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Apprentice FAQs

What exactly is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship offers the opportunity to gain a nationally, increasingly internationally, recognised set of qualifications through practical training on and off the job. Apprentices gain job-specific skills, work alongside experienced staff whilst earning a wage.

An apprenticeship really does offer you the best of both worlds.
As an apprentice you are an employee, with employee’s rights, wages and holiday entitlements.

In addition to earning whilst you learn, on completing your apprenticeship you’ll also have solid industry experience and valuable references on your CV.

Will I pay tax?

Yes – if you meet the tax threshold. As an apprentice you are employed and all employees aged over 16 must pay tax on their income. However, if you are under 25 you are not required to a Class 2 national insurance contribution. Tax with be deducted as part of your employers PAYE process.

Will I need to have an interview?

If you are applying for a new job and your application is successful, you will be put forward for interview. If you’re already employed, it’s unlikely you’ll need to have an interview, It is important to be prepared for your interview and we can help you prepare for this.

Can I undertake an apprenticeship with my current employer?

Yes. If you already have a job and wish to gain a nationally recognised qualification in that role, an apprenticeship is a great way to do it. A great way to start is to visit our employing an apprentice page ready to discuss with your employer or give us a call on 0800 783 2545

Will it cost me anything?

No. Your employer pays your wage and we apply for government funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency to support the cost of your qualification.
Currently 100% funding is available for apprentices ages 16 – 18 and 90% for those aged 19 + (subject to the employers levy status).

You or your employer can call us to discuss any questions you have regarding funding on 0800 783 2545.

Will I be entitled to holidays?

Yes. As an employee you are entitled to the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes holiday and sick pay and any other benefits offered to other members of staff such as childcare vouchers.

Details of this will be set out in your contract of employment provided by your employer.

Can I get a NUS Card?

Yes! apprentices are entitled to a NUS Card through the National Union of Students. For just £12 this card entitles you to discounts at many of your favourite high street and online retailers.

When can I start?

An apprenticeship is a job and in no way related to the academic calendar. You can apply for an apprenticeship at any time of the year.

Starting your training depends upon the availability of a suitable position being offered by an employer and your success in being accepted by that employer to undertake that role.

Your start date will need to coincide with your apprenticeship enrolment date. Your Personal Trainer will visit you and your employer at your new place of work on your first day.

Do I have to find a job first?

If you’re not currently employed or looking for a new job, you can apply for apprenticeship vacancies advertised by employers looking to employ an apprentice, as you must be employed to undertake an apprenticeship.

You can view current vacancies here: apprenticeship vacancies

If you already have a job and wish to gain a qualification in that industry as an apprentice, this is possible subject to your employer’s agreement.

Can I refer a friend?

Yes. We’d love you to spread the word about the terrific learning opportunities we offer at Paragon Skills. We run lots a great incentive offers if you refer a friend, including entry into a monthly prize draw once your friend has completed 8 weeks of their course. The more friends you refer, the better your chances! Contact us to find out more.

What will I be paid?

One of the best advantages of apprenticeships is that you can earn whilst you learn. You will be doing a real job and must be paid at least the national minimum apprenticeship wage, which is currently £3.70 per hour.

This applies to all apprentices in the 1st year of their apprenticeship, and 16 to 18 year olds in any year of their apprenticeship.

If you are 19 or over and have completed the 1st year of your apprenticeship, you are entitled to the minimum wage applicable to your age. This is currently £5.90 for 18 – 20 year olds, £7.38 for anyone aged 21 – 24 and £7.83 for 25’s and over. However, many employers pay significantly more.

Do I need experience and qualifications?

For many apprenticeships, no experience or qualifications are required.
Some apprenticeships do require some qualifications – at Paragon Skills we can discuss your unique situation, skills, interests and qualifications and advise you on the best route for you. To find out more you can call 0800 783 2545

Will I need a CV?

You won’t always need a CV, however it is good practice to put one together. If you are applying for a job or apprenticeship and need one we can help you with this and give you help and advice on interview techniques.

Does it matter how old I am?

There is no age limit, though you do need to be 16 to start your apprenticeship; your age does have an influence over the level of funding that can be claimed to support your training.

If you are aged between 16 – 18, your training will be fully funded 100% by the Government. Training for apprentices aged 19+ will be funded 90% by the Government and 10% by the employer. (depending on whether or not they are a Levy or Non-levy paying employer).

You can call us to discuss your options on 0800 783 2545.

How long will it take?

In the sectors we work in, an apprenticeship takes 12 months to 36 months, however this can vary depending on the hours worked, the industry sector and level of qualification.

Will I really be employed?

Yes. You will be officially employed and given a contract of employment/apprentice agreement which will include details of your working week, wage and holiday entitlement. You will be entitled to the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles.

How many hours will I have to work?

Apprentices usually work for at least 30 paid hours a week and must work more than 16.

Details of your exact working hours will be determined by your employer and set out in your apprenticeship agreement / contract of employment.

What happens when I finish my apprenticeship?

Your employer is under no obligation to keep you on once you complete your apprenticeship. They can choose whether to let you go or to offer you a permanent position.

If they do decide to offer you permanent employment you will need to consider the opportunities this gives you and how you wish to proceed with your career and development.

As your apprenticeship training provider we are very much involved in your career progression and will discuss your next steps with you.

What do I do now?

If you are keen to get started on an apprenticeship, then call us today on 0800 783 2545. We can discuss the opportunities available to you, your next steps and arrange for a basic assessment to ensure you are on the right learning journey for you.

Will I need to learn in a classroom?

No. The majority of our apprenticeships are 100% on-the-job training with no requirement to train offsite. The exception to this are apprenticeships in the Automotive and Engineering sectors where some time each week will be at our state-of-the-art skills centres.

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