An apprenticeship is a way of learning which combines a relevant work placement with on-the-job study.
Becoming an apprentice is a great way to learn and enter into an industry of your choosing.
We work with over 1,400 employers to deliver over 70 different apprenticeships across a wide range of sectors and skill levels.
Apprenticeships are jobs… with extra benefits. You can achieve nationally-recognised qualifications, earn a wage, and gain skills. Plus, you’ll get the benefit of being a Weston College student which includes Students’ Union membership, a subsidised bus pass, access to our Sports Academies, and help from our support and guidance teams.
They offer clear career paths. With an apprenticeship you’ll go straight into employment. Because we teach apprentices from Level 2 to degree-level, there will be clear routes for you to progress within an industry. 90% of our apprentices are offered permanent positions at the end of their course.
They are personalised approach to learning. We’ll match you with appropriate employers and offer you the support you need to be a successful apprentice. Our apprentice recruitment team has commercial recruitment experience to make sure you’re offered the right career advice and guidance.
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What is an apprenticeship?
To get your career started employers usually ask for a mix of work experience and qualifications.
An apprenticeship gives you both as it combines on the job training with study. Most apprentices attend college one day a week; however, some apprenticeships are assessed entirely in the workplace.
Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level, the apprentice’s ability and the industry sector.
As an apprentice you will be able to enjoy all the rewards of being part of the working world, as you will receive a salary and holiday pay, as well as reaping the benefits of being a student, as you will be eligible for student discounts and an NUS card.
Anyone living in England, over 16 years-old and not in full-time education, can be an apprentice.
The minimum wage for apprentices aged 16-18 is £3.70 per hour.
The same applies if you’re 19 and over and in the first year of your apprenticeship; after that you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. However many employers pay more than this, with some apprentices earning over £300 per week.
If you have no work experience on your CV, or you’d like to get a taster of a particular job, you might like to consider a Traineeship first.
Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
Apprentices undertake work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 2 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
Advanced Level Apprenticeships
Apprentices undertake work-based learning such as a Level 3 Competence, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
Apprentices undertake work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.
Your career doesn’t have to stop at the Intermediate, Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, if you want to go on to University you will find that many institutes of Higher Education value your skills and knowledge and will happily offer you a place on a Foundation Degree or other higher level qualifications.
Why do an apprenticeship?
There are many benefits to doing an apprenticeship. You can earn while you learn through hands-on experience.
Key benefits of being an apprentice include earning a salary, getting paid holidays, receiving training, gaining qualifications, learning job-specific skills.
Your employer and training provider will make sure you have support. Their job is to ensure that your training fits your personal requirements, offers the skills needed for the job and satisfies national standards.
They will also be there to help you through any difficult times. Apprenticeships can be demanding but they are very rewarding and, because apprenticeships train you in the skills employers want, they give you choices in your career.
More and more businesses are taking on apprentices. They know that to become an apprentice you’re serious about your chosen career – and that makes a difference.
Getting an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular way of gaining nationally-recognised qualifications alongside workplace experience, which is vital in the current economic climate. If you're thinking about following this route, these steps will help you get started.
What type of apprenticeship can I choose?
We have over 50 areas to choose from, so you need to decide what area is going to suit you. We offer Apprenticeships from barbering to business administration and housing to hospitality.
How do I find an employer?
The Apprenticeship Team receives new vacancies from employers every day. View our live Apprenticeship vacancies.
How do I apply for a vacancy?
When you see a vacancy you like, please hit the ‘apply now’ button and fill out your details. You will then receive an email asking for your CV. Once you send your CV through, it will be passed on to the employer.
What if I don’t have a CV?
Please email the Apprenticeship Team at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with your CV or enrol on our CV workshop course.
What happens next?
When your CV has been submitted to an employer, you may be asked to attend an interview. They will support you through this, offering interview techniques and training, just give us a call.
Questions about apprenticeships
If you still have some queries, please take a look at the frequently answered questions below, which will hopefully help you.
Do I need to attend College?
For the majority of our apprenticeships you will not need to attend College. A great deal of our training takes place in the workplace.
Will I be paid?
Yes you will. The amount will depend on which employer you secure employment with.
How long should the apprenticeship take to complete?
Most apprenticeships take anywhere between 12 and 18 months.
Do I get holidays?
Yes. As an employee of any business you are entitled to the statutory minimum of 20 days paid holiday per year.
Are all the jobs local?
Our apprenticeship vacancies are across the region, including Bristol, Taunton, Bridgwater, Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
What is the apprenticeship qualification equivalent to?
- Level 2 is equivalent to five GCSEs at grade A-C, or one A Level.
- Level 3 is equivalent to two A Levels
- Level 4 and 5 are equivalent to a Foundation Degree.
Can I get additional support if I have learning difficulties?
Yes. Support is available to all apprentices who have been identified as having additional learning needs.
Are there any costs involved?
Apprenticeships are free for 16 to 18-year-olds.
If you're aged 19 and over, a contribution by you or your employer may be required.
Sign up to our Apprenticeship Mailing list
What Our Students Say
Kim, Hairdressing Apprenticeship, Level 2 and 3
“Apprenticeships are a great way to get a qualification if you want to do a course which involves being very practical and hands on. I did the fast-track route which was great because it meant I was able to complete the qualification a lot quicker."
Kim completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship with Weston College while working at a hair salon, where she could undertook her training. Kim also won Weston College's Hairdresser of the Year award, before progressing onto the Level 3 in Hairdressing and Level 2 in Barbering.
What's next? Kim now works in the salon where she trained and is really enjoying her career as a hair stylist.
Former school: Kings of Wessex