|Apprenticeships & Work Based Learning (WBL)|
If you like the idea of earning whilst learning towards a qualification, then an Apprenticeship or a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) is for you.
Apprenticeships offer young people the chance to learn new skills and gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst in the real working environment. They are available in all vocational sectors from those you might traditionally think of: engineering, construction and hairdressing, to areas that you may not have considered including creative media and business administration and retail. However it is important when you are looking for an apprenticeship here in Norfolk, that not all apprenticeships will necessarily be available within Norfolk and you may have to travel.
An apprenticeship will typically take between 1 and 4 years to complete depending on the framework, vocational sector and the level, either a level 2 or an advanced which is at level 3. The entry requirements for these vary from sector to sector but generally an Advance Apprenticeship will require GCSEs at C or above. For those who take the level 2 apprenticeship, you can progress onto the Advance Apprenticeship.
Students will study a variety of qualifications, which normally involve a NVQ (National Vocational Qualification), functional skills and in some cases, a knowledge based qualification e.g. BTEC. Although apprenticeships are often seen as practical alternatives to A-Levels, it should be noted that whilst there will be many opportunities for practical learning, there will be a requirement to complete written work
Off the job training is an essential part of the apprenticeship and will normally be done either through day or block release at a training provider or college or a mixture of both. Also for some occupational areas, an assessor will visit the apprentice in the work place every few weeks to help them complete their qualification.
So what do you earn?
Whilst you are learning, you will receive the current minimum apprenticeship pay which is £2.60 an hour, around £95 for the week, for the first year and then the minimum wage for the young person's age after that. However a lot of employers pay more than this.
So how do you find an Apprenticeship?
Competition can be fierce so you need to be prepared to contact a number of employers before getting a place. As well as contacting them directly, you should also apply to local or national training providers in your chosen sector. These can be providers of FE colleges or private providers. In many cases , the training provider can help secure employers for young people.
The Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service is a good place for you to start looking at as it gives you loads of advice on each sector as well as registering your interest and looking at current vacancies within your chosen sector as well as finding out how to apply.
You can also look for apprenticeships by visiting the Apprenticeships website.
It's important to remember not all employers advertise vacancies but wait to receive letters of enquiry, along with a CV, from potential apprentices. Most employers recruit during the Spring and Summer terms for an August or September start. However, apprentices can start at all times of the year and many offer a rolling programme of starts.
NVQ's are occupational courses that lead to a qualification or part-qualification for a particular job such as a hairdresser for example. There are 5 levels of an NVQ and they are often very practical but with some theory included such as creating an evidence portfolio. You need to be in employment in order to undertake a NVQ.
Click here to see where you can study for a NVQ.