by bit. It helps learners achieve skills and qualifications that meet industry needs and enables work-based training to be nationally recognised.

Go to QCF.

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RITS (Ofqual Regulatory IT system)

Contains details of qualifications that are accredited by the regulators of external qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Go to RITS.

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An industry or part of an industry, covering groups of related occupations examples of sectors/industries are construction, engineering, freight logistics, health, manufacturing, retail etc. There is only one Issuing Authority for each occupational sector.

Sector Skills Councils

Employer-driven organisations that are licensed by the four Home Governments to help employers to get the skills and qualifications they need to remain competitive. (see also Alliance of Sector Skills Councils).

Skills Gap

Where employers have an internal skills need and have difficulty finding employees with these skills or training and qualifications to meet this need.

Skills shortage

A general shortage of workers with the skills required in the general economy e.g. science, ICT skills.

Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE)

Published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Department for Education and the National Apprenticeship Service. It sets out the minimum requirements to be included in a recognised English Apprenticeship framework.

Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW)

Published by the Welsh Assembly Government, it sets out the minimum requirements to be met by Apprenticeship frameworks recognised in Wales.

Standard Setting Organisations

Employer driven organisations that help employers to get the skills and qualifications they need to remain competitive.

Statutory requirements

The legal requirements laid down in the SASE/SASW about what an apprenticeship framework must include.

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UCAS tariff points

UCAS points are recognised by universities for entry to undergraduate programmes and these generally apply to academic qualifications.

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