As employees, apprentices work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off-the-job, usually on a day release basis, apprentices receive training with a local training provider such as a college.
Apprenticeships are designed by employers for employers, and therefore tailored to meet the needs of each specific sector.
Apprenticeships can improve an organisation’s productivity and profitability, and are an effective means of filling skills gaps in current and future workforces. There are many business benefits, from low training costs to increased staff retention.
What is an Apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship is a form of vocational training enabling people to earn while they learn the skills necessary to succeed in their chosen career.
Apprenticeships combine on and off the job training – on the job an apprentice will work with a mentor learning skills on site and working towards a work based qualification such as an National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). Off the job, apprentices spend time with a learning provider, working towards a technical qualification such as a BTEC. Both qualifications are usually at Level 2 or 3.
Apprentices gain key transferable skills – like working in teams, problem-solving, communication and using new technology as well as studying (in most cases) for a technical certificate, which provides further knowledge and understanding of the relevant job.
The amount of time spent studying varies; it can be anything from 100 to 1,000 hours over the course of an Apprenticeship, depending on the sector.
It’s important to understand that an Apprenticeship is not a qualification in itself, but is a framework that contains the following separately certified elements.
- A knowledge-based element
- A competence-based element
- Transferable or ‘key skills’
- A module on employment rights and responsibilities.