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A successful business needs a dedicated and skilled workforce. Apprenticeships are a great cost-effective way to recruit fresh talent, train your employees, increase staff retention and improve productivity.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, designed around the needs of you the employer. They combine training at the College with practical skills learnt in the workplace. An apprenticeship usually takes between one and four years to complete, but the duration depends on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentice’s ability and the industry sector.

Apprenticeships can help develop vocational expertise in an increasing variety of occupations in more than 170 industries – from engineering to science and IT to professional cookery.

What levels are there?

Apprenticeships are available at various levels:

Intermediate apprenticeships
These courses lead to a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2, a certificate in Functional Skills (maths, English and ICT) and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification (e.g. BTEC). An NVQ Level 2 is equivalent to 5 GCSEs (A-C)

Advanced apprenticeships
These courses lead to a NVQ Level 3, a certificate in Functional Skills (maths, English and ICT) and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification (e.g. BTEC). An NVQ Level 3 is equivalent to two A Levels.

Higher apprenticeships
These courses lead to a NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a relevant Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree.

Degree apprenticeships
These courses lead to a level 6/7 qualification such as a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

Who can do an apprenticeship?

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply to do an apprenticeship, whether they are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to change careers. However, they must be employed. Different apprenticeships have different entry requirements.

How is the course funded?

Government funding may be available if an individual is:

  • 16-18 years old: Funding is available for all occupational areas and generally there is no fee charged to the apprentice or their employer.
  • 19 years old or over: Part funding is available and a contribution is also required from the employer.

For the latest information on what funding and grants may be available to you, please call our Business Services team on 01753 443855.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

In a bid to deliver three million apprenticeship starts by 2020, the government has announced the introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy on employers with an annual wage bill of more than £3 million. The levy is expected to be in place by April 2017 and will be collected through the employer’s Pay As You Earn (PAYE). For more details, click here.

What are the benefits for the employer?

Whether developing the skills of a current member of staff or recruiting a new individual, apprenticeships are a great, cost-effective way to develop your workforce and improve your bottom line. Apprenticeships also enable you to pass down the skills and knowledge of your most able workers to new or existing staff, ensuring you keep skills in-house and pass them from one generation to the next.

An apprenticeship will enable your business to:

  • reduce overall training and recruitment costs
  • harness fresh new talent
  • address future skills gaps
  • keep pace with the latest technology and practices
  • improve staff morale
  • increase staff retention and loyalty
  • improve productivity.

What are the benefits for the individual?

An apprenticeship will enable you to:

  • earn money while you learn
  • gain on-the-job experience
  • achieve a nationally recognised qualification
  • earn job-specific skills
  • expand your knowledge
  • fit study around employment
  • improve your maths, English and ICT skills
  • improve your career prospects and chance of promotion

What paperwork is required?

Apprenticeships generally require little paperwork from the point of view of the employer as the College will be able to help you with all the relevant documents.

Why work with us?

At East Berkshire College, we support the employer as well as the apprentice to help businesses maximise the benefits of their apprenticeship scheme. We have over 35 years of experience in delivering high quality training to SMEs and multi-nationals in a wide range of industries, and even help organisations access funding and recruit apprentices. Our free apprentice matching service will ensure you find the right individual for your business.

We offer:

  • industry-experienced trainers
  • help accessing funding
  • a free apprentice matching service
  • training tailored to meet your needs
  • state-of-the-art facilities
  • a dedicated account manager
  • sector-specific expertise

Click here for case studies on employers who are already working with us.

What is the next step?

If you are thinking about developing a current employee or taking on a new apprentice, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01753 443855 to talk to an adviser.

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