Questions Answered

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are the very best way of getting the skilled workforce you want, trained to your ways from day one!

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, that enable employers to develop their workforce in a real working situation, achieving nationally recognised qualifications to industry standards. As well as teaching practical skills and the underpinning knowledge to go with those skills, they also develops the individual in a holistic manner through a better understanding of the workplace and Employment Rights and Responsibilities.

There are two levels of Apprenticeship:

Apprenticeships; which are designed for 16 -18 year olds who are just starting out at work, and will lead to an NVQ at level 2, Functional Skills at levels 1 or 2, an industry specific Technical Certificate and Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR).

Advanced Apprenticeships; designed for employees who have either completed an Apprenticeship, or who have the appropriate experience or qualifications, usually aged 18+. They focus on more advanced craft and supervisory skills, leading to an NVQ at level 3, Functional Skills at levels 2 or 3, an industry specific Technical Certificate and Employment Rights and Responsibilities and Rights.

For more on Apprenticeships visit

What is an NVQ?

NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification. These are vocational qualifications, recognised across the country and throughout all industries. NVQs are always focussed on the workplace and are based on competency, relevant skills for the job and and practical knowledge. The qualifications are achieved through a series of continual practical assessments rather than final exams. NVQs are designed by industry, for industry.

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills are designed to raise personal, transferable skill levels. They develop the practical everyday skills of the individual to make them a more rounded and efficient employee. The skills developed are essential in the workplace and used in day-to-day situations. Subjects covered include communication, using numbers at work, information technology and working with others.

For more on Functional Skills visit:

What is a technical certificate?

A qualification that is specific to each industry, and is designed to develop underpinning knowledge, skills and confidence. It is issued by the appropriate Awarding Body for the vocation chosen, but could be for example, BTEC (Edexel) or City and Guilds. Training for this is usually carried out off-the-job at our Training Centres. Technical certificates are proof that the apprentice fully understands the theory behind the job as well as being able to carry out the practical tasks.

Who is eligible?

To get full government funding an Apprentice must:

  • be working at least 16 hours per week
  • not have completed a university degree or be studying on a government funded course
  • be between 16 and 19 years old. For 19 – 24 funding may be available for certain vocations. Please contact us to discuss this further
  • have a National Insurance number.

We are happy to discuss commercial rates for training employees aged 24+.

How much will it cost me?

Not as much as you might think! If the above criteria are met, the government funds the majority of the training cost. However, it is government policy that employers should contribute, particularly in the case of the 19+ age group. The amount contributed will depend on a number of factors and can be agreed on an individual basis. Please contact us for further details.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

You have the same responsibilities for an apprentice as you have for any other of your employees. For example, you will have to ensure that all legal requirements in terms of Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities and working hours are met.

Ideally you will appoint a manager to be responsible for the Apprentice. This person will have an important role to play in the training of the Apprentice.
You will give the Apprentice a full induction to your company and their job role and provide their on-the-job training.

You will be responsible for paying the Apprentice’s wages; this should be at least the appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for their age.

Our staff are always on hand to advise and support you with any concerns you may have in this area.

For more information on the NMW visit:

Do I have to employ the Apprentice from the start?

You have a number of options open to you but you do not have to employ someone until you are absolutely sure:

  • Employed by your Company – the young person is employed directly by you under your company’s terms and conditions of employment
  • On a trial placement with your Company – We have many young people who are undertaking a pre-apprenticeship programme known as the Pioneers Programme or Foundation Learning Programme. They are available for work trial placements. This is a good way for you to see for yourself what they can do before takings steps to recruit them under either of the above two options

How long do Apprenticeships take?

Apprenticeships can vary in duration from 1-2 years depending on the vocation chosen. When completed an Apprenticeship is equivalent to 5 GCSEs.

Advanced Apprenticeships can vary in duration from 2-4 years depending on the vocation chosen. When completed they are equivalent to 2 A Levels.

How much time will the Apprentice spend away from work?

Most of the training takes place on-the-job in the workplace and we provide additional training, support, guidance and assessment. Training sessions with our specialists will be scheduled as and when they are needed. The frequency of the sessions will depend upon the programme chosen, but can range from weekly day release to once or twice a month. All training requirements will be agreed with you prior to the start of the programme. As the Apprentice develops and matures, the benefits of the training will become apparent in the workplace as the skills and knowledge learnt are put into practice.

How do I go about taking on an Apprentice?

Talk to us.

There are a number of ways to contact us:

Freephone 0800 783 2545




Published on Monday, 20 January 2014

Case Study


Carl Selby at the Pines Residential Care Home

A Senior Care Assistant, Carl has now completed an NVQ Level 2

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