National Apprenticeship Week 2019: Lee’s quick guide to apprenticeships

Meet Lee, 33, our professional development manager at Riverside. Lee is responsible for supporting you on your career and development journey to improve performance and ability. He works with our diverse and skilled colleagues to harness and grow talent within the business and is looking to create more development opportunities for colleagues and our communities. If you want to get in touch and have a chat with Lee about your career and the opportunities we have available, please get in touch.

What is the apprenticeship levy?

The levy is a government tax and Riverside contribute 0.5% of our pay roll bill towards the levy each month.

This generates a pot of money that we can use to fund apprenticeship programmes and training for colleagues across the business. Enabling us to offer professional development to all colleagues to support their careers and performance.

Quite often professional certificates such as CIH, Management, and Health and Social Care qualifications form part of an apprenticeship programme.

Do I need to do maths and English?

As the levy is government funding, there are number of requirements which need to be met. The government want to ensure that everyone in the UK has a good level of English and maths.

Everyone who enrols onto an apprenticeship will need to do a functional skills initial assessment. All apprentices will need to complete maths and English as part of their apprenticeship unless they are able to provide proof of achieving a grade C or above or grade 4 or above in maths and English, and can provide the certificate.

These are usually embedded into the programme and won’t usually be standalone classroom sessions.

Will I have time off the job to study?

The apprenticeship programmes require colleagues to demonstrate that they have spent at least 20% of their qualification spent on development. This time does not always mean away from the office. It simply means any learning that takes place on the job can be considered as ‘development time’ – this can be workshops, research or reading, shadowing and e-learning. There are lots ways you can demonstrate learning on the job.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is where you are employed for 30 hours and over whilst being paid for your work, you are developing skills, knowledge and behaviours in your chosen sector. Plus you are gaining excellent work experience and challenging yourself to improve.

I thought they were only available to those aged 16-25?

Apprenticeship opportunities are available to everyone over 16. Recent changes in funding has made it easier to enable employers to offer exciting opportunities to new and existing employees. This means that anyone over 16 looking for their first job, a career change or anyone wanting to upskill themselves can now access specific development to enhance their vocational skills.

Can I do an apprenticeship if I have a degree?

Absolutely. Apprenticeships are available from level two to level seven. Meaning you can access an apprenticeship regardless – whether you wish to retrain in a new sector or you want to continue your development. You can complete an apprenticeship in any subject which is significantly different to any qualifications you may already have. Perfect for a change in career.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

There are lots of benefits from undertaking an apprenticeship. Firstly you’ll be able to earn money whilst you are studying and developing your career. You are able to develop vocationally with real life work experience, meaning you gain first-hand experience of doing the job rather than just learning about it. An apprenticeship often contains the completion of a professional certification which allows you to get additional recognised professional qualifications. Plus you can achieve all of the above without incurring any debt through student loads or tuition fees.

Can I still do an apprenticeship if I already have a job?

Absolutely. Traditionally apprenticeships were considered entry level roles into a certain trade or profession. However the apprenticeship levy has now enabled more people to complete an apprenticeship qualification. An apprenticeship is no longer just in the title. It is a development route for those already in full-time employment. You just need to ask your learning and development team for more information.

What time of year can I start?

There are little or no restrictions on when you can enrol onto an apprenticeship. Most apprenticeship programmes offer a roll on, roll off system. There are a few apprenticeships that align with the academic year.

Making apprenticeships flexible and suitable for when you are ready to develop yourself. At Riverside we have two application windows for existing colleagues to apply for professional development.

Do I have to pay anything to become an apprentice?

No, your employer will be able to fund your apprenticeship programme.

What are the entry requirements?

For most entry level apprenticeships there are no entry requirements. If you are studying a higher level apprenticeship or a specific subject there may be certain requirements you need to demonstrate before you start.

All apprenticeships require you to undergo an initial assessment and you will need to complete functional skills in maths and English if not already exempt.

What would you’re advice be to anyone considering an apprenticeship?

It is a great route into the wonderful world of work. It is rewarding and can lead to amazing future career opportunities. If you’re considering developing your skills and knowledge, why not get paid for learning and exploring your chosen specialism?