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Apprenticeship Employer Award

The IOP Apprenticeship Employer Award enables the IOP to recognise employers that demonstrate their commitment and contribution to scientific and engineering apprenticeship schemes, and the positive outcomes their apprentices bring to the organisation.

The Apprenticeship Employer Award recognises and acknowledges the variety of approaches taken to apprenticeships by organisations of different sizes.

We accept nominations for the Apprenticeship Employer Award in the following categories:

  • small medium enterprise (1 to 249 employees)
  • large employer (250 to 4,999 employees)
  • macro employer (5,000+ employees)

The winning organisations will each receive a trophy and a certificate that will be presented at the IOP annual awards event.


Eligible organisations:

  • employ science and engineering apprentices ranging from level 3 to level 7 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, level 5 to level 9 for the Republic of Ireland and level 6 to level 11 for Scotland
  • are schools, colleges, universities, research institutions and laboratories, NHS, defence or business and industry from across the UK and Ireland
  • employ apprentices in a technical support role, with a strong basis in physics, for at least one year. Apprentices may be, for example, helping to collect and analyse samples, planning and preparing experiments, recording or presenting data, or building or maintaining infrastructure and laboratory equipment, including software to support research and innovation

Eligibility criteria

  • nominees, nominators and referees do not need to be members of the IOP
  • nominees, nominators and referees cannot be members of the IOP’s Council or IOP employees
  • nominees should have been running an apprenticeship scheme for at least 12 months on 10 January 2020
  • nominators cannot act as referees for their nomination, however other individuals such as senior managers within the same organisation can act as referees as can people outside the organisation such as associated training providers
  • an organisation cannot receive the Apprenticeship Employer Award more than once for substantially the same body of work
  • only one entry is allowed per employer organisation
  • employer of the year categories (small medium enterprise, large and macro) are based on total headcount (and not full-time equivalent) of employees in the UK and Ireland
  • entries will only be accepted from employers and apprentices that are based in the UK and Ireland with apprenticeship standards that have been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education
  • a subsidiary company may apply on behalf of the parent group, but this then excludes the parent group from applying. More than one subsidiary of the parent may apply for the awards, as long as the application references only the apprenticeship programme that is delivered wholly by that subsidiary. Any winning recognition will go to the subsidiary and not the parent group

Nomination process

Nominators must submit

  • details for themselves and those of the organisation
  • information about the nature of the organisation (eg size, structure, strategy and mission), total number of staff, the number of apprentices employed, the different types of apprenticeships offered and the number of apprentices trained over the last five years
  • information about who delivers the training
  • contact details for two referees
  • a supporting statement comprising a short and long citation that highlights:
    • an explanation of what makes the apprenticeship scheme considered exceptional. The Technical Skills Awards Panel will look for clear and tangible evidence of how the organisation perceives itself to be an exemplary employer, how it recruits a talented and diverse apprenticeship workforce, and how it makes apprenticeships accessible to those from a diverse range of backgrounds.
    • the benefits that apprenticeships have brought to both the organisation and individual apprentices. For instance, the Technical Skills Awards Panel will look for evidence of how the organisation supports its apprentices beyond the baseline requirements of the relevant apprenticeship framework(s), eg training, mentoring and ambassadorial activities.
    • the strategy behind the science or engineering apprenticeship programme. For instance, the Technical Skills Awards Panel will want to see a clear rationale for why the organisation runs an apprenticeship scheme, what the objectives are, and the plans for developing and enhancing the apprenticeship programme.

Making a nomination

Nominations for the 2020 awards are now closed.