What is an Apprenticeship?

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are work-based learning programmes which enable individuals to ‘learn whilst they earn’. Apprenticeship training takes place in the workplace during the working day, supported by experienced skills coaches and workplace mentors.

It is a structured learning programme which meets specific criteria of that ‘level’ but can be tailored and adapted to fit the needs of each organisation. It allows individuals to upskill and develop, whilst continuing to perform their contracted duties and tasks.

Are apprenticeship's paid?

Yes, apprentices are paid whilst doing their apprenticeship which means it’s the best of both worlds as apprentices get an income AND the skills and the experience. The salary depends on your level and the role that you have, so an entry-level apprenticeship for a school leaver will earn less than an experienced manager looking to upskill. Legally, employers need only pay the minimum wage for an apprentice which is currently £4.81 a complete breakdown of the wage rates is on the Govt website. However, many employers pay much more. If you’re already employed and enrolled on an apprenticeship to up-skill, it is not likely to affect your pay unless you agree to a change in your contract

Is an apprenticeship full time?

Apprenticeships can be completed in full or part-time roles. However, our recommendation is that contracted hours should not be less than 30 hours per week. Part of the apprenticeship learning journey includes workshops and ‘off the job’ hours and these need to be carried out alongside the standard job role. Off-the-job hours are time dedicated to developing new skills, knowledge and behaviour to support your apprenticeship.  We recommend at least 30 hours a week so that the apprentice can embed their new skills and still perform their job role.

For some clinical-based apprenticeships – such as the dental nurse and senior healthcare support worker, apprentices must be working for at least 30 hours per week to build competency. 

Where are apprenticeships advertised?

There are lots of places you can access details of the apprenticeships available in your chosen sector or region. 


The best place to start is the government-run Find an Apprenticeship website where you can search for specific requirements i.e. level, sector and location. There are thousands of incredible opportunities waiting to be filled. 


Other places where apprenticeships are advertised include online job websites such as Indeed or LinkedIn. Your local careers advisers (or school/college) will be able to signpost you to opportunities and may be able to connect you with local providers or dates for events to meet with employers offering apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships - who can apply?

Anyone at any level at any age can apply for an apprenticeship. They are designed to support the development of new skills, knowledge, and behaviours to meet the needs of specific job roles/areas of responsibilities.

Traditionally apprenticeships were just for school leavers but now businesses across the country enrol staff on apprenticeship programmes to enrich their workforce and build skills and resilience.  Our programmes include options for those just starting a career to the Level 7 senior leader.


To access funding, apprentices must meet the following criteria: 

  • UK residency (for at least 3 years)
  • Live in England
  • Be employed in a relevant job role
  • Aged 16+ or 18+ depending on the apprenticeship

Have Level 2 Maths and English/Functional Skills. This can be completed on the programme and taught to you through your apprenticeship

If you have any questions, please contact the team who will be happy to discuss your situation and requirements. 

Who regulates apprenticeships?

The Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Ofsted regulate apprenticeships. The ESFA is responsible for the funding of all programmes and ensures money invested in skills development by the government and employers are spent properly. They will ensure that the apprentice, employer and provider meet requirements and will perform regular audits and checks on the quality of the service.


Ofsted is responsible for ensuring the quality of education. They audit the provider to monitor and grade them based on agreed criteria – similar to the way that schools are assessed and audited.

What happens if you fail an apprenticeship?

At the end of your apprenticeship, you will reach ‘gateway’. At this point, your coach and employer will check that you have met all the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprenticeship. If you have, you will be put forward for an endpoint assessment known as an EPA.  This is a formal assessment procedure which completes the programme. It can take various forms depending on the level and sector including observations, professional discussions, knowledge tests and project work.  Your Skills Coach will work to ensure you are ready to complete this. If you do fail, you can retake that assessment (or all of them). A first retake is usually included for free, but further retakes may be charged. At Exalt we are proud of the way we prepare our apprentices for their EPA and have a high pass rate, so we try and reassure people not to be too worried about this part of the programme. 

Apprenticeships, in conclusion

Apprenticeships are jobs, that have real employers. Allowing you to work, earn a salary and gain important qualifications and experience in your chosen sector. 

Apprenticeships offer choice, great opportunities, qualifications, support and a head start on a future career. 

Explore here for the apprenticeships we offer.

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