APA Programme – Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the APA?

The APA is a professional development programme that will introduce you to the core knowledge, skills values and behaviours that you need for a successful academic career. The programme is  designed to allow learners to develop their practice through a combination of work-based learning and taught sessions run by co-ordinated by the team in LALT.

2. Who is the APA designed for?

The APA is the University’s preferred route to teaching qualification for staff new to Higher Education and includes Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA – D2), a Postgraduate Diploma in Policy and Practice in Higher Education and the Apprenticeship standard. Staff who are more familiar teaching within HE can gain HEA recognition through the University’s HEAR programme.

3. What are the two elements of the APA?

The apprenticeship standard (the APA) has two elements; a core element and two specialist routes. In addition to the core element of the standard, those undertaking the APA will choose one of two specialist routes, teaching and supporting learning or undertaking research.

Both routes take participants from their entry point into Higher Education to full professional competence. Those who undertake the specialist role in teaching will be equipped to take a leading role in developing learning and teaching practice, and those who undertake the specialist role in research will have the capacity to act as a principal investigator. The APA is therefore designed to extend education and training beyond the more traditional Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (which focuses only on the development of teaching practice) and produce academic professionals who are ready to take the next steps in their careers.

4. Staff time – How is APA structured and how long does it take?

The APA combines extensive training and work experience which will take 22-months to complete. The  End Point Assessment (undertaken by external assessors) takes place in the last three months of the programme.

Each participant is supported to demonstrate the APA standard through the construction of an individual study plan that is agreed with the Programme Leader, line manager and mentor at the start of the programme. The evidence required to illustrate competence against all elements of the standard is collected through both work-based learning (80%) and off-the-job training (20%) in an E-portfolio system (OneFile). At Lincoln, the off-the-job training will be co-ordinated by the APA Programme Leader and includes a taught programme (Postgraduate Diploma in Policy and Practice in Higher Education) which is mapped to Descriptor two of the UKPSF, alongside additional workshops and development opportunities.

Apprentices will be supported to achieve the APA standard by the APA programme team, members of the programme team and a nominated work-based mentor from their school or area of practice. Apprentices are expected to meet with the work-based mentor once a month, and a tripartite meeting between the APA programme leader, work based mentor and apprentice will take place once every 12 weeks to review progress and development.

5. What do I need from my School?

Each apprentice will require a work-based mentor to guide and support them in identifying and collecting evidence for their e-portfolio from the work based learning aspect of the apprenticeship. Schools will be expected to identify an appropriate mentor for each apprentice at the point of application, who should hold HEA D2 or an equivalent teaching qualification. Each mentor will receive initial and ongoing development and training by the APA programme team. In addition to a work-based mentor, Schools must commit to releasing 20% of each apprentice’s time each week to enable them to meet the programme requirements.

6. What are the benefits of completing the programme?

On successful completion of this programme, participants will be fully competent to perform their roles in Higher Education. Depending on the specialist role taken, they will be well placed to actively contribute to key agendas around the National Student Survey, Teaching Excellence Framework, Research Excellence Framework and the sharing of practice across schools.

In addition to the opportunity provided by the APA for staff new to Higher Education, the central role of the work based mentor also provides a development opportunity for more experienced staff members. A strong mentoring culture in schools is highly valued by academic staff (as evidenced by the staff survey) and taking on the role of APA mentor can also help individuals to generate evidence to apply for, or remain in good standing as a Senior Fellow of the HEA.

7. Am I eligible to do the APA?

Under the apprenticeship guidelines, staff will be required to take part in an eligibility exercise which takes the form of a survey. The apprentice must have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to commencement of programme and have an employment contract which continues throughout the duration of the programme. Applicants are only considered suitable for the programme if their contract is a minimum of 0.8 FTE. There are exemptions to the criteria and each application is considered individually.