Apprenticeships - Frequently asked questions for parents and learners
Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. As an employee, you can earn as you learn and you gain practical skills from the workplace.
Apprenticeships are available in many sectors and industries from engineering to catering, hairdressing to accountancy.
They generally fall into one of three categories:
- Intermediate Level Apprenticeships – NVQ level 2
- Advanced Level Apprenticeships – NVQ level 3
- Higher Apprenticeships – NVQ level 4.
An Apprenticeship is essentially a set of qualifications called a ‘framework’ developed by Sector Skills Councils. Most Apprenticeship frameworks follow a standard format that comprises:
- a National Vocational Qualification (e.g. Level 2 for Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, Level 3 for Advanced Level Apprenticeships).
- key Transferable Skills.
- a Technical Certificate.
The learning provider provides the knowledge and develops skills while the employer provides the practical experience to put those skills to the test. Training can be classroom based, in a workshop or in a workplace, depending on the subject and on the learning provider.
Having a degree makes you ineligible for government funding for an apprenticeship. If you want to do an apprenticeship but have a degree, you will need to find another way to cover the training costs which could mean paying yourself or find and employer that will pay your training costs.
Getting qualified while on the job can also mean:
- you work better and more effectively.
- it can set you up to move into new and better jobs.
- you get better pay.
- you get to experience new and different challenges.
- your existing skills and knowledge are recognised and can help you gain a qualification faster.
- you learn at your own pace and get support when you need it.
- better job security.
- you gain skills and knowledge which can be used across a range of jobs and industries.
Yes. It’s up to you to choose an employer but learning providers (e.g. college or private training company) can help you decide.
The great thing about Apprenticeships is that you earn a wage. As a 16-18 year old, or if you’re aged 19 and over and in your first year of an Apprenticeship, you can expect to earn the apprentice rate. After that the National Minimum Wage applies. However many employers pay more than this, especially if the Apprenticeship is Advanced or Higher.
If you have been made redundant you should contact your training provider who will be able to give you assistance and advice on what happens next.
The employer will give you an induction into the company and your role. They provide on-the-job training and pay your wages. Each apprentice has a manager at work who will be responsible for helping you throughout your training.
Different Apprenticeships have different entry requirements. However the most important requirements are that:
- You must be living in England and not taking part in full-time education.
- You must be aged 16 or over.
- GCSEs are crucial, particularly English and maths. Many vacancies will specify a minimum of grade A-C (or equivalent) in English and maths. If you don’t have good GCSE grades in maths and English you will need to take a literacy and numeracy test at interview and may have to complete functional skills as part of your Apprenticeship.
An Apprenticeship includes the following components:
- A knowledge based element.
- A competence based element.
- Transferable or “key skills”.
- A module on employment rights and responsibilities.
The length of an Apprenticeship varies depending on prior skills levels of the apprentice, the qualification being obtained and industry sector. Generally, Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete.
Yes. If your employer agrees, you can become an apprentice where you work now.
Like most other employees, you will be given at least 20 days paid holiday per year as well as bank and public holidays.
The selection process is just like any other job application process. Individuals are put through a series of interviews, and in some cases, tests, to establish if they are the right fit for the role.
You can apply at any time of year. When you begin the work-based training depends upon the availability of a position with an employer.
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