Life as an Apprentice

Life as an Apprentice at Blackburn College

Apprentices are either new or existing employees who have signed up to an Apprenticeship through their employers or individuals who have been matched with an employer to start a career in their chosen occupation.

Frequently Asked Questions by Apprentices

How many hours will I be expected to work?

All apprentices must be in paid employment and working a minimum of 30 hours a week before they can be offered a training programme. The maximum a 16-18 year old can work is 40 hours and this includes time off for attending training sessions either at work or college.

How much will I get paid?

The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £4.81 per hour. This rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age. More information can be found on the government website.

What do you study through an apprenticeship?

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

  • A National Vocational Qualification (e.g. Level 2 for Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, Level 3 for Advanced Level Apprenticeships).
  • Knowledge based qualification
  • Transferable Skills

College provides the knowledge and develops 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 and on the learning provider.

What are the advantages of studying 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 when you need it
  • Better job security
  • You gain skills and knowledge which can be used across a range of jobs and industries.

Can I get help finding an employer?

Blackburn College will work with applicants to help find a suitable employer where possible. However we always advise anyone looking to undertake an Apprenticeship to be actively seeking employment for themselves too.

Benefits of studying an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a real salary and gain a real qualification whilst gaining valuable workplace skills and experience.

A real job.

Over 150,000 employers are offering Apprenticeships in more than 200,000 locations.[2] 
Apprenticeships are available at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher (degree) level, covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles, from Construction to Hairdressing.

A real qualification.

Quality is key to Apprenticeships. All Apprenticeships must be at least 12 months long and lead to a national qualification that is respected by employers around the world. 

A real future.

After finishing, the majority of apprentices (85%) will stay in employment, with two-thirds (64%) staying with the same employer.

A third (32%) of all former apprentices had received a promotion within 12 months of finishing, and of those in work, three quarters (75%) reported taking on more responsibility in their job.

Employers think that qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.

(Statistics provided by the National Apprenticeship Service)