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Here are a range of questions and answers regarding Apprenticeships.

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General

What is an Apprenticeship?

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.

How do I find out about Apprenticeship opportunities?

The National Apprenticeship Service also runs Apprenticeships vacancies. This is an online system whereby employers and learning providers can advertise and manage vacancies, and potential apprentices can search, apply and then manage their applications for Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships opportunities anywhere in England.

The system is free and available on the Apprenticeships website at: www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

How is learning done through an Apprenticeship?

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 (Level 2 for Apprenticeships, Level 3 for Advanced 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.

How can I get started?

Think about where a qualification could take you in your career - decide on the kind of skills and knowledge that you will need to get ahead. If you are already employed, you may want to talk to your employer or a workmate to help you with this.

If you would like to speak about Apprenticeships with a career adviser face to face or on the phone contact the National Careers Service by visiting www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk or calling 0800 100 900.

Can a university graduate do an Apprenticeship?

Yes - Someone with a degree can do an Apprenticeship but they will not be eligible for funding. That means the employer would have to pay the training costs.

If they change employers, do they have to restart their Apprenticeship?

No – An apprentice can continue on the same Apprenticeship programme. If they are aged 19 and over and change employers after they have completed their first year, the apprentice will also be able to receive the national minimum wage.

What types of Apprenticeships are there?

Apprenticeships are available in all sectors and industries throughout England. There are more than 250 different types of Apprenticeships available offering 1,400 job roles, in a range of industry sectors, from engineering to boat building, veterinary nursing to accountancy.

They generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeships
  • Higher Apprenticeships

Career Benefits

Will an Apprenticeship give me a good career?

Career progression is excellent for apprentices, and over the course of their careers, those with an Apprenticeship earn, on average, £100,000 more than those without.
[A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Apprenticeships and Other Vocational Qualifications, University of Sheffield, 2007]

Some Apprenticeships already attract UCAS points or allow you to study for a Technical Certificate. Once the Apprenticeship has finished there’s the opportunity to carry on working, maybe get promoted or go on to higher education in a college or university.

The National Apprenticeship Service is working with UCAS to extend this system so that more qualifications gained during an Apprenticeship count towards an individual’s university application.

What are the advantages of an Apprenticeship?

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.

Training and Employment

Can apprentices claim additional benefits (such as childcare)?
Yes. In some limited cases, apprentices can claim additional benefits. You can find out more on benefit claims at www.dwp.gov.uk.
What time of year can I start?

You can apply at any time of year. When you begin the work-based training depends upon the availability of a position at an employer.

Are Apprentices eligible for maternity leave?

Yes. Like all employees, apprentices are entitled to statutory Maternity Leave of 52 weeks with statutory Maternity Pay for up to 39 weeks.

What does it involve?

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.
Do I get paid?

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices can be found on GOV.UK.

Do I have to pay tax and National Insurance?

As is the case of all employees aged over 16, all apprentices must still pay tax and national insurance on their income.

Do I have to pay anything to become an apprentice?

No. While you are on an Apprenticeship, your employer pays you a salary and supports you whilst you undertake your training. Most of the training is ‘on the job’ within the workplace however the rest can be provided by a local college or by a specialist learning provider or in some cases it could all be undertaken by your employer.

The National Apprenticeship Service will pay the costs of your training depending on your age.

 Age

 National Apprenticeship Service contribution

 16 -18

 up to 100%

 19 - 24

up to 50%

 25 +

 Contribution for specified places

 

What are transferable skills?

Many different industry sectors share the same skill sets. These core skills are transferable across sectors and are built into the Apprenticeship to maximise flexibility and choice for employers and apprentices. They include:

  • Communication (mandatory)
  • Application of number (mandatory)
  • ICT
  • Working with others
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Problem solving
Is there an upper age limit for Apprenticeships?

No.

What is a Framework?

There are a number of elements to each Apprenticeship and this is called the Framework. This means you will get a range of qualifications as you progress through your training and education. Each Apprenticeship framework has three main strands:

  • A competence based element
  • A technical element
  • A skills element

The three strands are sometimes accompanied by additional qualifications to give the most relevant skills and knowledge required for the job that you are employed in.

 

How long does it take?

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.

What’s involved in the selection process?

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.

Do I get holidays?

Like most other employees, you will be given at least 20 days’ paid holiday per year as well as bank holidays.

Do I get to choose where to work?

Yes. It’s up to you to choose an employer but learning providers can help you decide.

What are the entry requirements of an Apprenticeship?

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.
  • If you took your GCSEs more than five years ago and didn’t gain a top grade (A or A*), or you don’t have good GCSE grades in Maths and English you will need to take a literacy and numeracy test.
I’ve already got a job – can I still do an Apprenticeship?

Yes. If your employer agrees, you can become an apprentice where you work now.

What’s the role of the employer?

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.

Apprenticeship vacancies - General

Will the vacancies posted have to be real jobs with training?

Yes – employers and providers cannot post vacancies that are not linked to a real post.

Apprenticeship vacancies - Search

Can I search for Apprenticeships by sector?

Yes.

Can you let me know when a vacancy that might suit me is added?
Yes. If you register you can set up a favourite saved search to find what you are interested in and then be alerted by email or SMS text when there are new search results.
When I search it says there are no vacancies currently found. Why is this?

If you are searching for something very specific, or only looking in a small area, it may be that there is no exact match. Try extending your search area or using a more general keyword instead. New vacancies are added every day so try again later.

I got some search results but I can’t see the details. Why is this?
The details will be displayed as soon as you register – just fill in and submit the short registration form and click the link in the email you get back to activate your account. You can then log in at any time to search, see the details of all the vacancies and apply for those that interest you.

Apprenticeship vacancies - Registration

Can I register with any personal email address?

You can register with any valid email address that you use but remember – this is the email address that will appear on any job applications you send, so it must be suitable. Anything that causes offence will be removed. If you have more than one email address it is important to remember which one you have used to register. You will need it if you forget your username or password – these details can only be sent to your registered email address.

Why can’t I register using the school email account?

It is important that the personal details you enter on the system are kept secure and can only be accessed by you. You need to have your own email address as well as your own unique username and password to keep your details safe.

Why can’t I register a username I use on other systems? It says it is not available.

Your username has to be unique. If someone else has already registered that username on the system you won’t be able to use it. Try another one – it must be between 8 and 20 characters long. You can use letters and numbers but not spaces. When you have found the one that you will use remember to make a note of it!

Apprenticeship vacancies - Login

I don’t know if my account is activated or not. What should I do?

First try logging in using your username and password. If your account is activated you will log in successfully. If that doesn’t work, your account may not be activated. If you still have the email with the activation link, try clicking it again. If you don’t have the email you can request another one using the link on the log in page.

I’ve forgotten both my username and password. What can I do?

If you can remember either one or the other you can use the links on the login page to get help. If you have forgotten both you will need to send an email to nationalhelpdesk@apprenticeships.gov.uk. If possible, use the email address you used to register or tell us what it was.

Explain the problem and make sure that you include your full name, your date of birth and your postcode. The Helpdesk will find your username and send it in an email to the address you used to register. You will then be able to use the link on the login page to get a temporary password.

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