Academic Professional Apprenticeship/PGCert (HE)

Course Overview

Laptop on work desk

Structure of the Apprenticeship Programme

The four components

The apprenticeship programme is founded upon a structure that enables 80% on the job training and 20% off the job training.  The programme is structured as four components as follows:

  1. Taught component of timetabled/scheduled face to face workshops delivered by experienced staff from EDS, faculties and central support services.
  2. Directed activities to be carried out by apprentices including studying theoretical and pedagogical frameworks, reading, small scale research, observation of teaching practices and professional reflection.
  3. Locally directed activities and support from school mentors in planning & preparing teaching, assessment moderation, course development etc.
  4. Private study and apprentice determined activity based on initial needs analysis, mentor advice and personal professional reflection.

Work-based practice is the key to this programme and therefore 80% of your time should be devoted to school/departmental activities (On The Job Training). You are expected to evidence and demonstrate continuing engagement with learning and teaching activities consistently throughout the apprenticeship.

Your line manager will support you with understanding and accessing the 20% off-the-job allocation which can be made up from both existing Academic Workload Planning Framework (AWPF) items and the re-defining of mentor supported activities/practices necessary for the successful undertaking of the apprenticeship role.

Off-the-job training activities

As long as you have 20% of your time allocated to off the job training over the duration of the APA, how and when the training is planned can be tailored to local needs and will be agreed locally within the school/department. The departmental activities, which you could undertake can include any of the following:

  • Planning and preparation for teaching
  • Shadowing activities
  • Moderation and levelling of assessment activities
  • Analysis of data (NSS, module evaluations etc.)
  • Preparation for, and engagement in, non-core meetings/activities/projects
  • Induction meetings and other school meetings with relevant colleagues and student representatives
  • One-to-one or other training on School level learning & teaching associated facilities/systems/processes
  • Additional training or development activity provided at a local level (e.g. team away days, conference attendance etc.)
  • Peer enhancement or practice activities

The activities above, carried out by yourself to support your development can be credited against the off-the-job allocation provided they take place under the supervision and/or support of your mentor. Note that this does not have to be supervision in person. If, for example, your mentor puts you in contact with another colleague who can support your understanding of planning for a particular type of teaching activity, or suggests that you attend a meeting or induction event, that should be counted.

Timescale and Taught Component Schedule

September - December

The APA has one intake per year in September. During the first two weeks of the course you will:

  • Complete your Initial Needs Analysis
  • Complete your Commitment Statement
  • Set up and begin your Individual Learning Plan
  • Begin logging APA hours
  • Begin your Reflective Journal
  • Meet your Faculty Lead Academic
  • Meet your Mentor

The time from September to December consists of a series of directed tasks (which will be set and accessed via Moodle), suggestions for stating the annex artefacts for the EPA, two day long introductory workshops and an optional assessment for a Staff Education Development Association certificate.

Introductory Workshops:

Day 1

Exploring ‘good teaching’ and sharing your experience of teaching and learning

Discussing identity and values (and intro to Learning and Teaching philosophy)

Active learning.

Techniques for learning and teaching.

Day 2

Defining the curriculum. Aims, outcomes and objectives.

Introducing constructive alignment

Getting to grips with university documentation

Introducing assessment, marking and feedback.

Introducing peer observation and review

Following the introductory sessions there is an opportunity to submit work for both formative feedback and to gain an optional SEDA certificate. Please see the Assessment Section for details.

January - December

This period is where the main taught content of the APA will take place. The actual schedule will be provided via Moodle, but workshops run on Wednesdays and Thursdays (to give you some flexibility on when to attend) and may be on-site at the city centre or city south campuses or off-site. Details will be provided via Moodle.

In addition to the face to face workshops you will receive guidance on directed tasks and annex artefacts.

All content is mapped against the apprenticeship standards which are organised into 5 sections:

  • Core Knowledge (CK)

  • Teaching Specialist Knowledge (TSK)

  • Core Skills (CS)

  • Teaching Specialist Skills (TSK)

  • Core Values and Behaviours (CVB)

APA Standard

Study Units


Theories of Learning

Constructivism/Social Constructivism

Humanist/Student-Centred Approaches to pedagogy

Relationships between wide range of learning theories and subject knowledge, practical applications in lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops and tensions and links between them.


Learning Technology

Flipped and Blended approaches to learning and teaching.

Innovative uses of learning technologies to promote engagement and inclusivity

Practical skills in blended and flipped learning including designing VLE pages, producing resources and recording lectures and presentations.


Curriculum Design

Learning Outcomes, Constructive Alignment

Empowering students and facilitating growth of Self-Efficacy through Curriculum Design

Working with stakeholders including PSRBs and other external agencies in developing and delivering curricula.


Assessment and Feedback

Theories of assessment for learning and practical applications.

Innovating in assessment practice



Understanding the diverse range of cultural and educational capital our students bring to their BCU learning journeys (for example Commuter Students/First Generation Students/BAME Students/BTEC students/International Students).

Academic support for students with particular needs and practical skills for adjusting curricula for specific groups.



Inclusive Teaching practices

Understanding the wide range of support available to students from professional service colleagues and how to access them.


Using Data

How to access, engage with and responsively utilise local level data analytics systems at BCU.

How to manage complex information and apply advanced digital literacy skills.



Analysis of mechanisms and principles for Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement both at local level and in relation to the ‘big picture’ in the rapidly changing HE sector.

Working with QA team, financial and other administrative colleagues to ensure a high quality student experience.


Peer Observation

Development of enthusiastic, committed and self-reflective attitude to own CPD

Development of people management and communication skills


Action research for CPD

Epistemological and methodological aspects of pedagogic research.

How to carry out action research

Ethics of Researching own practice

Relationship between pedagogic and subject research and the use of evidence informed practice.

Innovating and sharing good practice through action research.

Please note: Details of this content are open to review and change

January - March

Following the completion of the taught component you will have 3 months to complete all of your independent study on your ILP and ensure you are ready for the EPA. This will be an important time for ensuring you have all your paperwork, and especially your reflective journal, up to date. There will be some optional drop-in sessions to support this process, however your local mentor and Faculty Lead Academic will be mainly responsible for supporting you through this period.

Audited Activity

In order to comply with levy funding requirements, the creation and upkeep of certain documents is essential. They are:

Initial Needs Assessment - this is carried out at the start of the course, recognises any previous experience and suggests specific content for your Commitment Statement and Individual Learning Plan.

Commitment Statement - This sets out what you, your line manager (as employer) and EDS (as provider) are committing to and summarises your initial assessment.

Individual Learning Plan - this is an ongoing document that is regularly updated and shows your progress towards meeting the criteria and your readiness for the End Point Assessment.

Reflective Journal - this is where you record your ongoing critical reflections about all aspects of the course including critical incidents, wider study and scholarship and all training activity.

Hours Log - this is where you record your off-the-job training time (490 hours over the 18 months of the apprenticeship, 1 day or 7 hours per week approximately.)

All of the above are subject to external audit for levy funded apprentices and failure to keep them up to date could have serious consequences for both yourself and the university.

For information about the APA assessment, please see the Assessment Information section.

For all enquiries, please email