An Apprenticeship opens up the opportunity to do a real job, earn a real salary and gain a real qualification. Hiring apprentices helps organisations develop their own talent, whilst ensuring a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

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Apprenticeships - The Basics

What Is An Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a work-based training programme for someone who is employed and working in the industry that their Apprenticeship is in - you have a job, get paid, and receive high quality training at the same time, usually from a training provider just like Joint Learning.For example, an Apprentice Chef must be employed as a trainee chef (or similar role), working in a kitchen. You can’t be employed as a hairdresser and do an Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery.
The Apprentice will gain job specific skills, knowledge and experience from working on the job alongside more experienced staff and will usually receive training on a day release or block release basis depending on the type of Apprenticeship.
Anyone aged 16 and over and not in full-time education can do an Apprenticeship and they can take anywhere from 12 months up to 4 years, again depending on the type of Apprenticeship it is.
There are over 250 different types of apprenticeship including Retail, Business & Administration, Professional Cooking, Management and Sales & Marketing.

About The Qualifications

Apprenticeships are made up from a number of other qualifications, which when completed mean the Apprenticeship has been achieved. But what are these qualfications? Well typically an Apprenticeship will consist of the following:

  • National Vocational Qualification (NVQ/QCF)
  • Technical Certificate
  • Functional Skills
  • Employment Right & Responsibilities

The work-based qualification element of an Apprenticeship is the NVQ, although for some Apprenticeships, this has changed name to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).For this, the training is on-the-job, usually by a mentor or more experienced work colleague, who will teach you your company’s processes and way of carrying out certain tasks.

Your NVQ or QCF portfolio is like a work diary, it records your activities and experiences. Your portfolio is assessed to make sure you are competent. Your work will be assessed at your place of work.

Technical Certificate

The Technical Certificate is the knowledge side of the units you will cover throughout your NVQ or QCF portfolio. If your apprenticeship has a Technical Certificate (not all do) then this will usually take place at a local training provider, like Joint Learning or at a local college. It will likely be on a day release basis, however depending on the type of Apprenticeship this could be on a block release basis.

Functional Skills

Functional Skills are similar to GCSEs however learning is focussed around the industry and job role that you work in. There are a number of different Functional Skills that you might have to complete but usually they will be one, two or three of the below:

  • Application of Number (similar to Maths)
  • Communication (similar to English)
  • ICT

Who Are They For?

Apprenticeships are for anyone aged 16 and over who are not in full-time education, that means that anyone who is employed is eligible for an Apprenticeship; whether you are just leaving school, college or 6th Form or you have been working in the industry for years and want some formal qualifications.

About The Training

Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well. There are targets and checks to make sure that your employer is supporting you and you are making progress.As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation. You can complete this off-the-job training on day release or over a number of days in a block. The amount of time you spend varies according to your Apprenticeship. It could be anything from one day every other fortnight to two days every week. So all the things you study will be useful in your job and help you succeed in your future career.
Your employment will be for at least 30 hours per week. There may be a small number of circumstances where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours. In these cases employment will be for more than 16 hours per week.

Levels Of Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are now available at 3 different levels depending on the type of Apprenticeship, job role, and entry level. These are:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships - Level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSEs A-C)
  • Advanced Apprenticeships - Level 3 (equivalent to 2 ‘A’ Levels)
  • Higher Apprenticeships - Level 4 (equivalent to a Foundation Degree)

Wages & Costs

Because an Apprentice is employed they get paid; how much they are paid though depends on a number of factors.There is no limit on how much an Apprentice can be paid, it all depends on the wages that the employer is willing to pay and determines that job role to be worth.
However, there are minimum amounts that an employer can pay an Apprentice, and at the moment that amount is £2.73 per hour.

Apprenticeships, this is your future!

"Starting an Apprenticeship was a real turning point in my life, college wasn't for me and an Apprenticeship is a real alternative. On my Apprenticeship, I am being trained without leaving my place of work, I'm being taught new skills and trying things I would never have experienced if I had stayed at school. My Vocational Coach and employer both encourage me to me more independent and I am now achieving things I never thought possible."

- John Hospitality Apprentice.

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Apprenticeship Levy

The new apprenticeship levy on employers will be introduced in April 2017 and will help fund employer apprenticeship schemes and reach the target of delivering three million apprenticeships by 2020.

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