Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme which allows the Apprentice to gain technical knowledge and practical experience in addition to functional and personal skills required for their immediate job and future career.

Who can be an Apprentice?

Apprenticeships are available to both new and existing employees; new staff will gain appropriate skills, and existing staff can be re-skilled to meet new challenges.

An Apprentice MUST: Be employed in an appropriate vocational area, work a minimum of 30 hours per week in a suitable vocational role, be at least 16 years of age, a resident within the European Economic Area for at least three years, not funded for any other government training programme, have no prior level 4 qualifications or above (for     intermediate and advanced levels) and have sufficient English, Mathematics and Information Technology skills.

Is there an upper age limit for Apprentices?

No

How long does an Apprenticeship take?

The length of the Apprenticeship programme will vary dependent upon the experience, prior skills and knowledge of each individual Apprentice and the type and level of framework they are studying. An Apprenticeship at Heart of Worcestershire College will take a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 4 years.

What type of Apprenticeships are there?

Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industry sectors with Apprenticeship frameworks being available in more than 170 industries and 1,500 job roles at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Level.

What is the level of study?

Intermediate Apprenticeships are at level 2 (equivalent of 5 good GSCE grades A* - C) and will be ideal for any-one who is new to a working environment.

Advanced level is the equivalent of A-level and is suited to individuals with experience, who work autonomously or have supervisory duties.

Whereas the Higher Apprenticeship framework is a level 4 (equivalent of a foundation degree) and perform a management function. Please note that higher frameworks are not available for all industries.

What is an Apprenticeship Framework?

An Apprenticeship includes 5 elements which creates a framework of study, the elements are:

  •          A knowledge based element – which provides the theory for the appropriate vocational area and will usually be assessed by examination.
  •          A competence based element – which will demonstrate competence within the job role and will be completed via observation, professional discussion, competency statements, witness statements and reflective journals delivered via one to one appointments within the working environment
  •          Transferable skills – are Functional Skills in English, Maths and ICT, these will be taught sessions and the level will vary according to the type and level of Apprenticeship framework. This will be assessed via test and portfolio. If the Apprentice has completed GCSE’s in English, Maths or ICT and gained grades A* - C then they will be exempt for each specific discipline however this is dependent upon the production of the original awarding body certificates.          

o    Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS Skills). Six groups of qualities and skills have been identified as being essential to the success in learning, life and work. The framework includes; managing self, managing relationships with others, and managing own learning, performance and work. These skills will be assessed throughout the programme of study.

o    Employment Rights and Responsibilities is an independent certificate which looks at topics such as employment law, health and safety and opportunities for career progression within your chosen professional sector.

How much do I get paid?

As of 1st October 2015 the minimum wage for an Apprentice is £3.30 per hour for all 16-18 year olds and for those aged 19 or above in the first year of their Apprenticeship you . If you reach the age of 19 and have completed their first year you will receive at least the full National Minimum Wage rate for your age. However, your actual salary will be negotiated with your employer. You will also receive a salary for the hours where you are studying your Apprenticeship framework.

Do I pay Tax and National Insurance?

You will pay Tax and National Insurance on your income.

Do I get holiday and sick pay?

Like most other employees, you must be given at least 20 days paid holiday per year in addition to bank holidays. You also have same conditions as other employees at the same level as you this includes paid holiday, sick pay, any other benefits you offer such a childcare voucher schemes and any other support such as coaching and mentoring.

How often do Apprentices attend College or training sessions?

This will be dependent upon the framework; all the training can be in the workplace, some frameworks require day release or block release at College and others are a combination of attendance at College and assessment within the workplace.

Can my Apprenticeship be terminated?

Yes, but your employer must follow procedures as detailed on your terms and conditions of employment and any other procedures of a disciplinary nature

Who pays for my College training?

It is your employer’s responsibility to pay your tuition fees.

What happens if I change employer?

Your new employer will be required to complete a Training and Development Agreement with Heart of Worcestershire College so you can continue with your Apprenticeship studies.

What hours do I work?

To be an Apprentice you will be employed for a minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 40 hours per week however your employer will inform you what your working day will be.

Do I have any homework?

Not exactly homework but you will be expected to complete some assignments, personal statements and collect evidence to prove competency.

What are the benefits of recruiting an Apprentice?

  •          Provides a route for you to harness fresh new talent an introduce new ideas
  •          Is an effective way to tackle skills shortages within the workplaces
  •          Creates a loyal and motivated employees

Is value for money – although Apprentices are raw talent and lack experience they do not haveto be retrained, they work the way you want them to

  •          It is cost effective
  •          Allows you to share your knowledge and experience and succession plan.

How do I find an Apprentice?

Heart of Worcestershire College Solutions provide a Free Apprenticeship Recruitment and Matching Service, a Training and Development Advisor will help you draft the advertisement, we will advertise and pre-screen candidates on your behalf and provide you with a list of candidates to interview via your own recruitment processes.

Is there a limit to the number of Apprentices that an employer can take on?

No, you can recruit as many as you need however you need to be able to allocate a mentor to each Apprentice and ensure they are adequately supervised.

Do I issue an employment contract?

Yes, you need to offer an employment contract as a minimum it needs to match the duration of the Apprenticeship programme, you will also need to issue an Apprenticeship agreement. The Apprenticeship Agreement details what you agree to do for the Apprentice this will include: how long the Apprenticeship is for, the training you will provide, their working conditions and the qualifications they are working towards. A template can be downloaded fromwww.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-agreement-template