What are Apprenticeships?

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Apprenticeships - explained by our team

How Apprenticeships work

Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job. 

Apprentices can be new or current employees.

You will be paid at the apprentice the minimum wage. However, many employers pay more!

As an apprentice you will:

  • work with experienced staff 
  • work in a real job for at least 30 hours per week
  • study an apprenticeship designed and respected by industry expert employers
  • learn job-specific skills at workplace
  • get paid to train job specific knowledge and skills plus learn English, math and ICT
  • get time for training or study during your working week at the college (at least 20% of your normal working hours)
  • achieve a recognised qualification and work experience to progress quicker in your chosen career

Usually, apprentices will be placed with an employer working full time 4 days per week with 1 day a week college attendance studying the qualification.

You could be studying at our Hayes, Uxbridge, Harrow or Richmond campuses depending on which qualification you are studying.

Minimum apprenticeship duration is 1 year and 1 week however programme duration varies depending on which qualification you are studying. Apprenticeship duration can be found on our subject area information pages.

Apprentice minimum wage is £6.50 per hour. However most employers may pay more than this.  

Apprenticeships are free for the students so if you are thinking to do an apprenticeship, there will be no cost for you to pay. In fact, you will get paid to do an apprenticeship.

Your employer is responsible for:

  • giving you your contract of employment
  • paying your wage
  • signing an apprenticeship agreement with you and your training provider.

You should be paid as an apprentice for time spent training or studying for your apprenticeship. Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their normal working hours training.

The training might take place:

  • at your place of work
  • somewhere else (for example, a college or training provider)
  • online

If you are also studying for Functional Skills in English or maths which is required by your apprenticeship, you are entitled to paid study time during your normal working hours but it is not included within the 20% off the job training.


Anyone aged 16 years and over is eligible to apply for an apprenticeship. You must be living in the UK for at least 3 years or have permanent residency status in the UK.

So no matter what your plan is, Apprenticeships help!

  • Career after Year 11
  • Career progression at work
  • Career after a break
  • Career change.

There are several steps to becoming an apprentice.

Unemployed apprentices:

  • Apply for a vacancy on our website.
  • Robust initial interview
  • Initial assessment
  • Initial scan
  • Curriculum interview
  • Set individual end date
  • Once Approved by curriculum, CV sent to employer for interview consideration
  • If get through interview successfully, you start your apprenticeship after making an apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement with your employer.

Employed apprentices:

  • Robust initial interview
  • Curriculum interview to confirm suitability
  • Assess Job role fit for purpose to cover assessment range
  • Complete skills scan
  • Set individual end date
  • Start your apprenticeship

Yes, graduates can apply for an apprenticeship in a different field to their qualification. For example, a business graduate is eligible to apply for an apprenticeship in the construction sector.

Ready to find out more?