Introduction to apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a valuable part of the learning and development package. They are available to all staff regardless of age and length of service. They also ensure that your team has the practical skills and qualifications it needs now, and in the future.

The mixture of on and off-job learning ensures that those employees on an apprenticeship learn the skills that work best for our business. Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is one of over 130,000 companies who offer apprentice places because we all understand the benefits that apprentices bring to our businesses:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved competitiveness
  • A committed and competent work-force 
  • Enabling young/inexperienced people to start their careers in a constructive and positive environment.

WCC has created an apprenticeship policy for Warwickshire and works with the National Apprenticeship Service to increase the size and number of apprenticeships both within WCC and within companies throughout the sub-region. The policy clearly sets out our intentions around apprenticeships and shows the value we place in them.

The strength of our programme has been recognised by the Training Journal where we were a finalist for the Employer Apprenticeship of the Year Award 2014.

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What is an apprentice?

An apprentice is an individual who undertakes a formalised and accredited training programme in a work-based environment. The training programme must be recognised as an apprenticeship framework. The individual can be a new or existing employee and will meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • 16 years of age and over
  • lives in England
  • is not in full-time education
  • must have a contract of employment.

What is an apprenticeship?

Whilst apprenticeships have been in existence for hundreds of years, here we are referring to the apprenticeship programme which has a framework of work-based learning and accredited training that includes the following components:

  • A minimum of 30 hours per week paid employment
  • A knowledge-based element
  • A competency-based element
  • Transferable or key skills, communication (mandatory), application of numbers (mandatory), Information Communication Technology, working with others, improving own learning and performance and problem solving
  • A module on employment rights and responsibilities.

The completion certificate is awarded by the National Apprenticeship Service, who also fully fund the training for 16 to 18-year-old and part fund it for adults.

Apprenticeships are available in three levels

  • Level 2 (Apprenticeship) which is equivalent to GCSEs
  • Level 3 (Advanced apprenticeship) which is equivalent to A-levels
  • Level 4-7 (Higher apprenticeship) which is a vocational alternative to university achieving qualifications from Foundation degree to Master's level.