An apprenticeship is a real job with a training component. It allows trainees to earn while they learn, gaining new skills, knowledge and behaviours as well as a nationally recognised qualification, to begin and/or progress their career.

Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete and cover a wide range of industries – there are hundreds of different types of apprenticeship, enabling vocational learning in thousands of job roles.

Apprenticeships are available from entry Level 2 up to master’s degree equivalent. They’re accessible to anyone who has reached school leaving age, for both newly recruited and existing staff. There are different entry requirements for each apprenticeship depending on the level and responsibility required within the job.

We offer a range of apprenticeships across nearly all council services, as part of the WCC Apprenticeship Strategy.

Levels of apprenticeship

There are three levels of apprenticeship available: Intermediate, Advanced, and Higher – within the Higher Apprenticeships grouping sit Degree Apprenticeships.

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships – Level 2, academically equivalent to five good GCSE passes.
  • Advanced Apprenticeships – Level 3, academically equivalent to A Levels
  • Higher Apprenticeships – Levels 4 to 7, academic equivalents range from foundation degree/HNC up to masters degree
  • Degree Apprenticeships – Levels 6 and 7, academically equivalent to achieving a full bachelor’s or master’s degree, delivered by a University.

Training provided for an apprentice

As apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, most of the training is on the job. The rest is delivered by an Apprenticeship Training Provider, such as a local college or university, a specialist training company, or even undertaken by the business themselves as an Employer Provider. An apprenticeship must last for at least one year and be completed via an End Point Assessment.

Working hours

Employment must be for at least 30 hours per week, except in the minority of circumstances where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours. In these cases, employment must be for more than 16 hours per week, with the duration of the apprenticeship likely extended to allow enough time for gaining the required experience and knowledge to complete.

Apprentice pay

The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is currently £3.70 per hour and applies to time working, plus time spent training that is part of the apprenticeship. This minimum wage applies to all apprentices aged under 19, and apprentices aged 19 or over in the first year of their apprenticeship. All other apprentices are entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage for their age.

Apprentices are also entitled to the same benefits as other staff, such as paid holiday leave and pension contributions.

Types of apprenticeships

There are more than 300 types of apprenticeship, applicable to thousands of job roles. Most types of apprenticeships are now known as Apprenticeship Standards, which are newly created, up-to-date qualifications created by groups of sector-specific employers. Some apprenticeships remain as frameworks however and are still available where a new standard is yet to be created. Frameworks are due to be phased out completely within a few years.

See the Institute for Apprenticeships website for more information about available apprenticeship standards, or use the National Apprenticeship Service’s Find Apprenticeship Training for all types of apprenticeship.

Meet the apprentices

See apprenticeship case studies and videos from other organisations.