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by the NFCC

Provider and partnership status

Each service will need to decide whether to deliver the apprenticeship training internally or use the support of external providers. Individual organisations, including fire and rescue services, can provide their own apprenticeship programmes or offer apprenticeships to external organisations provided they meet specific criteria laid down by the Institute of Apprenticeships.

There are 3 types of apprenticeship training provider on the register of apprenticeship training providers:

Main provider 

Services may prefer, and benefit from, the use of external apprenticeship training providers to deliver the required apprenticeship training. The main provider must be registered with the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) in order to deliver the training.

Main providers enter into contracts with employers that use the apprenticeship service to pay for apprenticeship training or hold a contract with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to deliver to employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy.  If your service is registered as a main provider, you will undertake training to your own staff and to staff employed by others.  

Main providers are experienced in delivering internally and to external organisations, and will have the infrastructure, resources, specialist knowledge and experience to deliver training, support and guidance to a potentially large number of contracted apprentices and organisations.

Employer provider

Employer providers train their own employees or those of connected companies and use the apprenticeship service to pay for the apprenticeship training.  As an employer provider you will undertake 100% of the training required for just your own staff, or you can provide part of the training required to your own staff and contract an external approved training provider to deliver the rest. 

Delivering your own apprenticeship programmes provides greater ownership so that you can tailor the programme to meet the needs of your service and align with other business processes. It provides the opportunity to use your own equipment, facilities and training staff.


Supporting providers, or subcontractors, have subcontracts with main providers to enhance apprenticeship training for employers and their apprentices.  A subcontractor must be registered as an apprenticeship training provider and could be contracted to deliver specialist or niche training to a limited number of apprentices, working with a partner organisation.

To work with a main training provider services should be registered as a subcontractor.  Subcontractors are equipped to deal with higher numbers of apprenticeship candidates and have sufficient resources to deliver an employer led apprenticeship.