What’s an Apprenticeship

What’s an Apprenticeship

Discover an alternative route to a successful career with an Apprenticeship at Trafford College. Starting an apprenticeship isn’t like studying a traditional academic course or choosing a vocational pathway. They help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in a chosen industry.

80% Industry and 20% Classroom

Your time will be predominantly spent working first-hand in your chosen industry on your apprenticeship placement.

Earn a Wage

As an apprentice you'll be paid a wage standard. After all, you are also an employee. More details can be found below.

Hands-on Experience

There's a reason more and more people are choosing apprenticeships; you develop important skills in an actual workplace and you don’t pay any course fee’s.

Early Employment

Getting into employment earlier means there's lots of potential for you to progress in your career quickly

Apprenticeship Vacancies

What you need to know

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that are designed to help employers to train you for specific job roles. As an apprentice, you’ll get a paying job with valuable training while you work towards a nationally recognised apprenticeship. In short, with an apprenticeship you can get paid, get trained and get qualified.

Anyone aged 16 years old and above can start an apprenticeship. There is no upper age limit. Being an apprentice means that you will be an employee earning a wage and getting holiday pay, working alongside experienced staff, gaining job-specific skills and getting  time for training and study related to your role (at least 20% of your normal working hours).

The apprentice rate is currently £5.28 per hour and is the minimum amount an apprentice can be paid. Many employers will pay you more than this, with the average salary being £10,000, depending on the sector, region and apprenticeship level. For example, some higher apprenticeships can pay as much as £300 – £500 per week. As an apprentice, you must be paid at least the minimum rate if you’re under 19 or in the first year of your apprenticeship.

If you’re over 19, following the first year of apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the minimum wage for your age group.

National Minimum Wage*

Apprentice Rate

18 to 20 years

21 to 22 years

25 and over





*Accurate as of April 2021

During your apprenticeship programme you will work towards a nationally devised Standard which lists specific  skills, knowledge and behaviours necessary for the industry. There may also be a requirement for you to achieve Functional Skills in subjects such as English and maths, however you may be exempt from these depending on your GCSE grades. Once these requirements are achieved an apprentice will then be formally assessed by an independent subject expert prior to your apprenticeship being achieved.

Your apprenticeship is accredited by relevant industry regulatory bodies and so this will help you to progress directly into your chosen career.

The duration of an apprenticeship depends on what course you choose and your individual ability. An apprenticeship can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of apprenticeship, your abilities as an apprentice and the industry sector.

As a guide, an intermediate Level 2 apprenticeship usually takes around 12 to 18 months and an advanced Level 3 apprenticeship takes around 24 months.

Each apprenticeship is different but all apprenticeships have a significant element of training which much account for 20% of your time. This training will help you develop your knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary for your industry. Some apprenticeships require aspects of the training to be completed at college on a day release model, whilst other apprenticeships are delivered entirely in the workplace.

All apprenticeships programmes include the building of a portfolio of evidence which will help you demonstrate your abilities. Your college trainer will visit in the workplace and observe your practice and help you to progress. These visits normally occur every three to five weeks and your workplace manager will be asked to discuss your progress.

If you are completing one of the new apprenticeships called a ‘Standard’, then towards the end of your apprenticeship you will need to complete a number of activities which summarises your ability – this is called your End Point Assessment (EPA). The EPA is completed to assess the knowledge, skills and behaviours that you have learnt throughout the apprenticeship. You will practise parts of the EPA assessment throughout the apprenticeship and you will only take the final assessment when you feel ready. The content of the EPA will vary, depending on the course you’re completing. Once the EPA is completed then you will have successfully achieved your apprenticeship and you will receive a nationally recognised certificate to show current and future employers.

There are four levels of apprenticeship:

  • Level 2: Intermediate Level Apprenticeship (equivalent GCSE)
  • Level 3: Advanced Level Apprenticeship (equivalent to A Levels)
  • Level 4, 5 ,6 , and 7: Higher Apprenticeship (Foundation Degree level and above)
  • Level 6 and 7: Degree Apprenticeship Bachelor’s or master’s degree)

The level of apprenticeship which you will study towards depends on a number of factors including (i) the complexity of your role in the organisation as an apprentice and (ii) your previous qualifications and experience.

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