Apprenticeships - Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship is an excellent way of becoming qualified while gaining experience. It is a framework of qualifications, which enables you to earn while you learn, and pick up practical skills along the way. An Apprenticeship is usually made up of:
- Certificate/Diploma - a competency-based qualification which is assessed against your current job role
- Technical Certificate - which gives you knowledge and understanding of the subject
- Functional Skills - to ensure your English, Maths and ICT are operating at a level linked to the overall qualification
- Employee Rights and Responsibilities
How do Apprenticeships work?
You work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills and also receive training at College, usually on a day-release basis.
What level Apprenticeship should I do?
- Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is level 2 and equivalent to 5 GCSEs at grades A-C; suitable for those starting their chosen career path.
- Advanced Level Apprenticeship is level 3 and equivalent to 2 A' Level passes; suitable for those working in a technician, supervisory or middle management position.
- Higher Level Apprenticeships is level 4 or 5 and equivalent to a foundation degree / degree; suitable for those wishing to progress further in their chosen field at management level.
What are the advantages of doing an Apprenticeship?
Apprentices earn while they learn meaning they get industry-recognised qualifications and gain relevant work-experience at the same time. This can make apprentices much more job-ready and employable as they have the right skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. For many apprentices, it is a step in the right direction on their career ladder with genuine job prospects and progression opportunities. This could mean going onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, further education or university (some Apprenticeships already attract UCAS points). It may also lead to a full-time position in the company they do the Apprenticeship at or career progression into a role with supervisory responsibilities.
How long does an Apprenticeship programme last?
The length of your Apprenticeship depends on the type of programme you are doing and your existing qualifications, but in general it takes between one and two years. (Engineering can take much longer; for example, the Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Engineering is a three year course.)
How much time will I spend on my Apprenticeship programme?
The major part of an Apprenticeship programme is work-related and you will be assessed regularly against set targets. Depending on your programme you may also spend a day each week during term-time at College to develop your technical knowledge and literacy, numeracy and IT skills if necessary.
Do I have to attend College?
It depends on the Apprenticeship programme you are on; many Apprenticeships require College attendance for a full or half-day a week during term time.
Do I have to do Functional Skills?
Yes, maintaining a good level of Maths, English and ICT is essential for the successful completion of the programme. There are exemptions depending on your prior qualifications (for example if you gave a GCSE grade A-C achieved in last five years in English Language, Maths and IT or equivalent you are exempt) and these will be discussed with you at the application process.
Is there an age limit for Apprenticeships? Who is eligible?
Apprentices can be any age over 16 as long as they do not already have a degree or other Level 4 qualification or above and are not on any other government-funded training programme. There is no upper age limit meaning that it is now an option for adult learners and employees.
What are the entry requirements?
The entry requirements are dependent on the programme you are applying for: some do not require prior qualifications whilst some do. However, all Apprenticeships programmes require you to be in a suitable job role with an employer that will support you through your Apprenticeship programme. You will need to hold a contract of employment and not be self-employed, working a minimum of 30 hours per week.
I already have a job ? can I do an Apprenticeship?
Yes, if your employer agrees and the job role is suited to the Apprenticeship programme.
What happens if I don't have a job?
Apprentices need to have a job to do an Apprenticeship. We can give you advice and guidance on how to get a job and we work with employers who regularly want to hire new apprentices. We list and update all our current apprenticeship vacancies on our website: visit www.camre.ac.uk/Apprenticeships/App-vacancies
How are Apprenticeships assessed and delivered?
Each programme will be assessed and delivered depending on the individual requirements of that area. This may include classroom or workshop delivery or assessments through theoretical and practical tests. However, all learners will be assessed in the workplace via regular assessor visits. During these visits, the assessor will assess you using a variety of methods including observation, questioning, professional discussions, witness testimonials and candidate work products and statements and also complete a review with you to make sure you are on target to complete and to give you the opportunity to discuss any problems or issues.
How much will I get paid?
Apprentices get paid a minimum of ?2.60 per hour (rising to ?2.65 in October 2012) for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. However, many apprentices get paid much more than this. A career progression for an apprentice is excellent and over the course of their career they can earn on average ?100,000 more than those who don't do an Apprenticeship. For more information on the National Minimum Wage visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/index.htm
Do I have to pay anything towards the Apprenticeship?
No. The Skills Funding Agency covers the cost of training. 16-18 year olds are fully-funded; 19-23 year olds working for a company with up to 250 employees are fully-funded; 19-23 year olds who work for large companies with 250+ employees are partially funded; and 24+ year old apprentices are partially-funded. Partially-funded means that employer contributions are required.
Do Apprentices get holidays?
Yes. Like other employees, apprentices will be given at least 20 days paid holiday per year as well as bank holidays.
I am the Apprentice's parent; will I still get child benefit?
No. You will not get child benefit if your child is doing an 'advanced' education course. However, some local councils offer reduction on council tax for Apprentices. We would advise you to contact your local council authority.
I am an employer, how can Apprenticeships benefit my company?
Your business will benefit from a more efficient workforce with higher staff retention. Your staff will be trained on relevant sector specific skills. Apprenticeships are affordable: fully-funded for 16-18 year olds and fully-funded or generously subsidised for those aged 19+. You may choose to take on a new Apprentice giving them a great start to their career. Alternatively, because Apprenticeships no longer have an upper age limit, your existing staff may be able to train under an Apprenticeship programme.
I would like to take on a new Apprentice but don't have someone in mind?
No problem, Cambridge Regional College can help you recruit a new Apprentice. We provide a free recruitment service which includes advertising your vacancy on our website, interviewing applicants, and testing their literacy and numeracy skills. We are part of a large Further Education College with an extensive vocational full time programme meaning that we can identify suitable candidates from an existing pool of full time students. We can be as involved as much or as little as you wish and can take the stress out of recruitment for you.