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Apprenticeship FAQs

Apprenticeships are growing fast and we are often asked similar questions in regard to this learning pathway. Please see the sections below to find out more information. 

Parents and Students FAQs

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining internationally recognised qualifications, workplace experience and skills whilst earning a salary. They can take between one and four years depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentice's ability, and the industry sector.

What if I don't currently have an employer?

Aspiral Learning works closely with employers to help them fill apprenticeship vacancies. We recommend that you actively seek employment yourself by contacting local employers directly, researching job vacancy sites, and creating yourself an account on the National Apprenticeship Service website. 

Aspiral Learning make extensive use of Indeed, with all vacancies advertised on the NAS as well as Indeed to ensure opportunities are open to all.

Our BCoT Recruits service can help you find a relevant employer, for more details please contact 01256 306237. 

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

Anyone living in England, over the age of 16 and not in full time education. 

Apprenticeships are not just for school and college leavers. Employed adults are also able to undertake an apprenticeship programme with the support of their employer to upskill or broaden their competence.

What levels are available?

Apprenticeships are available from level 2 (intermediate) to degree level (level 6/7). 

Some apprenticeships will require you to start at Level 2, regardless of your previous qualifications; these tend to be skilled trades where you need to learn the basic skills before you can progress. Other apprenticeships will allow you to go straight in at a higher level, providing you have appropriate qualifications and are in a job role that supports achievement of the competence qualifications. Our apprenticeship course sheets explain the entry criteria for each apprenticeship.

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

If you would like to study an apprenticeship with us, please click the apply now button for full time or apprenticeships.

How much can I expect to earn as an apprentice?

As you would expect, your earning potential as an apprentice will be in line with the industry that you are choosing to enter. Initially you may find that you’re being paid a minimum wage, however, as your skills and knowledge grow and you become more valuable to your employer, you will almost certainly find that this is reflected in your wage packet.

All apprentices must receive a minimum hourly rate of £4.15 in the first year of their apprenticeship based on the National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage within the current financial year. This minimum usually rises from 1st April OR 1st October each year.

Do I have to pay anything to become an apprentice?

You don’t have to pay anything. Employers, with the exception of small employers (with less than 50 employees) training a 16-18 year old apprentice, are expected to contribute to the cost of the training.

As an apprentice, you have the same employment rights and responsibilities as any other employee and you will not be treated any differently. You are entitled to holidays, fair working hours and breaks. The tasks you are asked to carry out may differ slightly because you are undergoing a training programme.

What support will I get from Aspiral Learning?

When you start your apprenticeship you will be assigned a Training Consultant who will create a learning plan for you and review your progress throughout the apprenticeship. Your mentor is also there to deal with any concerns or issues you may have with either the apprenticeship programme or your employer. You will also have a Tutor if you are attending college, an Assessor for the work based learning element and access to the college's learner services department.

What qualifications will I get at the end of my apprenticeship?

During your apprenticeship, you will be working towards a number of qualifications that combine both work-place based tasks and theory knowledge. When you complete, as well as these individual qualifications, you will receive an overall apprenticeship certificate as well.

If you don’t have a grade A* to C (9 to 4) in English and/or maths, you will continue to study English and maths functional skills, as appropriate. For some apprenticeships, there is also a requirement to study functional skills IT, if you don’t already have an equivalent GCSE IT qualification at grade A* to C (9 to 4). Functional skills will not be required for most higher apprenticeships as you would have achieved these prior to enrolling. These qualifications are nationally recognised and your programme can be transferred to an alternative employer at any point, if necessary.

How can I progress after completing my apprenticeship?

You may wish to progress onto the next level of apprenticeship which would have to be in agreement with your employer as they will need to provide continued support. BCoT also offer a variety of part time evening courses which may benefit you in your job role and career progression.

What apprenticeships are offered through Aspiral Learning?

For a list of all our current apprenticeship programmes please see our most up-to-date course list.

You can explore all of our current apprenticeship job advertisements from local and national employers on our vacancies page.

 

Employers FAQs

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme designed around the needs of employers, which can lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships at BCoT do have entry criteria and each candidate will be assessed to ascertain their current level to ensure suitability onto the chosen apprenticeship programme.

Apprenticeships are available for newly recruited staff and existing employees and there is no maximum age restriction. They help to refresh, enhance and develop your workforce to meet the growing needs of your business. Upon completion of an apprenticeship, employees not only achieve a nationally recognised qualification but will have gained the skills and knowledge required to make a positive impact within your organisation.

How can an apprentice benefit my business?

Taking on an apprentice or providing opportunities for your existing staff to undertake an apprenticeship can benefit you as an employer by:

  • Reducing advertising and recruitment costs - Aspiral Learning can advertise your vacancy, free of charge, through the National Apprenticeship Service, recruitment websites and social media. Training apprentices is more cost effective than hiring pre-skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs.
  • Providing cost effective training - Aspiral Learning can access government funding through the Skills Funding Agency to contribute towards the cost of the training.
  • Offering a flexible, convenient training programme, tailored to meet your organisational needs - Aspiral Learning will work with you to ensure that the apprentices' learning plan compliments their job role and the requirements of your business.
  • Developing a well-trained, committed and motivated workforce - apprentices are predominantly more eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that has invested in them.
  • Increasing productivity and performance - a majority of employers say that apprenticeships helped them to improve productivity and to be more competitive.

 

Useful links: www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/employers/

Find out more about the benefits to your business as explained by Amazing Apprenticeships.

What is the cost of an apprenticeship?

Small employers (up to 50 employees) training 16-18 year olds can claim full funding from the government. They are also given an employer incentive payment of £1,000 over two installments.

Larger employers (with a salary over £3 million) can use their Apprenticeship Levy. They are also given an employer incentive payment of £1,000 over two installments for training 16-18 year olds.

All other employers who don’t pay the Levy are expected to contribute 5% of the cost of the training with the Government paying the other 95%. Again, if training 16-18 year olds, they are also entitled to the employer incentive payment of £1,000 paid in two instalments.

How is the training delivered?

Apprenticeships are delivered in two ways and described as work based learning or day release.

  • Day release - requires college attendance one day a week for the duration of their apprenticeship programme.
  • Work based learning – full delivery in the workplace with no college attendance required.

What support is available for employers?

  • Promotion of your vacancy through Aspiral Learning's database of applicants
  • Screening for literacy & numeracy levels for new recruits and existing employees
  • Further in-depth screening for training needs takes place for those candidates progressing to advanced apprenticeships and other training programmes
  • Aspiral Learning will carry out a Health & Safety audit to ensure that your premises comply with up to date Health & Safety legislation
  • A Training Consultant will be allocated to each apprentice and will provide you with regular feedback on progress
  • Reviews by the Training Consultant will take place at least once every 6-12 weeks
  • If training is delivered in the workplace, an assessor will visit your apprentice once every 2-4 weeks
  • Funding and government incentive payments to assist with the cost of training

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

  • To contribute towards training fees where applicable.
  • To pay the apprentice a fair rate of pay; taking into account learner status, market forces and your own pay policy. The minimum hourly rate for apprentices in England is currently £4.15 (as of April 2020).
  • To provide each apprentice with a contract of employment, outlining the terms and conditions of their job. 
  • To provide each apprentice with an induction into the workplace, this should include all Health & Safety regulations specific to your industry.
  • To provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as necessary.
  • To support the achievement of the qualification by ensuring the apprentice produces relevant work by set target dates.
  • Ensure the apprentice is provided with the time needed to attend day release training sessions and for tutor and training consultant visits if applicable.
  • Appoint a nominated supervisor to mentor the apprentice through their training.
  • Ensure that you have the proper pension provision in place should this be applicable. The Pensions Regulator explains the requirements needed to fulfill the scheme in your workplace.

How do I recruit an apprentice?

If you are interested in recruiting an apprentice, please contact our Business Development Team:

 

We will check our files and recommend suitable candidates for your consideration. If there are no suitable candidates held on file then we can assist by:

  • Advertising the vacancy free of charge on the National Apprenticeship Service vacancy website and across our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Screening any subsequent applicants to ensure they qualify for the Apprenticeship and match your criteria
  • Provide you with a short list of suitable candidates

Can I put my existing staff through an apprenticeship programme?

Yes. Apprenticeships are not only for school and college leavers seeking employment; your existing staff can also enjoy the benefits. Employers find that training their existing staff through an apprenticeship programme is a cost effective training solution.


Aspiral Learning offer a wide range of apprenticeships (including a management degree apprenticeship), with some programmes starting at any point throughout the year, please contact the team to discuss in further detail.

Are there any apprenticeship incentive payments currently available?

Yes, apprenticeship employer incentive payments of £1000 are available to any employer training a 16-18 year old apprentice; paid in two instalments of £500 after 90 days and 365 days. Employers are not required to pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25. 

Additional COVID-19 Grants

Between 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021, all business who hire new apprentices are entitled to an additional Government COVID-19 Grant:

  • £2000 for apprentices aged 16 - 24 at enrolment
  • £1500 for apprentices aged 25 years at enrolment

 

The grants are paid in two instalments of 50% after 90 days and 50% after 365 days.

The COVID-19 grant is in addition to the incentive payment for apprentices aged 16 - 18 years of age, with £3000 the maximum amount an employer can receive until 31 January 2021. 

How do I set up a Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) Account?

All apprenticeship employers in England can now access the full benefits of the Education and Skills Funding Agency's (ESFA), Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account. The service provides employers with control over how to pay for apprenticeship training, manage current apprentices on their programmes, and recruit new apprentices. 

We have created a how-to guide providing a step by step explanation and useful video tutorials to assist in creating a DAS account. 

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