Active Thames Valley Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship Questions And Answers

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. As an employee, you can earn as you learn and you gain practical skills from the workplace.

How is learning done through an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is essentially a set of qualifications called 'framework' developed by Sector Skills Councils. Most Apprenticeship frameworks follow a standard format that comprises:

  • A National Vocational Qualification (Level 2 for Intermediate Apprenticeships and Level 3 for Advanced Apprenticeships)
  • Functional Skills
  • A Technical Certificate

ATG Training will provide the knowledge and develop skills while the employer provides the practical experience to put those skills to the test. Training can be classroom based, in a workshop or in a workplace, depending on the subject.

If I change employers, do I have to restart my Apprenticeship?

No - you can continue on the same Apprenticeship programme.

I have a degree - Can a university graduate do an Apprenticeship?

Yes - you can do an Apprenticeship but you will not be eligible for funding. That means your employer would have to pay your training costs.

Career Benefits
What are the advantages of an Apprenticeship?

Getting qualified while on the job can also mean:

  • You work better and more effectively
  • It can set you up to move into new and better jobs
  • You get better pay
  • You get to experience new and different challenges
  • Your existing skills and knowledge are recognised and can help you gain a qualification faster
  • You learn at your own pace and get support while you need it
  • Better job security
  • You gain skills and knowledge which can be used across a range of jobs and industries
Will an Apprenticeship give me a good career?

Career progression is excellent for Apprentices. Some Apprenticeships already attract UCAS points or allow you to study for a Technical Certificate. Once the Apprenticeship has finished there's the opportunity to carry on working, maybe get promoted or go on to higher education in a college or university.

Training and Employment
Do I get to choose where to work?

Yes. It's up to you to choose an employer but ATG Training can help you decide. You can see a list of ATG Training's current Apprenticeship vacancies here

What is the role of the employer?

The employer will give you an induction into the company and your role. They provide on-the-job training and pay your wages. Each Apprentice has a manager/supervisor at work who will be responsible for helping you through your training.

What are the entry requirements of an Apprenticeship?

Different Apprenticeships have different entry requirements. However the most important requirements are that:

  • You must be living in England and not taking part in full-time education
  • You must be aged 16 or over
  • If you took your GCSE's more than five years ago and didn't gain a top grade (A or A*), or you don't have good GCSE grades in Maths or English you will need to take a literacy and numeracy test.
How long does it take?

The length of an Apprenticeship varies depending on prior skills levels of the Apprentice, the qualification being obtained and industry sector. Generally, Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete.

Is there an upper age limit for Apprenticeships?


Do I have to pay anything to become an Apprentice?

No. While you are on an Apprenticeship your employer pays you a salary and supports you whilst you undertake your training. Most of the training is 'on the job' within the workplace.

Do I get paid?

Yes, all employed Apprentices will get a wage. The Apprentice 'National Minimum Wage' is currently £2.73 per hour . However, as skills develop, many employers tend to increase wages - in fact, research has found that Apprentices earn an average of £170 net pay per week.

The Apprentice 'National Minimum Wage' applied to all 16 to 18 year olds and to those aged 19 and over in the first year of their Apprenticeship. If you reach age 19 and have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship your employer must pay you at least the 'full National Minimum Wage' rate for those aged 18 to 20.

If you are already 19 and have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship you must be paid at least the 'National Minimum Wage' rate for your age. For more information on the 'National Minimum Wage' please see the 'National Minimum Wage' Q&As

Do I have to pay National Insurance?

Yes. As is the case of all employees aged over 16, Apprentices must still pay tax and national insurance on their income.

Can Apprentices claim additional benefits (such as childcare)?

Yes. In some limited cases, Apprentices can claim additional benefits. You can find out more on benefit claims at

I have already got a job - can I still do an Apprenticeship?

Yes. If your employer agrees, you can become an Apprentice where you work now.

Do I get holidays?

Like most other employees, you will be given at least 20 days' paid holiday per year as well as bank holidays.

What time of year can I start?

You can apply at any time of year. When you begin the work-based training depends upon the availability of a position at an employer.

What are my employment rights as an Apprentice?

Most Apprentices are employed and therefore have the same rights as other employees. To find out more about your rights as an Apprentice go to

What's involved in the selection process?

The selection process is just like any other job application process. Individuals are put through a series of interviews, and in some cases, tests, to establish if they are the right fit for the role.

What is a Framework?

There are a number of elements to each Apprenticeship and this is called the Framework. This means you will get a range of qualifications as you progress through your training and education. Each Apprenticeship framework has three main strands.

  • A competence based element
  • A technical element
  • A skills element

The three strands are sometimes accompanied by additional qualifications to give the most relevant skills and knowledge required for the job that you are employed in.

What are transferrable skills?

Many different industry sectors share the same skill sets. These core skills are transferable across sectors and are built into the Apprenticeship to maximise flexibility and choice for employers and Apprentices. They include:

  • Communication (mandatory)
  • Application of number (mandatory)
  • ICT
  • Working with others
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Problem solving
Apprenticeship Vacancies
Will the vacancies posted have to be real jobs with training?

Yes - employers and providers cannot post vacancies that are not linked to a real post. Details of ATG Training's current Apprenticeship vacancies can be found here.

National Minimum Wage
What is the Apprentice National Minimum Wage rate?

The Apprentice National Minimum Wage is currently £2.73 per hour

Why is on- and off-the-job training included in the definition of hours for the Apprenticeship NMW?

An Apprenticeship is a package of work and on and off the job training. It is right that Apprentices are paid for all the time they are on the Apprenticeship. That includes training time.

The hourly rate is too low. Why? When will it be increased?

The rate is set to be consistent with current arrangements in parts of the UK. The Low Pay Commission has recommended a rate that is fair to apprentices and does not discourage employers from offering Apprenticeships. The Government has accepted the rate recommended. The rate is a minimum, employers can pay more - and many do so.

The NMW rates are reviewed each year by the Low Pay Commission.

I have a query regarding my rate of pay who should I speak to?

If you have a query regarding your salary then it is suggested that you should contact your employer, if you are having difficulty contacting your employer or would like further clarification then please speak to us here at ATG Training, HM Revenue and Customs, or contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.

Will I be entitled to the apprentice minimum rate for the entire length of my Apprenticeship?

Not necessarily. The apprentice NMW applies to all 16 to 18 year olds and to those aged 19 and over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.

If you reach age 19 and have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship your employer must pay you at least the full NMW rate for those aged 18 to 20.

If you are already 19 and have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship you must be paid at least the NMW rate for your age.

Who does it apply to?

The Apprentice NMW applies to all new and existing Apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.

The change does not affect those Apprentices aged 19 or over who have already completed a year of their Apprenticeship - they will continue to be entitled to be paid at least at the full NMW rate appropriate to their age.

Apprentices are those on a contract of Apprenticeship or those on a Government funded Apprenticeship. If you are not in one of these categories your employers must pay you at least the minimum wage appropriate to your age.

I earn more than £2.73 an hour, will my wages be cut?

There is no reason for your employer to cut your pay. It is a minimum below which you should not be paid - it is neither a standard rate, nor rate for all Apprenticeships.

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