Frequently Asked Questions for Apprentices

1. What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship combines real employment, college learning and work experience to ensure that you have the right balance of technical and practical skills. As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, on day-release or block-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised vocational and academic qualifications.

2. What are the levels of an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is for 16+ employees with at least five GCSEs including Maths (at grade B), English and a Science subject (grade C or above) who are aspiring to take up highly skilled roles within a company. The Engineering Apprenticeship start at Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship and now you can complete a Level 6 (Degree Apprenticeship), even a level 7 masters Degree Apprenticeship in some sectors. 

3. What is an Apprenticeship in Engineering?

You can do lots of different Apprenticeships in Engineering for example Civil, Building Services, Environmental, Rail Design and Transport Planning. The qualification will provide you with a structured programme to develop your engineering knowledge, skills and understanding these apprenticeships are designed to meet the requirements for professional Membership with the relevant Institution.  As such, should you be successful, you gain professional recognition and letters after your name.  They also offer natural progression routes, for those that want to pursue them, to Incorporated and Chartered Engineer with the appropriate formal education and training input.  This means that you can pursue a career as a professional engineer and earn while you learn.

4. Who can do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are available if you are leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. Minimum requirement 16+

5. Will I get paid to do it?

One of the great things about doing an apprenticeship is that you will get paid to do it. You are employed and so you get all the benefits such as holiday and sick leave as well. 

6. How much time will I be in training?

As part of the apprenticeship you will attend college/University on a day release basis.  In the company, the achievement of the competences should be part and parcel of your daily work.  Support will be given to help you with evidence collection which will be assessed and signed off on a regular basis by company and provider staff. Typically, a level 3 course lasts for two years with the work based element continuing for up to a further year – a maximum of three years in all. A level 6 course will last up to five years. 

7. Where can I find out about vacancies?

There are a number of different ways to find out about vacancies.  Many companies post apprenticeship vacancies on their website. They will appear on their websites usually in March - June.  You can also register on the Find an Apprenticeship website where all providers will post vacancies on behalf of employers. 

8. How do I apply?

Applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for a job so you will have to go through an application process. This will usually involve a written application and then an interview where you will have to impress the employer.

For help with your application read the guidance document “How to Write a Winning Apprenticeship Application” and visit the Apprenticeship Service website 

9. What do I do when I’ve finished my apprenticeship?

It is up to you and your company as to what you do when you have finished your apprenticeship.  If you want to you and are capable and your company is willing to support you there are opportunities with progression to higher level apprenticeships and part-time study in Higher Education to progress your career to become an Incorporated or Chartered Engineer.
By making sure you have all the information you need, you can make an informed decision about whether an apprenticeship is the right path for you.