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What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship provides you with the opportunity to learn whilst you work. Whether you are looking to upskill within your current area or gain the required qualifications to start a new career pathway, an apprenticeship is designed to help you gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours for you to effectively work within a job role.

Whilst there are apprenticeship opportunities at many varying levels of study, the University of Chester specifically offers higher and degree apprenticeships. (level 5, 6 & 7)

If you are interested in a specific pathway of study, you can check the GOV.UK website which is linked below for information on different providers and standards of study. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education can also provide you with information on what available standards there are and the levels of study available.

For initial information on what apprenticeships are, please watch the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions with regards to applying for an apprenticeship that we receive from applicants.

What are the different levels of apprenticeships available?

There are 5 main levels of apprenticeship study available. The definitions below explain what each level refers to.

Intermediate- This is the first level of apprenticeships offered. This is usually equivalent to a level 2 qualification such as an NVQ Level 2 or Key Skills. Duration: 1 to 2 years

Advanced- This refers to an apprenticeship where you gain a level 3 qualification which is usually equivalent to two A-Levels. Duration:  1 to 2 years.

Higher- These are Level 4 and 5 apprenticeships and are designed for people aged 18 years and older. You can study this apprenticeship at a college or a higher education establishment. Duration: Between 2 and 4 years.

Degree- Any level 6 (undergraduate degree) study. You will usually require a Level 3 qualification in a specific subject in order to qualify for the standard. Duration: Between 3 and 6 years.

Master’s Degree- An apprenticeship at a Level 7 (Masters) l study. Typically, you need to have successfully completed a level 6 (degree) qualification or have previously studied at this level to be eligible. Duration: Between 1 and 3 years.

What are the apprenticeship entry requirements?

The entry requirements will depend upon the level of study, the requirements of the employer and the apprenticeship standard you are applying for.

However, all apprenticeships ask that you have completed your Level 2 Mathematics and English equivalent qualifications BEFORE the end of your apprenticeship. For some Training Providers, they will ask that you have these before the commencement of study. Whereas others may allow you to study these alongside your apprenticeship. Please speak to your Training Provider if you are unsure whether you would be eligible for a specific apprenticeship.

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

You need to first be in suitable employment before you apply for an apprenticeship opportunity. Unlike applying for a standard entry course, apprenticeship opportunities can be advertised on many different websites. Some key places have been identified below:

  • GOV.UK
  • UCAS
  • Job advertisement websites such as Indeed and Totaljobs

If you are already employed in a suitable employment area, you can speak to your employer and see if they would be willing to support your apprenticeship. If they are happy and willing to support your apprenticeship, then please ask them to contact their Training Provider of choice to discuss your enrollment on the next cohort. 

If that desired apprenticeship is at the University of Chester, please email and we can provide you with the application link and further information on how to apply to your desired course.

How do I finance my apprenticeship?

Your apprenticeship is funded by your employer. This means that they will pay for your qualification and any other fees that may be incurred as a result of your studies. This includes the training costs, your End Point Assessment and any re-sits that you may need to take whilst on the programme. This means that the apprenticeship should cost you nothing to complete.

If your employer pays more than £3 million in payroll in a year the employer pays into a levy fund that can only be used for apprenticeships. This is something the Universuty of Chester can discuss with your employer.  If your employer is not a levy payer, then the government supports your funding, and your employer is asked to pay 5% towards the cost of your apprenticeship and the government funds the other 95%.

However, this does mean that you are NOT eligible for any student finance or a maintenance loan from the Student Loans Company or the Government. You cannot be on any other course with any other institution when on an apprenticeship programme.

When does my apprenticeship start?

Apprenticeships can start at any point during the year as they do not have any specific start months. For this reason, there is no set time of the year when your course would begin and can vary dependent upon the university.

It is best to speak with the Training Provider (the organisation selected to deliver the teaching) to gain confirmation of when the apprenticeship will officially begin.

What will I be paid?

The Government has outlined an apprentice minimum wage which is a legal requirement to be adhered to. You can find information on the current rates and requirements on the GOV.UK website.

However, this will not be the case for all apprenticeship job roles. The employer will decide how much they would like to pay you and this is determined by the role you will be completing whilst studying. For some roles this will be higher than the minimum apprentice wage. Please speak with your employer regarding how much you will be paid during your time of study.

What support is available?

The University offers lots of additional support to help you achieve your apprenticeship. You will have an allocated Learner Mentor from the Apprenticeships Team who you will meet with every 8 to 12 weeks to discuss your apprenticeship progression. If you have any concerns or issues relating to your apprenticeship, they are here to support you through the journey.

There are also many departments within the university that can help depending upon your problem. We have a dedicated Academic Skills Team that can provide group or one-to-one sessions to aide with academic writing, referencing and mathematic support. We also have a careers hub that can help and advise you with your development within your current organisation and help you look for opportunities to further develop your skill set outside of your course.

As an apprentice, you are also entitled to join our Students Union. So, if you have any hobbies that you would like to start or continue to develop, you can see if there are any societies that you could join.

What is an End Point Assessment?

Unlike other methods of study, the apprenticeship route has a compulsory End Point Assessment (EPA) that must be completed after you have gained the desired qualification. The EPA is designed to assess your knowledge, skills and behaviour (KSBs) growth over the duration of your apprenticeship. It will ensure that you have now gained the correct KSBs to successfully conduct the tasks that you have learnt about on your qualification in the workplace.

The assessment method of your EPA can vary and is dependent upon your chosen apprenticeship. Some examples could be (but are not limited to) a written assessment, a professional discussion and/or the completion of a portfolio of evidence. 

If you have attempted and passed your EPA, you will then gain a certificate of completion that demonstrates that you have finished all components of your apprenticeship.