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What is an Apprenticeship?

Anyone living in England over the age of 16 and not in full-time education can apply for an Apprenticeship, which takes between 1 and 4 years to complete. Apprenticeships now cover over 1,500 job roles across 170 industries. Apprenticeships are now available up to degree level and beyond.

As an apprentice you will be an employee of a company doing a job whilst studying for your qualifications. You will be treated the same as any other employee at the company; entitled to a salary, paid holiday and a pension. In return you will be expected to do your job well and study hard to gain your qualifications. For most apprenticeships you will come to college to study towards your qualifications typically one day a week, as well as being assessed at work by one of the college’s assessors.

Both your employer and the College will support you to give you every chance of completing your apprenticeship.

There are various different levels of apprenticeships:

• Intermediate apprenticeship (Level 2); equivalent of 5 GCSE’s passes at Grade A to C

• Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3); equivalent to 2 A’levels

• Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships (level 4 or above)

Every apprenticeship is made up core components. The core components for intermediate and advanced apprenticeships are:

• A nationally recognised vocational qualification, this forms the Competence part of your apprenticeship and is the element that is assessed through the work you are doing

• A technical certificate such as a BTEC, this forms the Knowledge part of your apprenticeship and is the element that you would come to college for

• Functional Skills e.g. Maths, English and ICT

• Employee Rights and Responsibilities

• Personal Learning and Thinking Skills

To become an apprentice you need to apply for an apprenticeship job. You’ll find our current vacancies here or if there isn’t a job vacancy that suits you we can help find you an employer if you apply here. Also have a look at the national job board for apprenticeships here where all apprenticeship vacancies are listed. It will give you an idea of all the different types of apprenticeships , the jobs available and what the employers are looking for from you.

Our application process

When we receive your application we will ask for your CV. Depending on your suitability for the job and the apprenticeship we will invite you to the college for an interview. At the interview we want to find out more about you; why you want to do an apprenticeship: what your understanding of an apprenticeship is: your qualifications and achievements and any relevant interests or work experience you can offer. We will also need you to bring along your National Insurance number and exam certificates to the interview.

After a successful interview we will either recommend you to the employer that you’ve applied to or we will actively look for a suitable employer for you. If the employer chooses to interview you, we will give you as much support as you need in preparationto prepare. Once you’re successful an employment and apprenticeship start date will be agreed. The College will visit you within the first couple of weeks and complete all the necessary paperwork to get you started on your apprenticeship.

Things you need to know

• To be an apprentice you need to be 16 or over and have been resident in the UK or EU for at least 3 years

• Your apprenticeship will last at least 12 months, and many are longer

• You will need to be working for your employer for at least 30 hours per week and up to a maximum of 40 hours

• From your employer you will have a Contract of Employment which will detail your salary and other benefits

• As an apprentice you are entitled to a salary and at least 20 days holiday per year

• The National Minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.30 per hour, however most employers pay much more. The average annual salary in our area is around £10,000 per year

• In most apprenticeships you will be coming to college one day a week and at work for 4 days. During College holidays you are expected to be at work 5 days a week. Your employer pays you for 5 days a week including your college day.

• The qualifications you will work towards will be relevant to the job that you are doing at work. The College will create an individual learning plan for you which you will follow and be assessed on throughout your apprenticeship

• You will be fully supported by the teaching team at College and will have both an assessor and a named contact within our Training Solutions Department to support you

• Your assessor will visit you at work typically every 6 weeks, but it does depend on the apprenticeship you are doing

• Every apprentice is a student of Richmond upon Thames College and as such is entitled to use the facilities and services at the College.

• Care leavers will be boosted by a new £1,000 bursary payment if they choose to do an apprenticeship from August 2018. The extra financial support will be for those aged 16-24 and help them in the first year of their apprenticeship as learners transition into the workplace for their practical studies.

If you need any more information please conctact a member of the Training solutions team on 020 8607 8364 or email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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