What is an Apprenticeship?

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An Apprenticeship is a work based training programme and as an Apprentice you will be an employee earning a wage, working alongside experienced staff to gain work skills. Off the job, you will receive training towards nationally recognised qualifications, usually at a local college. Anyone living in England, over 16 and not in full-time education can apply.

What are the advantages of doing an Apprenticeship?

As an Apprentice, you earn while you learn, gaining practical and transferable skills while keeping your options open. You will:

  • Earn a salary
  • Get paid holidays
  • Receive training
  • Gain qualifications
  • Learn job-specific skills

You will do real work for a real employer, earning real money at the same time as acquiring your qualifications. Although there is no set rate of pay, all employed Apprentices must receive a wage of no less than £3.30 per hour for a minimum of 16 hours per week with a recommended 30 hours per week. Career progression is excellent and average earnings are higher than for those who do not do an Apprenticeship.

In addition you are essentially an employee. This means that you have exactly the same employee rights as anyone else employed by the company. Although you will still be in training during your time on an Apprenticeship, you will receive a regular wage and be entitled to holidays, fair working hours and rest breaks.

What are the different levels of Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are available at different levels which correspond with national educational standards, as follows:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2 equivalent to 5 GCSEs)
  • Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3 equivalent to two A-level passes)
  • Higher Apprenticeships (equivalent to Level 4 or in some cases a foundation degree)

How long do Apprenticeships take?

Apprenticeships can last from one to four years. Usually they take 12-24 months. The time it takes to reach the level of competence you need varies from one type of career to the next.

What qualifications will I gain?

Generally you will work towards an NVQ or similar as your work based qualification: this will be a Level 2 for an Intermediate Apprenticeship and Level 3 for an Advanced Apprenticeship. At college or with a training provider, you work towards a technical certificate at the same level. You will normally work towards functional skills in maths, English and ICT, Level 1 for an Intermediate Apprenticeship and level 2 for an Advanced Apprenticeship. Most of your assessment will be carried out in the workplace but there may be a requirement to take some tests, particularly if you need to do functional skills in maths, English and ICT.

What if I already have a job?

You can still do an Apprenticeship if your employer agrees, you can become an Apprentice where you work now too. You remain as an employee so you still have exactly the same employee rights as anyone else employed by the company. Although you will be in training during your time on an Apprenticeship, you will continue to receive a regular wage and be entitled to holidays, fair working hours and rest breaks.

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