What's involved in an apprenticeship, entry requirements and how is it assessed?
Over the last few years apprenticeships have been changing.
New apprenticeships have been developed in collaboration with leading employers and professional bodies to develop occupational focussed standards in 1500 different job roles, many in new and professional areas such as nuclear energy, cyber security and law. This has improved the quality and consistency of apprenticeships.
This means as an apprentice, you can earn a wage, gain highly transferable skills and undertake training that could include a degree. The best apprenticeships can set you up for a wide range of careers and enable you to gain experience in a real world setting.
What does an apprenticeship include and how is it assessed?
Employers create apprenticeship standards for each occupational area.
These standards include; specific skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to have learned by the end of their apprenticeship to do the job they are being trained to do. Employers choose the most suitable qualifications for the apprentice’s role that meets the standards and trains them for the job.
Your learning will be 80% of the time on the job and 20% of the time in structured learning with a college or training provider. You will be expected to record your learning online in an eportfolio.
End Point Assessments
Once the apprenticeship training has been completed you will take an end point assessment (EPA) – this is a collection of independent assessments that offers confirmation of knowledge, skills and behaviours (known as KSBs) for a particular role. This is likely to include a formal test or exam. They may also include; multiple choice tests, interviews, professional discussions and presentations. All apprentices receive a final grade for their EPA. You will have a mentor from the college /training provider to support you until you are ready to take the final end point assessment.
Levels of apprenticeship and entry requirements
There are different levels of apprenticeships available. The level you start at will depend on your current qualifications and the opportunities available in the sector you are interested in.
Sometimes you may have to start on a lower level apprenticeship even if you already have a Level 3 qualification. For example, even if you have A Levels and you want to train to be a hairdresser you have to start by learning how to wash hair and hold a pair of scissors, which might be Level 1 or 2. Another example is a plumber, where you will need to learn all aspects of the trade which will mean working your way up through the levels.
Many people start on a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship and work their way up to a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship.
Many employers and training providers will ask for a certain level of numeracy and literacy and may require you to have qualifications as part of the entry criteria. The level of qualifications needed will depend on the apprenticeship you are applying for.
The higher the level of apprenticeship you gain, the more money you are likely to earn and the more career choices you will have.
Traineeships: a stepping stone into an apprenticeship
Traineeships are a useful stepping stone to an apprenticeship. If you are 16 - 23 years old and haven't had much experience of working it would be worth finding out how traineeships can help you.