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The basics - what is an apprenticeship?

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  • An apprenticeship is a package consisting of a paid full-time job, together with training towards accredited qualifications.
  • You work for an employer whilst also being trained in the work-based skills the employer wants. 
  • You learn at a pace that suits you and are supported by a mentor.
  • You spend 80% of your time working and learning ‘on the job’ and 20% of your time doing formal learning ‘off the job’, to work towards qualifications to support your employment.
  • There are many types of apprenticeship, covering a wide variety of occupations from surveying to accountancy to veterinary nursing.   In Norfolk alone there are 250 types of apprenticeships.
  • Apprenticeships can take between one and six years, depending on the level of apprenticeship, your ability and the industry sector you are working in.
  • The minimum salary for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour. This applies to all apprentices aged under 19 or to those in the first year of their apprenticeship.  However, many apprentices earn more than this.
  • Apprentices are employed and paid for at least 30 hours per week for a minimum of one year.
What training will I receive?
  •  Your 'off-the-job' training will usually taking place at a local college or work-based training provider, although it can also be completed in a separate area at your workplace or online.
  • You may be attending  training on day release or possibly over a number of days in a block which could be at a local or national training centre.
  • You will complete an 'end-point assessment' at the end of the programme to assess your ability and competence in your job role.
  •  You may also complete or re-take GCSE or functional skills qualifications in Maths and English if you don't achieve these in Year 11, as well as other elements that teach you what you need to know about your rights and responsibilities at work.
What are apprenticeship levels?

There are 4 different apprenticeship levels.  After Year 11, you can apply for an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Intermediate Apprenticeship

  • Level 2,  equivalent to 5 GCSEs. 
  • Provides you with the skills and knowledge you need for your chosen career and might allow you to progress to more senior roles or into an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.  
  • Entrance Requirements vary but employers may ask for 2 GCSES, grade 4, including English and Maths, but you could retake these if you need to.

Advanced Apprenticeship

  • Level 3, equivalent to 2 A Levels.  
  • You will undertake more complex tasks and learn further technical skills at an advanced level. It can lead to professional qualifications or a Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship.
  • Entrance requirements are usually 5 GCSEs (grade 9-4) or an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

After an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you might be able continue to progress in your career through an apprenticeship pathway.  You could go on to complete a Higher Apprenticeship, which is level 4/5 and equivalent to an HND or Foundation Degree,  or a Degree Apprenticeship which is Level 6/7 and an alternative to competing a Bachelor or Master's degree through full-time higher education.

When should I apply for an apprenticeship?

  • Contact companies or training providers, at any time during Year 11, to ask if they will be recruiting apprentices in the summer, to start after you have finished your GCSEs.
  •  Some larger local and national employers will open their apprenticeship recruitment schemes for school leavers from October, so it’s important to start looking early.
  • However, most Norfolk companies will start their apprenticeship recruitment from January onwards, so keep looking, all through the spring and summer terms.
  • If you see an apprenticeship advertised but applications close too soon, contact the employer to express your interest and ask if they have flexible start dates or will be recruiting any more apprentices later in the year.

Where can I find apprenticeship vacancies?

  • Register for the Government 'Find an Apprenticeship' website and create an alert to be informed of new vacancies:

  • Try local papers such as the EDP.
  • Contact employers directly to enquire about apprenticeship possibilities.
  • Ask family and friends if the companies they work for have apprenticeship opportunities
  • Apprenticeship Provider Websites such as City College and Poultec  - find links via Help You Choose.
  • Social Media.

 Help You Choose Apprenticeship Area
Search and find local apprenticeship vacancies

Recruitment Websites such as: total jobs, Indeed, jobs24 and the Government job search website

National Apprenticeship Service
Apprenticeships is useful for researching vocational career pathways and searching and applying for vacancies

Amazing Apprenticeships:
Useful resources from films/webinars to application advice

Amazing Apprenticeships Vacancy Snapshot:
Links to national vacancies at leading companies such as the BBC,  amazon, EDF, Rolls Royce

The Apprenticeship Guide:
Apprenticeship information

Get My First Job:
Search and apply for apprenticeships

All About School Leavers:
Apprenticeship and work information

Future Talent:
Apprenticeship and work information

Not Going to Uni:
Explore apprenticeships and other possible alternatives including Gap Year options

Student Ladder:
Information on school leaver programmes, work placements and application advice

Rate My Apprenticeship:
Explore options, search for opportunities and read apprenticeship reviews

UCAS Career Finder:
Sign up for job alerts and search for Post-18 work and training opportunities