Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do apprenticeships work?
A. An apprenticeship is a full-time job with training. The employer pays the apprentice a wage and gives the apprentice on and off-the-job training which gives the apprentice the skills and the qualifications they need to progress in their chosen career. Apprentices are fully employed, so will be entitled to the same employee rights and benefits as other employees, such as holiday pay.
Apprentices usually spend the majority of their time in their workplace. The amount of time that is spent away from work, being supported by a training provider, can vary greatly between different industries and different training organisations.
Q. Who can be an apprentice?
A. Apprenticeships are available to anyone 16 or over and living in England. There are no set entry requirements for apprenticeships; requirements will differ depending on the needs of the employer.
Q. What are the different levels of apprenticeship?
A. There are various levels of apprenticeship. The level an individual starts on will depend on their current skills and qualifications and what apprenticeship job role they are applying for. The levels are:
- Intermediate apprenticeship (level 2) – Equivalent to 5 GCSE passes
- Advanced apprenticeship (level 3) – Equivalent to 2 A-level passes
- Higher apprenticeship (level 4 and 5) – Equivalent to a foundation degree and above
- Degree apprenticeship (6 and 7) – Equivalent to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree
It is possible to progress through these levels or to move onto other programmes of study.
From September 2017 the new minimum English and maths requirements needed to complete an apprenticeship have been adjusted to Entry level 3 functional skills for a defined group of people with learning difficulties and disabilities. See here for more information.
Q. How long does it take to complete an apprenticeship?
A. Apprenticeships take between 1 – 5 years depending on the level, type of apprenticeship, sector and the ability and prior skills of the individual apprentice.
Q. How much do apprentices get paid?
A. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices is £4.15 per hour. The amount paid varies between employers, with most paying more than the minimum. As skills develop, many employers tend to increase wages. An apprentice pay survey in 2016 found that the average wage for level 3 apprentices was £7.62 per hour.
The apprentice NMW applies to all apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. An apprentice aged 19 or over, who has completed their first year must be paid at least the NMW rate for their age. For more information click here.
Q. How can you find the right apprenticeship for you?
A. Apprenticeships are available in most sectors, from engineering and construction to business, sport and media. If you are unsure which sector is right for you, it is a good idea to get some advice from a careers adviser. You can contact the National Careers Service for advice. Keep an open mind and explore apprenticeships that you might not have considered, also think about what is available in your local area if you don’t want to move away.
You can use the search function on this site to select the nearest town to where you live or work and the occupation that you are interested in. The results display information about the training organisations that are best suited to help you. You can then contact these organisations.
Q. Who are the training organisations?
A. Training organisations can be private organisations or local colleges. These organisations work with employers and organise and monitor the training programme part of the apprenticeship. You can find a list of some of the training organisations who deliver training in Sussex here.
Q. How are apprenticeships developed and who sets the course content?
A. Apprenticeships standards are designed by employers, meaning an apprentice will be developing the right skills and knowledge to be a success in their chosen industry.
Q. How much does it cost an employer to take on an apprentice?
A. The employer is responsible for paying the apprentice’s wages. The training costs will depend on the type of apprenticeship, the size of the employer and the age of the apprentice. More details are available here.
Q. Are there any incentive payments for employers?
A. Yes. Employers who recruit an apprentice aged between 16-18 (or under 25 with a EHCP) may be eligible for a payment of £1000.
In addition to the above payment, the government has introduced an incentive payment for employers who take on new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021. Employers will receive £2000 for apprentices aged 16 to 24 and £1500 for apprentices aged 25 and over.
Q. Are apprenticeships open to a company's existing employees?
Q. Are all apprentices employed?