To find out more about apprenticeships and whether one may be be right for you, please browse the frequently asked questions below.

An apprentice;

  • Is usually a young person – but can be anyone over the age of 16
  • Works alongside an experienced employee to learn specific skills
  • Receives training – including training towards nationally recognised qualifications such as NVQs
  • Earns a salary
  • Gets paid holiday

Apprenticeship frameworks can also be used to develop current employees, but employers may need to make a contribution towards the costs of their training, depending on the age of the employee.

Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of the apprenticeship, the industry sector and the apprentice’s ability.

Apprentices are usually young people between the ages of 16 and 24 but they can be any age.

The aim of the apprenticeship scheme is to:

  • Provide young people with a way of gaining work experience and NVQ qualifications in the work place rather than at college
  • Provide employers with a cost-effective way of growing the next generation of skilled staff
  • Develop the careers of young people in order to maintain the skilled workforce the country needs to run its services.

A wide variety of jobs including:

  • accounting, business administration, customer service,
  • plumbing, brickwork, general maintenance, carpentry and joinery
  • information technology, digital media and web development
  • electrical Installation, light vehicle maintenance and vehicle accident repair
  • childcare and support to teaching assistants
  • beauty therapy, hairdressing, catering, hospitality
  • sports and leisure management.

Read about Emily Jones, former HR apprentice now working full time at Suffolk New College

  • Between ages 16-18: £3.30 per hour, rising to £3.40 on 1 October 2016
  • Over the age of 19: national minimum wage once completed 12 months of apprenticeship

Note: apprentices are often paid higher amounts as their skills develop – the rates listed above are the minimum levels of pay.

What apprentices say they enjoy most about being an apprentice is:

  • The money - getting paid while we learn!
  • The qualifications through work experience rather than exams
  • The work environment and the variety of work on offer
  • The opportunity to find out what we’re good at and do it
  • A fantastic alternative to college or university
  • The great start to our careers
  • Feeling valued and appreciated in the world of work
  • The support from good line managers and NVQ assessors.

Apprentices gain between 1 and 4 years work experience, a raft of NVQ and other qualifications and they grow in maturity and confidence accelerated by being part of an adult working environment. As a result, they find they have developed a competitive advantage over those of equivalent age who have only academic qualifications.

Although there is no guarantee of a job at the end, many employers are anxious not to lose their apprentices and try to find them suitable posts when their apprenticeships end – and by completing the apprenticeship the chances of getting another job are very much higher.

Your line manager and/or Suffolk New College assessor as they both know a lot more about your apprenticeship than anyone else.

You will gain your qualifications through college assignments and work assessments throughout your apprenticeship. Your Suffolk New College assessor will meet with you and your manager regularly to:

  • Create an Individual Learning Plan including work experience and technical knowledge
  • Check on your progress on all aspects of the qualifications you are working towards
  • Ensure your work experience supports your NVQ assignments
  • Ensure your NVQ assignments are complete and submitted on time.

Some courses are delivered on a day release basis, where you will spend one day a week at College and the remainder learning on the job. Whereas others are carried out completely on the job.

You and your employer will need to discuss this with your Suffolk New College training assessor in order to agree what will work in your service area and for you.

Many employers are keen to keep their apprentices at the end of their training and try to find suitable posts for them when the apprenticeship ends. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of the apprenticeship but by completing it your chances of getting another job are very much greater.

“I decided to take the apprenticeship route as I felt it was the best way to get the experience, knowledge and skills I needed, while earning a wage. The support and encouragement I received from the college assessors has been excellent. I have had the opportunity to turn theory into practice in a real work place setting. I have really enjoyed the learning environment and the real life work experience. I have gained confidence and now have a plan for the future.”Carrie Eve, Fairfield and Colneis Primary School

“I completed my Apprenticeship after 2 years and the salon offered me the opportunity to do an Advanced Apprenticeship so I jumped at it. I learnt loads from Advanced colour correction to completing Hairdressing competitions, this gave me lots of confidence and really helped me to build up a clientele at the salon.” Hollie Jones, Scissor Trix Salon

“After leaving school I enrolled on a full time creative Arts course but soon realised this wasn’t for me. The course was great with a mix of college making lots of new mates and being in the salon with clients. I love Hair up and won the college Hairdressing competition 2 years in a row! This gave me lots of confidence, after I completed my Apprenticeship I did a Barbering course and I am now working as a stylist in a great salon. Learning through an apprenticeship was definitely the right choice for me.” Ryan Sparrow

Bethany Crane was the second Apprentice employed by Wickham Market Medical Centre. Completing her Level 2 NVQ in Business Administration. Bethany also completed her Functional Skills Level 1 in ICT and English Level 1 as part of her framework.

“Through the course of this NVQ my self- confidence has increased and my skill level in admin has also aided my opportunity for full time employment. I have provided candidate statements, observations and discussions with my assessor to help prove my competency. I also liked the fact that my assessor didn’t overload me with work and understood that I was working 5 days a week as well.” --- Bethany Crane, Apprentice

If you are interested in becoming an apprentice please contact: