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Are you leaving school and unsure about your next step? From September 2013 all students over the age of 16 have to continue education or training until at least 18.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stay on traditional sixth form or college courses. Gone are the days of having to stay in a classroom all day to get the qualifications you need. With an apprenticeship you can gain the skills and knowledge you need on the job, meaning you can get qualifications and a wage at the same time!
Apprenticeships are a great alternative to traditional learning, giving you the opportunity to be hands-on and develop skills needed in the workplace every day. In fact, in a 2013 survey by the National Apprenticeship Service, apprentices were recognised as being 15% more employable than students with other qualifications.
If you are over 16, live in England and are in paid employment, you can apply for an Apprenticeship. They take between one and four years to complete and are available in a wide range of industries, from customer service to childcare, engineering to construction trades.
If you are leaving school soon and are not yet employed but know who you want to work with, you should contact the employer to discuss the possibility of joining their team and starting an apprenticeship.
Step 1: Take a look at the list of apprenticeship courses available at Wiltshire College.
Step 2: Speak to your employer about starting an apprenticeship as they will be there to support you throughout your training.
Step 3: Apply for the course online at the bottom of the course page.
Wiltshire College work with over 500 employers across the South West to provide apprenticeships for our learners.
If you are looking to start an apprenticeship, but are not yet employed by a company, we have vacancies with local employers that could be the key to opening the door to your new career.
These vacancies are available now and ready to be filled by enthusiastic and hardworking individuals, meaning you could be stepping into your new career sooner than you think.
For details of all of our current apprenticeship vacancies, click the link below:
Click a question to view the answer.
Your employer provides your ‘on the job’ training and pays your wages. You will work alongside them and learn from some of the best in the business.
Wiltshire College will look after the rest of your training as you complete your ‘off the job’ training on day release or over a number of days in a block. You'll have regular visits at your place of work from your assessor or training co-ordinator who will help you with all aspects of your apprenticeship.
You may have to attend College regularly to complete essential knowledge elements of your chosen occupation and Functional Skills such as English, maths and IT. For some occupations you will be able to complete some practical work in the College workshops if you are unable to cover them in your workplace.
You need to be living in England and not taking part in full-time education. Apprenticeships are open to all people aged 16 years-old of over, whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career.
From September 2013 all students must continue training or education until the age of 18, so you could start an apprenticeship rather than attend sixth form or college. For more information, please see the Raising the Participation Age website.
There may be specific entry requirements for Apprenticeships depending on the occupational sector, for example certain GCSE grades or entry tests.
Degree Graduates are not eligible for funding, but can undertake an Apprenticeship if they or their employer is willing to pay the full cost.
Competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you.
You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.
All Apprenticeships lead to both knowledge and competence qualifications, together with Functional Skills - core elements of English and maths that will provide you with the skills and abilities you need to operate effectively at work.
In addition you will be assessed for Personal Learning and Thinking Skills, and learn about Employee Rights and Responsibilities.
There are 3 different levels:
You'll develop technical skills and gain valuable practical experience in your new occupation whilst working towards Level 2 vocational qualifications and Level 1or 2 Functional Skills (equivalent to 5 GCSE passes).
Once completed, there is the opportunity to progress to an Advanced Apprenticeship.
As an Advanced Apprentice you will be in full-time employment with an appropriate wage, aiming for a technical, supervisory or junior management role.
The training usually lasts between 1 and 3 years and leads to Level 3 qualifications and Level 2 Functional Skills (equivalent to 2 A Level passes).
For some, an Advanced Apprenticeship is a stepping stone to a Higher Apprenticeship, Diploma or degree level studies.
Higher Apprenticeships are increasingly being seen as an alternative to Higher National Diplomas and some University Courses, and are equivalent to a Foundation Degree.
You will continue in your vocational training at Level 4 both in the classroom and in the workplace. The training will last for approximately 12 months as you will already have vocational qualifications at Level 3 and Functional Skills at Level 2.
In a recent survey by the National Apprenticeship Service, employers agreed that Higher Apprentices are 25% more employable than people who took an alternative route, including some degree students!
You'll get a package of qualifications which have been tailored to your chosen career:
In addition to these formal qualifications you will have a good knowledge of Employee Rights and Responsibilities, and have evidenced a good level of Personal Learning and Thinking Skills.
From 1st October 2013, the absolute minimum wage for an Apprentice is £2.68 per hour, or National Minimum Wage after the first year of training if you are 19 or over. However, many employers pay more and will reward you with pay increases as you progress.
All Apprentices are employed and therefore entitled to those holidays provided by their terms of employment. However, the Working Time Directive specifies the amount of paid holiday per year as a minimum for employees.
Full details are available here