Guide to apprenticeships

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a genuine job and under all circumstances you should be employed from day one. Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. As an apprentice, you will:

  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • be given time for study related to your role (the equivalent of one day a week)

There are over 280 types of apprenticeship and over 1,500 job roles – anything from engineering and boat building, to veterinary nursing and accountancy.

Currently there are more than 150,000 employers offering apprenticeships in more than 200,000 locations, covering more than 170 industries across the UK.

An apprenticeship usually takes between one-three years to complete, although some take longer. All apprenticeships are made up of two main elements; on the job training which is done in the workplace, and off the job training which can be done online or in a classroom or training centre.

Research shows the majority of apprentices (85%) stay in employment on completion of their apprenticeship, with 64% staying with the same employer. In addition a third of all apprentices received a promotion within a year of finishing their apprenticeship.


What does an apprentice earn?

This is not a simple question as all employers decide on their own rates of pay. There is a National Minimum apprenticeship rate of £3.70 per hour, which is approximately £130 per week or £6760 per year (as from April 2018).
However most employers in this area choose to pay more in order to attract the right person for the job.

In August 2018 96% of apprenticeship vacancies offered in Warrington paid more than the National Minimum, some considerably more, with the highest rate of pay being £12 per hour, which is approximately £421 per week or £22,000 per year.


What levels of apprenticeship are there?

All apprenticeships fall into one of four levels, the level of any individual apprenticeship is decided by the employer, as are the entry requirements.


Apprenticeship Level Equivalent educational level
Degree Apprenticeship Bachelor’s or master’s degree
Higher Apprenticeship Foundation degree or HND
Advanced Apprenticeship 2 A level passes/Level 3 Diploma
Intermediate Apprenticeship 5 GCSE passes at grade A*– C or 9 – 4


All apprenticeships include elements of on the job and off the job training, leading to industry recognised standards or qualifications. Some apprenticeships also require an assessment at the end of the programme to assess the apprentice`s ability and competence in their job role.

Who is involved in an apprenticeship?

The Apprentice – Their responsibility is to meet the terms of their contract and to undertake both
the work and training tasks assigned to them by their manager / supervisor.

The Employer – They employ and pay the apprentice, as well as provide the on the job training.
Many large employers with big H.R. / Training departments and facilities act as
their own training provider.

The Training Provider – They provide the off-the-job training, assess the apprentices’ progress
towards achieving their qualifications and support them generally
throughout their apprenticeship.


Apprenticeships after Priestley

Each year approximately half of those students who leave Priestley with Level 3 qualifications choose to go into employment and training, and because of their qualifications and skills, many of them secure some of the best apprenticeships available in the area. In recent years students have gone on to apprenticeships at major companies including the NHS, AMEC Nuclear, the BBC, Airbus, the Civil Service, Monarch Airlines, Barclays, Lloyds and BAE to name just a few. They have gone on to careers as diverse as engineers, trainee dental nurses, rugby players, administrators, teaching assistants, electricians, care home assistants and accountants.