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Apprenticeship FAQs

Apprenticeships are growing fast and we are often asked similar questions in regards 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, and earning a salary.

They can take between one and four years depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentices' ability and the industry sector. Usually they take 12-24 months. Anyone living in England, over the age of 16, and not in full time education can apply.

What if I don't currently have an employer?

Aspiral Learning works closely with employers to help them fill apprenticeship vacancies. Please do not rely on this though. We always recommend that you actively seek employment yourself. You are also able to search for vacancies on the National Apprenticeship Service website and the Apprentices for Business website.

Apprentices for Business work closely with Aspiral Learning to provide flexible recruitment and they will endeavour to match you with employers who are looking to recruit motivated young people.

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

You must have an employer in a relevant industry

BCoT can support you in finding an Apprenticeship position with an employer.

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.

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 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. As an employee who has come to learn, 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 packed.

All apprentices must receive a minimum hourly rate of £3.50 in the first year of their apprenticeship. (NB: this usually rises from 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 employee, 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?

On 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 too.

If you don’t have a grade A* to C (4 to 9) in English and/or maths, you will continue to study English and maths functional skills, as appropriate.  For some apprenticeships, there is also a requirements to study functional skills IT, if you don’t already have an equivalent GCSE IT qualification at grade A* to C (4 to 9). 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.


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 invested in them.
  • Increasing productivity and performance - a majority of employers say that apprenticeships helped them to improve productivity and to be more competitive.

What is the cost of an Apprenticeship?

Employers, with the exception of small employers (up to 50 employees) training 16-18 year old apprentices, are expected to contribute towards the cost of the training.

Larger employers (with a paybill over £3 million) can use their levy funds to pay for the training. Other employers (except those previously mentioned) who don’t pay the levy are expected to contribute 10 % to the costs of the training with the Government paying the other 90%. The costs vary depending on the apprenticeship programme.

Click here to view the new Funding Guide for Employers for Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships for those 24 years of age and above, which was issued by the National Apprenticeship Service.

How is the training delivered?

For apprenticeships in Engineering, Automotive, Hairdressing, Beauty, Barbering, Accountancy and Construction, learners attend college on a day release basis.

Apprenticeships in Business Administration, Childcare, Customer Service, Management, Team Leading, Support Teaching and Learning, Hospitality and Warehousing are delivered in the workplace and can be started at any time of the year. Please contact us for further details.

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 grants 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 £3.50 (from October 2017).
  • To provide each apprentice with a contract of employment, outlining the terms and conditions of their job.. For more advice on contracts, please click here. Should you need expert advice, please click here.
  • 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. For further advice on this, please click here.

How do I recruit an apprentice?

If you are interested in recruiting an apprentice please contact Claire Morris, Business Development Manager, on 07827 360667. 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:

  • Liaising with you to establish the type of person that you are looking for
  • Advertising the vacancy free of charge on the National Apprenticeship Service vacancy website and across our social media channels: 
  • 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) that can be started at any point throughout the year, please contact the team to discuss in further detail.

Are there any Apprenticeship grants currently available?

Yes, grants of £1000 are available for small employers (up to 50 employees) training a 16-18 year old apprentice.   

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