Apprenticeships are structured work-based training programmes aimed at assisting employers in training individuals for specific job roles. Simultaneously, apprentices gain employment and receive valuable training as they progress towards achieving nationally recognised apprenticeship standards or frameworks (devolved nations).
Apprenticeships in England are available to individuals aged 16 and above, irrespective of employment status or educational background. There is no upper age limit for apprenticeships. While there are no mandatory qualifications required for apprenticeships, certain employers may request GCSEs (at level 4 or above) in English, maths, and science as desired criteria.
For apprentices under the age of 19, the minimum hourly wage is set at £4.81, as stipulated by the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage. However, it's worth noting that many employers offer higher wages, with an average weekly wage of around £200.
Once apprentices turn 19 and complete the first year of their apprenticeship, they are entitled to receive at least the full National Minimum Wage.
All apprentices are considered employees and have a valid employment contract. As regular employees, apprentices enjoy the same benefits as other staff members, including holiday and sick leave.
Throughout your apprenticeship programme, you will be actively pursuing a nationally recognised apprenticeship standard or framework (devolved nations). These standards are accredited by industry regulatory bodies and serve to advance your career prospects in your chosen field. Additionally, depending on the specific programme you undertake, there may be opportunities to attain other recognised qualifications and develop functional skills in mathematics and English.
Apprenticeships have a minimum duration of 12 months. The length of an apprenticeship varies depending on the chosen course and the capabilities of the individual apprentice. Completion time can range from one to four years, depending on factors such as the apprenticeship level, the apprentice's aptitude, and the specific industry sector.
Apprenticeships are designed as work-based qualifications. Throughout your programme, your learning coach will provide face-to-face or virtual teaching sessions, observing your progress and assisting you in constructing an apprenticeship portfolio of evidence.
During the apprenticeship period, teaching sessions are typically scheduled every four to eight weeks, ensuring regular support and guidance.
As you near the completion of a standard apprenticeship, a meeting will be arranged with your coach and manager to assess your readiness for the End-point Assessment (EPA). The EPA evaluates the knowledge, skills, and behaviours acquired during the apprenticeship. Throughout the programme, you will have opportunities to practice specific components of the EPA assessment, and you will only undertake the final assessment when you feel adequately prepared. The specific content of the EPA will vary depending on the apprenticeship course you are undertaking.
Apprenticeships are categorised into three levels:
Level 2: Intermediate Level Apprenticeship (equivalent to five GCSEs)
Level 3: Advanced Level Apprenticeship (equivalent to two A-Levels)
Level 4, 5, and 6: Higher Apprenticeship (equivalent to a Foundation degree level)
Applying for an apprenticeship follows a similar process to applying for a job, requiring you to go through an application procedure. You can explore available apprenticeship vacancies by visiting the personal section of our website.
The possibility of continuing with the same company and advancing to the next level apprenticeship depends on the terms of your contract with your employer. If you are under an apprenticeship contract, there may be an opportunity to stay with the company and transition to the next level of apprenticeship.
In many cases, apprentices are offered permanent positions within the team and can continue in their role as regular employees after completing their apprenticeship. Additionally, there may be potential for progression to a higher level apprenticeship within the organisation.
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