Conservation Apprenticeships

Work based training to support your career in conservation

Apprenticeships are work based training programmes which combine on the job training, formal learning and paid employment. 

Apprenticeships are first and foremost paid jobs alongside which there is a clearly developed training programme to allow and apprentice to build up the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to perform a particular job role. 

Responding to the feedback from employers, they also place a strong emphasis on 'end-point' assessment to ensure that those completing apprenticeships really are fully competent to perform the job role.

Icon is registered to be the end point assessment organisation for both conservation apprenticeship standards which have been developed. 

Conservation apprenticeship standards

Take on an apprentice at your workplace

I want to be an apprentice

Why has Icon been involved in the development of Apprenticeships?

Frequently Asked Questions


Conservation apprenticeship standards

There are two apprenticeship standards which have been developed for the conservation profession. 

Take on an apprentice at your workplace

Taking on an apprentice is a fantastic way to support an individual get into the conservation profession.  It offers you the chance to take on and grow new talent and to develop a skilled and highly engaged workforce. To find out more about how to take on an apprentice, please contact the training providers listed on our course directory who will be able to talk you through the options. 

I want to be an apprentice

Apprenticeship vacancies are offered throughout the year. They are managed directly by employers and training providers. For further information please visit the Government website which is where all vacancies are advertised. 

Alternatively, if you are in work and would like to complete an apprenticeship, please contact the training providers listed on our course directory who will be able to talk you through the options. 

Why has Icon been involved in the development of Apprenticeships?

Having sat on the Historic England led 'Historic Environment' trailblazer group since 2015, Icon has been supporting employers in the Conservation sector in developing standards since early 2017. 

This has helped to ensure that conservators are represented in the development of Standards as well as to ensure that any Standards developed clearly align to the Icon Professional Standards and Judgement & Ethics criteria. We have done this to both support new entrants into the profession as well as to enable employers to maximise access to funding to develop the workforce. 

The Government's Trailblazer Apprenticeships came out of the findings of the Richards Review in 2012 which called for a radical overhaul of the delivery of Apprenticeships in England.

This has resulted in the establishment of dedicated employer led groups developing over 200 standards across the full spectrum of professional roles to ensure that learners are being taught the right skills through an appropriately rigorous programme to be competitive in the job market. The Conservator Working Group included 12 employers from across the Conservation Profession.

Bristol City Council, Cliveden Conservation, English Heritage, Hall Conservation, Historic Royal Palaces, Holy Well Glass, Museum of London, Tate, The National Archives, The University of Manchester, University of Cambridge Museums and the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you question hasn't been answered below, please do email [email protected] and we will answer your question and add it to the list. 

What are the minimum requirements of an apprenticeship?

All apprenticeship programmes must include:

  • Contract of employment
  • 20% off the job training
  • Minimum of 12 months
  • Available to all (16 year olds and older)
  • Delivered from Level 2 (GCSE Level) through to Level 7 (Post graduate)
  • Include English and Maths where relevant. 

What do the levels mean?

Apprenticeships can be delivered from Level 2 through to Level 7.

Level 2: GCSE at Grade A*, A, B or C; O Level A, B or C. 
Level 3: A Levels, International Baccalaureate Diploma, Access to Higher Education Diploma
Level 4: Certificate of Higher Education(CertHE), Higher National Certificate (HNC)
Level 5: Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Higher National Diploma (HND)
Level 6: Bachelor's Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
Level 7: Master's Degree, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma

For the full overview please click here.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017. It targets employers who have a pay bill in excess of £3 million per year. This is to be paid at 0.5% of the pay bill less a £15,000 levy allowance. The government will top up the account by 10%, giving a total amount of £11,000 available for the employers to fund their apprenticeship delivery. This is to be held in their own Digital Apprenticeship Service Account. For employers using the levy, the funds will be taken from their digital accounts, and paid to the training provider. Once the funds have been used, it is proposed that they will need to contribute 10% of the funds to the training provider, and the government will fund the rest.

For example, an employer with a pay bill of £5,000,000 will need to spend £10,000 on the levy (i.e. 0.5% x £5 million = £25,000. Then subtracting the allowance of £15,000 gives the £10,000 annual levy). 

For those employers whose pay bill falls below the threshold, there is no requirement to contribute via HRMC as yet. They will be expected to contribute 5% of the funds directly to the training provider, and the government will fund the remaining 95% up to the maximum amount of funding available (NB organisations with fewer than 50 employees will need to make no contribution towards the delivery of apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds). 

Does this mean taking on new staff?

Apprentices may well be new staff members, however they don't have to be - it is certainly possible to put existing staff members onto Apprenticeship Programmes. 

Are apprenticeships only for young people?

No, there is no age limit on who can undertake an Apprenticeship provided the person is over 16. 

Does this apply to all of the UK?

Skills and education are devolved matters. As such, the development of Trailblazer Apprenticeships is currently England only. Icon is willing to support the development of Apprenticeships across the UK. 

What does this mean for existing degree programmes?

The Conservator Apprenticeship is a degree level apprenticeship which must include a full Master's degree.  Several Higher Education institutions are currently in the process of reviewing their programmes to match the requirements of apprenticeship delivery.