Your questions answered

Changes to the education system and apprenticeships mean that understanding options after school can be confusing for young people and the adults who are supporting them to make decisions about the next stage in their lives.

We hope this page will answer some of your questions. If you have any other questions you would like to ask please use our form here

How does an apprenticeship work?

An apprenticeship is a job with training. You will work full time (at least 30 hours a week) at the same time as completing a qualification or apprenticeship standard that is relevant to your job role. The majority of the training will be on the job, learning in a practical way from more experienced colleagues. Your employer will give you time within the working day to meet with your training adviser who can offer one to one support and will release you from work to attend off the job training at one of our training centres, if required.

Do only certain types of jobs have apprenticeships?

The latest reports suggest there are apprenticeships available that cover over 1500 job roles across 170 industries. These range from intermediate apprenticeships, equivalent to GCSEs, up to degree or higher apprenticeships.

Do I have to have achieved grade C/4 in my GCSEs?

Whilst a number of employers will list GCSE maths and English at C/4 or above as essential or desirable criteria, you do not necessarily need to have achieved these grades to complete an apprenticeship. You can contact our advisers to discuss requirements for specific apprenticeships. If you have not previously achieved a C/4 grade in maths and English you will be supported to improve your maths and English skills through Functional Skills as part of your apprenticeship.

Do companies just want to hire apprentices as lower cost workers and then get rid of them when they have completed their apprenticeship?

The vast majority of companies hire apprentices because they want to develop staff with the right skills for their business and train up the next generation of their team. Figures from official surveys show that 90% of apprentices stay in employment after they complete their programme with over 75% staying with the same company.

Why not get the qualification first then start an apprenticeship later?

It is certainly possible to start an apprenticeship at any age, after studying at college. However you need to be aware that funding rules do not allow you to ‘repeat’ a qualification. For example, if you complete certain level 2 childcare qualifications at college you may then not be eligible to undertake an intermediate apprenticeship in a nursery. Please contact us for advice on your specific circumstances.

Can I complete an apprenticeship at the same time as going to college to study?

An apprenticeship is a full time job for at least 30 hours per week. The funding rules which allow you to complete an apprenticeship at no cost to yourself would not allow you to study a qualification at college at the same time. An apprenticeship is not just a job, it is a job with training and is an alternative way to continue learning and working towards qualifications, therefore it is something you would need to choose instead of college, rather than in addition.

The apprentice minimum wage is less than national minimum wage. Why would I work for this when other jobs pay national minimum wage?

As an apprentice your employer will be investing time, and possibly money, in your training. Although your pay may be lower you will not have to pay any fees for the training you receive. The apprentice wage works out at around £130 a week, however companies can choose to pay more than this and many do in order to attract the strongest candidates.

If I start an apprenticeship will I just end up making tea and photocopying?

All apprentices are on a programme of training which requires them to develop specific skills relevant to their job role and prove that they are competent in these areas. In order to make sure their apprentices achieve their qualifications companies must let them take part in all the tasks they need to do to become competent at their jobs. As with all jobs, there may be some more routine or repetitive tasks, however across the duration of the apprenticeship all apprentices will take part in a variety of duties.

Is it possible to progress your career if you start out as an apprentice?

The different levels of apprenticeships make it possible to progress through a series of related qualifications, all the way to level 7, which is equivalent to a degree. Surveys show that nearly a quarter of apprentices receive a promotion within a year of completing their programme. The wide range of apprenticeships available mean that it is also possible to change from one type of qualification at one level to a different sector area at the next level, giving flexibility as your career develops.

Find out more about apprenticeships

Our Apprenticeships

Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship (Level 2)

Course Type: Apprenticeship

This apprenticeship is suitable for frontline staff who help adults with care and support needs to achieve their personal goals and live as independently and safely as possible, enabling them to have control and choice in their lives which is at the heart of person centred care.

Read More

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