Harrogate College column with principal Debra Forsythe-Conroy

Apprenticeships can be delivered in a variety of ways, with day release to college or to a local accredited training provider to learn new skills or the qualification can be delivered in the workplace.
Apprenticeships can be delivered in a variety of ways, with day release to college or to a local accredited training provider to learn new skills or the qualification can be delivered in the workplace.

Apprenticeships are at last being seen as a recognisable alternative route to the traditional A-levels then university. Instead an apprentice can earn and learn and work their way through each level and still qualify with a degree. In other words as a different route to the same outcome but with the added benefit of earning and learning.

HCUK Training is part of Harrogate College and specialises in apprenticeships particularly, but not exclusively in all construction trades, motor vehicle, electrical engineering, hospitality and catering, health and social care, business administration, customer service, hairdressing and childcare to name but a few. Every apprentice follows a programme of study that is approved and accredited. That means that there is achievement of a recognised qualification at the end of the apprenticeship.

As an apprentice, there are important opportunities which facilitate the experience to work as an employee in the workplace, acquiring lots of skills along the way. By the end of the apprenticeship the qualifications and experience gained will match exactly what the employer wants and therefore the opportunity to progress onto the next level of apprenticeship.

There are four types of apprenticeships: an intermediate apprenticeship, advanced apprenticeship, higher level apprenticeship and a degree apprenticeship.

An intermediate apprenticeship normally lasts between 12 months and possibly longer, depending on the level of qualification.

New developments in the apprenticeship offer are HLAs (higher level apprenticeships) and degree apprenticeships, these are both excellent progression routes which can focus on high level skills required by employers in a niche subject and one in which the employer can tailor to meet their specific needs. Apprentices following a degree apprenticeship will achieve a full degree at the end of the studies, the same qualification if they had chosen a traditional full time university option of study. The latter is now being adopted for a range of healthcare professionals including nursing.

Apprenticeships can be delivered in a variety of ways, with day release to college or to a local accredited training provider to learn new skills or the qualification can be delivered in the workplace.

How much an apprentice is paid is for the employer to determine but an apprentice in learning may not always be very productive and may spend time out on training.

There is a national minimum wage for an apprentice which is currently £3.30 an hour. However many employers will pay significantly more. The average weekly wage for an apprentice is now around £170. This may seem low to start with, but it won’t stay that way.

Research also shows that an apprentice can earn almost £4,000 more than graduates per year in their first job.

For those not quite ready for an apprenticeship there is a further opportunity to develop those additional skills in preparation for progressing to an apprenticeship.

A traineeship or pre-apprenticeship is for young people aged 16-23 years who are actively looking for an apprenticeship opportunity and need some support to achieve that goal. The traineeship, which is typically between six and 12 weeks, will provide top up support with maths and English skills if needed and those all-important softer skills including interview preparation.

Register for an apprenticeship at www.hcuktraining.co.uk so that you do not miss out on any opportunities. You can look at all the vacancies, just the ones in your area or just at the type of jobs you are interested in. We also have a number of live vacancies now with employers ready to take on an apprentice.

Apprenticeships give aspiring professionals the real world experience they need to get the edge in the job market. Let HCUK Training at Harrogate College guide and support you along the way.

Employers, you may have started to look at the implications of the Apprenticeship Levy (sometimes referred to as an Employers Levy) which the Government has introduced to encourage employers to take on apprentices. Some employers will be required to contribute to the new Apprenticeship Levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers.

The Apprenticeship Levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to make an investment in apprenticeships when it is introduced on April 6, 2017.

The Apprenticeship Levy will be collected from large employers in both the public and the private sectors. The payment is paid to the HMRC via PAYE returns.

For more information, contact Amanda Lawrence at HCUK Training; Amanda.lawrence@hcuktraining.co.uk.