They are work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers,
which lead to national recognised qualifications. You can use Apprenticeships to
train both new and existing employees. Funding is available to train apprentices.
Apprenticeships are designed by the Sector Skills Councils – , the relevant council
for engineering is Semta (the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and
Manufacturing Technologies) – while the National Apprenticeship Service helps to
fund the training. Business representatives from the relevant industry sector work
with the Sector Skills Councils to develop the course content. Because they genuinely
understand your business, the training will be relevant for your industry.
Facts in Numbers
- Over 80% of those employers who employ apprentices agree they make their workplace
- 81% of consumers favour using a company which takes on apprentices
- The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is £2.60 per hour. Many employers prefer
to pay more however, and research shows that the average salary is approx £170 per
- Employers who take on a 16-18 year old apprentice only pay their salary. The Government
will fund their training
- There are more than 200 different types of Apprenticeships available offering over
1,200 job roles
- 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more
motivated and satisfied workforce
- 83% of employers who employ apprentices rely on their Apprenticeships programme
to provide the skilled workers that they need for the future
- One in five employers is hiring more apprentices to help them through the tough
Levels of Apprenticeship
An Apprenticeship is essentially a set of qualifications called a ‘framework’, developed
by what are known as Sector Skills Councils. The relevant council for engineering
is Semta (the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies).
The three routes to an engineering apprentice are:
Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
Apprentices progress towards work-based learning qualifications, such as an NVQ
Level 2 (eg, Performing Engineering Operations), Key Skills (Essential Skills in
Wales) at Level 1 and a relevant knowledge based qualification (known as the Technical
Certificate, usually studied off-the-job at a college), as well as Employment Rights
In England, they also need to achieve and evidence the areas of Personal, Learning
and Thinking Skills, although in Wales the 3 Wider Key Skills are embedded in the
These provide the skills needed for a chosen career and/or allow entry to an Advanced
Advanced Level Apprenticeships
Advanced apprentices progress towards work-based learning qualifications, such as
an NVQ Level 3, Key Skills (Essential Skills in Wales) at Level 2 and a relevant
knowledge-based certificate (known as the Technical Certificate). They also study
Employment Rights and Responsibilities, and need to achieve and evidence the skill
areas of Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills (England) or 3 Wider Key Skills
To start this programme, the applicant should ideally have five GCSEs (grade C or
above) or Diploma, or have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Advanced Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for progression to higher education,
including a Higher Apprenticeship.
Higher Apprentices progress towards work-based learning qualifications at NVQ Level
4, Key Skills (Essential Skills in Wales) at Level 2 and a knowledge-based qualification,
such as an HNC or HND or Foundation Degree. They, too, study Employment Rights and
Responsibilities, and need to achieve and evidence the skill areas of Personal and
Thinking Skills (England) or 3 Wider Key Skills in Wales.
Apprentices gain the skills required to carry out a wide variety of technician roles.
This apprenticeship is recognised as meeting the requirements of Eng Tech registration
and some of the professional requirements of Incorporated Engineer, and may also,
where appropriate, provide positive progression to a higher degree, NVQ Level 5
and possibly Chartered Engineer registration.
Higher Apprenticeships were introduced in 2009 in the Engineering and IT sectors.
Like Intermediate and Advanced Level Apprenticeships, they combine a range of on
and off the job training, and can vary in the length of time they take to complete,
depending on your business needs.
Recent research into stimulating the supply and support of Higher Apprenticeships
through the engagement with professional bodies identified that 70% of to the professional
bodies interviewed believed Higher Apprenticeships were a great way for professionals
in their sector to become fully qualified.
In 2010, the government announced its commitment to grow Higher Apprenticeships,
creating career pathways right through to higher level roles and on-going opportunities
to maximise the benefits of a highly skilled workforce.
Training and Employment
As Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, most of the training is ‘on
the job’ – at your premises. The rest can be provided by a local college or by a
specialist learning provider, or you could deliver everything yourself.
As the employer, you must give your apprentices an induction into their role and
provide on-the-job training. You are also responsible for paying your apprentices’
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.
A learning provider will provide an employer representative who will be able to
support and guide you. They will work with you to:
- Help you decide which Apprenticeship is right for you
- Explain the way that Apprenticeships might work for you and if funding is available;
- Agree a training plan with your apprentice;
- Recruit an apprentice or support your existing staff into Apprenticeships;
- Manage the training and evaluation;
- Ensure that national quality standards are met and deliver integrated, coherent
If you wish to find a learning provider yourself. the National Apprenticeship Service
has a facility that allows you to search for a provider in your area. Go to: www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Be-An-Apprentice.aspx
Apprenticeship funding is available from the National Apprenticeship Service. The
size of the contribution varies depending on your sector and the age of the candidate.
If the apprentice is aged 16–18 years old, you will receive 100 per cent of the
cost of the training; if they are 19-24 years old, you will receive up to 50 per
cent; if they are 25 years old or over you may only get a contribution depending
on the sector and area in which you operate.
This is paid directly to the organisation that provides and supports the Apprenticeship;
in most cases this will be a learning provider. Large employers with a direct contract
with the National Apprenticeship Service may receive the funding themselves.
National Minimum Wage
A National Minimum Wage for apprentices was introduced on 1 October 2010. The wage
applies to all apprentices aged under 19; and apprentices aged 19 or over in the
first year of their Apprenticeship.
The apprentice minimum wage is currently £2.60 per hour and applies to time working,
plus time spent training that is part of the Apprenticeship. Employers are be free
to pay above the new wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are
paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage.
If an apprentice is on a higher wage, the employer must continue to pay that for
the remainder of the training or until the apprentice becomes eligible for the full
national minimum wage.
How it works in Wales
The Welsh Government believes in and supports Apprenticeships in Wales, as they
fuel the future essential skills base of our nation. Apprenticeships in Wales help
to inspire success in the individual and bring huge benefits to the workplace. It
currently offers a number of initiatives to encourage employers to recruit more
apprentices. One of the most popular is the Young Recruits Programme. This is an
all-Wales programme that provides funding to employers offering high quality apprenticeship
programmes who recruit and train additional young apprentices (16-24 yrs old).
Employers: Can You Make Someone Great?
You can join the 81% of business that say employing apprentices makes their workplace
more productive. By becoming involved in Apprenticeships in Wales, you are creating
a more responsive, motivated workforce, with the key skills and experience you need.
Apprentices can do great things for their employers. But they need the chance to
work and train. The Welsh Government pays the external training costs, leaving you
to pay only for the wage of the trainee.
Apprentices: Make yourself a great career
Apprenticeships are a great way for you to gain recognised qualifications and essential
skills while earning a wage. The workplace experience that you will gain during
your apprenticeship will stay with you for life, and it has never been a better
time to have marketable skills. You`ll share your learning between college or a
training provider and working in your employer’s business, so you`ll gain both qualifications
and the experience to back them up.
Apprenticeships in Wales are open to everyone, whether you are a young learner or
want to change your career pathway. You can learn on the job and get extra skills
from a training provider. There are three levels of Apprenticeship available for
those aged 16 and over:
Foundation Apprenticeships (equivalent to five good GCSE passes)
Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level
2, Key Skills and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such
as a BTEC. These provide the skills apprentices need for their chosen career and
allow entry to an Apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship (equivalent to two A-level passes)
Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 3,
Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge based certificate such as a
BTEC. To start this programme, apprentices should ideally have five GCSEs (grade
C or above) or have completed a Foundation Apprenticeship.
Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications, such as
NVQ Level 4, and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification, such as a Foundation
There is a free on-line matching service that aims to help Welsh employers find
suitable Apprentices; and equally aspiring Apprentices in Wales to find new opportunities
in a business that is right for them. Here, Apprentices can search and apply on-line
for Foundation Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships vacancies.
Employers looking to recruit an Apprentice can advertise vacancies for free and
filter applicants more easily. They will be able to review applications, sift for
short-listing and invite candidates for interview, all within their own personal
area of the system. To use the Apprenticeship Matching Service, visit the Careers Wales website, and follow the Apprenticeships link.
Alternatively, if you would like to speak to someone about apprenticeship opportunities
- Employers should call 0845 60 661 60
- Individuals should contact Careers Wales on 0800 100 900 or visit the Careers Wales
website at www.careerswales.com, where your questions will be answered and you will
directed to someone who can find you the right apprentice or apprenticeship. Or
you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How it works in Scotland
Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland
The right support can make all the difference when it comes to learning new skills.
It's the reason why Skills Development Scotland offers you the chance to gain invaluable
industry-recognised engineering accreditations - through Modern Apprenticeship training.
Your employer and Skills Development Scotland will meet the cost of Modern Apprenticeships
employee training, so there's no cost to you to learn new skills. The only investment
you need make is in terms of time - and the effort that you put in will bring enormous
rewards, in the form of improved self-confidence, competence, efficiency and motivation.
What does a Modern Engineering Apprenticeship involve?
A Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland provides you with vocational training that's
relevant to your current employment. The programme isn't only relevant to traditional
industries - Modern Apprenticeships are available in a number of sectors, with the
format of training decided by the appropriate vocational qualification for that
Apprentices are supported with training that is appropriate for level of the job,
although this isn't the only focus of the training. A Modern Apprenticeship will
also give you a range of 'soft skills' to draw upon, including sound communication,
teamwork and problem solving skills, and improved numerical and IT skills - all
of which are invaluable to any employer.
What sort of qualifications would I get?
An SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualification) is a work-based qualification, forming
the core of a Modern Apprenticeship. SVQs can be achieved without the need to attend
college courses or training centres. This allows the workforce to gain a recognised
qualification specifically targeted at their skills and minimises any disruption
to their normal working routine.
To achieve a Modern Apprentice Qualification in engineering requires the learner
to achieve a level 2 SVQ, plus a Level 3 SVQ, and achieve a suitable NC/NQ qualification:
- Level 2 – equivalent to GCSE or Standard Grade qualifications
- Level 3 – equivalent to Scottish Higher qualifications
- Level 4 – equivalent to Higher National Diploma HND
- Level 4 – equivalent to Masters Degree.
Scottish Development Agency funding covers the cost of registration with the awarding
body, assessment and ongoing support by a fully qualified assessor. SVQs are work-based
qualifications, with no final examination. The apprentice must prove his/her competence
in the work over a period of time under the help and guidance of an assessor. The
timeframe for attaining a modern apprentice in Scotland is three to four years.
The Scottish Government is providing, through Skills Development Scotland, 25,000
Modern Apprenticeship starts across Scotland in 2011-12. As part of this record
allocation, it has announced an agreement with Skills Development Scotland to make
available up to 500 engineering Modern Apprenticeships places to support the continued
growth in the country’s energy and low carbon economy sectors next year.