The Engineering Trust

All about apprenticeships

Choice is a good thing!
Whether choosing a film, going to a concert or ordering a Pizza - it is fantastic to be able to choose. Figuring out next steps either after formal education or within your career can be a challenge and it is important to give yourself choices.
Actively exploring what lies ahead can help you see what options you have. We have created this simple overview about apprenticeships, so you can make an informed decision if this route is an option for you.

Advice for school and college leavers

You can start an apprenticeship at any age after 16 so those figuring out what to do after their GCSE’s, A Levels or college course have several options.

At 16, you must continue in education or training until you’re 18, that’s the law, so no way of getting round that. You have 3 decisions at this point.

  1. Stay on at school and complete year 12 and 13 doing A levels
  2. Go to a college and complete a Level 2 or Level 3 course
  3. Complete an apprenticeship


At 18, you have slightly different options.

  1. Go to university / college
  2. Get a job
  3. Complete an apprenticeship


In our opinion the third option in both instances is a really good one! However, the most important thing is to give yourself options.

Whilst choosing what you want to do next, you don’t have to commit to just one route. If you are unsure, it is best to apply and try to secure multiple options. By adopting this approach, you will have the flexibility of more than one option plus the freedom to choose which route to take when the time comes. This is definitely a good position to find yourself in! For example, you can apply for and secure a place on a college course alongside applying for apprenticeships that interest you.  

Advice for those who have already left school or college

Anyone can do an apprenticeship, whether you are an existing employee of a business, unemployed or looking to change your career path. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain new skills and kick start a career in an industry within which you want to work.

Prior Learning

Apprenticeships can be selected after establishing your previous learning and any experience gained in a specific industry. If you have relevant prior learning you can still do an apprenticeship however the training provider would need to take this into consideration when setting the level and/or structure of the apprenticeship.  

What is an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a job with training, giving you the opportunity to gain a qualification and work experience whilst earning a wage. Most apprenticeships will lead to a full- time position with the company that employed you during the apprenticeship. The combined learning and work experience increases your employability in the future and creates endless prospects - a great way to unlock your potential.

You will be employed by the business

You are employed by the company and will receive the same terms of employment and benefits as any other employee. You will have an employment contract which will set out all these elements including holiday entitlement, wages and other conditions under which you are employed.

You will be paid

As an apprentice you get a salary which is determined by the employer. There is a national minimum wage for apprentices however some employers will pay above and beyond this.

You will have work hours each week

Most apprenticeships are full time, 5 days a week and the weekly hours will be set by the employer. However, an apprentice is not allowed to work more than 40 hours per week so your work hours will remain within this limit.

You will gain formal qualifications  

This depends on the type and level of apprenticeship you are completing. Different apprenticeships, in different industries will have different requirements for their apprenticeships.  

For example, if completing one of our L3 Engineering apprenticeships, you would receive an Apprenticeship Completion Certificate, a L3 Engineering Diploma and an L3 NVQ Diploma.  

Level 4 – 7 you begin to work towards a degree and masters qualifications.

Qualifications such as Certificates or Diplomas are usually delivered by either day or block release. This means time away from your employer in a college or training centre with formal teaching or knowledge or skills.   

You don’t have to pay towards your training

The cost of your training is met by the employer who is able to access support from the government. Generally, the employer will also provide you with any tools needed for the job and any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required. You will have to cover the cost of getting to and from work so your location in relation to the employer is something that you should consider before applying or accepting an apprenticeship.  

How to find an apprenticeship

There are various organisations that deliver apprenticeships – Colleges, some Employers and Independent Training Providers like us; each of these organisations will have some but not all of the opportunities available. An employer will choose an organisation for programme delivery based on their requirements and the suitability of the programme. Hence different employers will seek different providers for apprenticeship delivery. The best place to look for all apprenticeships is on the government’s Find an Apprenticeship website. All organisations place their opportunities on this site, and you can search by industry and location to see what is available close to you.

It is an ever-changing landscape

Not all apprenticeship opportunities will be advertised at the same time. In the run up to your preparation to start an apprenticeship, it is important to regularly check the Find an Apprenticeship website. With new opportunities being added all the time, no week is like the previous one.

Here is the link to the Find an Apprenticeship website:

How to secure an apprenticeship

Securing a role as an apprentice is the same as finding any other job. You will go through an application process and need to demonstrate to the employer you are the right person for the role. It is crucial to take your time to complete application forms diligently and prepare well for any interviews you are invited to.

It’s a competitive process – apply for multiple apprenticeships

As with any other job, you are likely to be in a pool of people who have applied for the same apprenticeship. You may do everything right however still not get the apprenticeship. It is important therefore to apply for multiple apprenticeships simultaneously to give yourself options, should one or several opportunities not go your way.

More application and interview tips here >