Work and Apprenticeships

Our World of Work programme is designed to give you the edge when it comes to securing work after completing your A-Levels and BTECs. Over the academic year numerous workshops take place that include guest speakers from sectors including Business, Health and STEM.
In an increasingly competitive world it is important to stand out and World of Work will focus on the skills you need such as writing a CV or giving a good interview.
Employers are looking for people who are flexible, take the initiative and have the ability to undertake a variety of tasks in different environments.
Employability skills are not as narrowly prescribed and defined as in the past and generally they are more ‘service oriented’, making information and social skills increasingly important.
World of Work will help you to:
  • Identify your strengths so you can perform effectively in interviews
  • Find out about the kind of skills and characteristics sought after by employers
  • Better prepare for the working world
  • Take part in industry placements
  • Reflect on your progress through a personal journal
  • Develop team building skills which are valued by employers
  • Improve your social skills

Hundreds of Priestley students continue on to top apprenticeships every year as they pursue their dream careers. In recent years our students have gone on to work with the likes of Barclays, Jaguar, Fujitsu and United Utilities, to name just a few.

A number have become apprentice nuclear engineers while others have started their working life as trainee estate agents, accountants, nursery workers and sports coaches. We take great pride in the number of former students who have found apprenticeships and jobs.

A lot of these apprenticeships have been achieved through the sheer hard work of students, the identification and advertising of opportunities to students via the Careers page of Moodle and the weekly vacancy bulletin, as well as the strong links that Priestley enjoys with businesses in Warrington and the surrounding areas.

It is vital that young people are prepared for life either at university or in the workplace and Priestley delivers both. Former students have secured posts or training across a diverse range of subjects including IT, hairdressing, photography and care work.

If you think an apprenticeship is the right route for you, you might have some of the following questions;

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 programmes available in over 1500 different job roles, across 170 different sectors’ anything from engineering and boat building, to veterinary nursing and accountancy.

In 2018/19, there were 742,400 people participating in an apprenticeship in England, covering more than 170 industries.

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 65% staying with the same employer. In addition, a third of all apprentices received a promotion within a year of finishing their apprenticeship.

This is not a simple question as all employers decide on their own rates of pay. There is a National Minimum apprenticeship rate of £3.90 per hour, which is approximately £136 per week or £7072 per year (as from April 2019).

However, most employers in the Warrington area choose to pay more in order to attract the right person for the job.

In January 2020 77% of apprenticeship vacancies offered in Warrington paid more than the National Minimum, some considerably more, with the highest rate of pay being £327 per week or approximately £17,000 per year.

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 LevelEquivalent educational level
Degree ApprenticeshipBachelor’s or master’s degree
Higher ApprenticeshipFoundation degree or HND
Advanced Apprenticeship2 A level passes/Level 3 Diploma
Intermediate Apprenticeship5 GCSE passes at grade 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.

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.

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.

Supporting students making apprenticeships / employment applications

As a former student of Priestley we will support you with your apprenticeship / employment applications in a number of ways;

  • Our Careers Advisers will send via email each week during the summer break, the latest apprenticeship / employment vacancies we are notified of, to all our leavers who have not made a university application.
  • If once you leave college you are experiencing problems finding an apprenticeship / employment, you can contact the Careers Team on 01925 633591 to talk to one of our Careers Advisers about your situation. If necessary we can book you in for a one to one interview to help you with your job search.
  • As your applications progress, we will process any requests for a reference about you by potential employers. Please ask any potential employer requiring a reference to contact Student Services, as requests that go directly to former tutors may be delayed particularly during the summer break.
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