Apprentices earn a wage in a real job and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, you will receive training to work towards nationally recognised vocational qualifications.
Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of Apprenticeship, your ability and the industry sector.
Key benefits of studying an apprenticeship include:
Earning a salary
Getting training in the skills employers want
Excellent progression opportunities, whether you are looking to study further or climb the ranks within the workplace
Increased future earning potential. Apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training
Better long term salary prospects (those with an Advanced Apprenticeship earn around £117,000** more than those without, over the course of their career)
Learning at a pace suited to you with the support of a mentor
**Returns to Intermediate and low level qualifications (September 2011).
For those who don’t initially fulfil the basic criteria for entry onto a full apprenticeships scheme, Evolve offers Traineeships. These pre-apprenticeships programmes are devised to develop your basic skills, knowledge and experience and prepare you for an apprenticeship.
How can I see what apprenticeship vacancies are available?
Our current list of apprenticeship vacancies is constantly changing so the best thing to do is get in touch and register your interest. We can then keep you informed when vacancies arise in your area of interest.
Keith is the Times Educational Supplement Further Education 2018 Assessor of the Year; a prestigious award with nationwide nominees. Having worked in further education for over 43 years both in the UK and abroad, Keith is so genuinely passionate about engineering that he continues to work part-time managing the assessors’ team, with over 100 apprentices and 70 employers.
One of these employers is Weetabix, who Keith started working with in 2016 and has since been instrumental in reigniting the Weetabix company apprenticeship programme. Weetabix have been so convinced about the success of their programme that they encourage their apprentices to promote apprenticeships to the wider community wherever they can.
“I enjoy working one-to-one with apprentices and their employers, and seeing the apprentice grow over the time of their apprenticeship,” says Keith, who is adept at building and maintaining good relationships between them and committed to providing good quality service by providing solutions.
Keith started his career as an apprentice Engineer with British Rail Engineering, progressing to Technician Engineer. He later became a college Lecturer then Head of Engineering Training, receiving a National Training Award in 1989. He was also part of the team to establish a new technical college in Brunei, a tiny nation on the island of Borneo, and was an associate inspector with the TSC (Training Standards Council) and ALI (Adult Learning Inspectorate) – now OFSTED - carrying out over 40 inspections of engineering training facilities.
Mark started his engineering career working for British Steel (Corus) as a Maintenance Engineer across a variety of departments for 23 years, before working for a couple of end-to-end providers and eventually moving into assessing.
“We did our own maintenance at Corus on everything from pneumatic cylinders, hydraulic valves, right through to large gearboxes etc. We did our own welding, oxy acetylene burning, pipe-fitting, crane driving, forklift driving and I was in the first group to complete the electrical multi-skilling course,” says Mark.
“I also worked in the services department for two years regulating the boilers and compressors. The last few years of my time in Corus were spent as part of a production team where we not only made the tube, but carried out repairs and maintenance where required as well.”
Having been an apprentice himself, Mark can appreciate what his learners are going through and guide them to achieve their goals in the best way. “I have worked in a variety of roles in industry, so my sector knowledge is quite broad, which helps in planning observations and written work,” he says.
“The average age of an Engineer is someone in their late fifties, so there aren’t unlimited resources available. If companies don’t train people up now then they could struggle in the future. Apprentices are a valuable resource within a company,” says Mark.
After completing his engineering apprenticeship, Jacob was offered a role as Workshop Technician. “Part of my role as Workshop Technician was to support groups of apprentices with their training. As time went on, the opportunity arose to assess apprentices.”
Having not long been through the apprentice journey himself, Jacob was in an ideal position to take up this exciting new role and says his favourite part is, “helping students on their journey to become skilled and competent in the engineering sector”.
Jacob is very willing to listen to and support his learners, and he knows first hand the benefits that taking on an apprentice can have on an employer. “You can train them in line with the company’s aims and values, knowing that they will then work towards these goals rather than drawing solely on other experience, which may not line up with your company’s ethos.”
Nathan started his career in the construction trades as an apprentice. He worked in the maintenance team at a university doing decorating, joinery, plastering and basic plumbing. “I slowly became in charge of all decorating work on the campuses and, before I left, was in charge of an apprentice,” explains Nathan.
Since then Nathan’s work in the industry has ranged from: working for a decorating firm on domestic and commercial work; working self-employed for an estate agent inspecting houses once tenants had left and carrying out any work required; and working for a property developer contracted to complete a large number of new build houses and flats.
Nathan believes the knowledge and experience he has gained from working across all aspects of the trade have set him in a good position for his role as Assessor. His favourite part of the job is meeting and working with a variety of learners and employers from the start to the end of their programme.
Nathan’s skill and expertise saw him receive direct claim status for his subject area within the first six months of working at the College. This means the College has been judged to have an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable internal Assessor - plus robust quality systems - to make correct decisions about awarding learners, without constant supervision from the awarding body.
Gerry has a wide range of experience in the construction industry and worked as a Bricklayer for around 25 years on projects at home and abroad. He’s also held a number of roles within the education sector and now, as an Assessor, is able to marry the two up.
“Having come into teaching it’s nice to be able to pass on my experience to a
new generation,” explains Gerry, who has also worked as a Lecturer in other colleges and in the Prison Education sector. He believes that other people take on apprentices to, like him, give something back to an industry that they have found rewarding, both financially and professionally.
“I worked at the old Tresham College in George Street years ago as a Technician,” says Gerry. Since then I have had a varied career in industry and education, so it’s been nice to come full circle. Getting out and meeting people I have known and worked with in the past is a joy.”
Gerry enjoys being able to help people better themselves and says his sense of humour enables him to break down barriers and form working relationships.
For Laura, a career in hairdressing was always on the horizon. “I have worked in salons from 14 years old when I completed work experience,” she explains. “I was then
given the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship and worked my way up to become a Salon Manager.”
“After completing my Level 3 Hairdressing I had the buzz to learn more and wanted to
progress in my career. My tutor at the time recommended the assessors training. I
really enjoyed this and applied for a job here at Tresham.”
Laura is now a valued part of the Hairdressing Department, where she loves helping learners with their practical skills, both at College and in the workplace. “I am very approachable and feel that the learners and employers can come to me for support with anything they may need during the apprenticeship journey,” she says.
When she’s not with her learners, Laura likes to keep her industry skills fully up to date so that she can pass her knowledge back to them.
She says that employers should take on an apprentice, not only to train and mould them to the values and standards of their establishment, but also to bring talent and flair to their business.
Laura knows all too well about the talent that can emerge from apprenticeships and says her proudest moment so far, alongside completing her teacher training, was organising a Hair Show for the Level 3 learners and seeing how proud they were at the end of it. “The Mayor attended to show her support and it was just such a great experience for everyone involved.”
Clare has a wide range of experience in industry. She completed an apprenticeship in Customer Service while working as a Hotel Assistant Manager, and even has a thank you letter from the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes Office for an event she ran - quite an accolade! Clare had always enjoyed training staff and supporting them in upskilling, so with her experience and qualification combined, a role in assessing was a natural progression.
“I moved from Kent last year and wanted to find a more local position, as I was
commuting nationally, so this was a perfect choice,” says Clare, who has been an Assessor for 11 years.
Other roles that Clare has had include AEB Manger, Recruitment and Careers Advisor and Training and Business Development Manager, working in partnership with local councils and charitable organisations to large private companies.
“I have been heavily involved in the education sector supporting the unemployed back into work, running short course programmes and acting as a careers advisor across various sectors for apprenticeships to educate about the options available,” explains Clare.
Back at the College, Clare’s biggest achievement has been producing a delivery model to support the new Level 3 Business programme delivery standards, in order to help employers understand how the standards work.
She says her cognitive flexibility is her biggest strength, enabling her to adapt to different learners, employers and how she communicates with them. “Apprentices have chosen this route into employment and are keen and enthusiastic to learn new skills. They bring new energy into the business with a thirst for knowledge.”
Settling in well to his role at the National College for Motorsport (NC4M), Mark already feels a great sense of achievement to successfully place each student on an apprenticeship and is proud to be part of the great team at NC4M.
“Having worked in the industry for many years in a variety of different roles, I felt it was the right time to give something back to the new generation of mechanics, which hopefully share the same passion for the sport that I do,” says Mark, who joined the College after meeting fellow Assessor Chris Weller on his visits to Mark’s apprentices and his own race team.
Mark trained as a race engine builder, progressing to building engines for F1, Indycar, F3000 and World Sports Cars teams. “I started and owned two championship winning race teams spanning a period of 15 years in Formula Ford, BMW, Renault and F4,” he explains.
“I have also worked as a Team Manager, Race Engineer and Driver Management Consultant for a number of prominent teams and drivers. I competed in rallying and circuit racing in my youth!” As a Race Engineer, Mark worked with many drivers in their junior years who went on to F1 including Daniel Ricciardo, Marcus Ericsson, Will Stevens and Esteban Ocon.
Mark’s breadth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry enables him to impart that knowledge to, as he puts it, “anyone who is keen enough to soak it up.”
Chris has had an impressive and varied career in motor racing and brings a wealth of experience into his role as an Assessor. He and his team at the National College for Motorsport have provided such a good service that Chris was presented with the Motorsport Industry Association Business Excellence Award for Service to the Industry in 2017, on their behalf.
Chris has worked in Formula 1 in quality control and as both a Race Mechanic and Chief Mechanic. He’s also been a Race Team Owner for Formula 3 and Race Engineer in various categories. He started as an Assessor after being in contact with the College to take on an apprentice himself with his previous team.
“I wanted to assist young people to find apprenticeships and start their careers in the industry,” explains Chris. “I enjoy helping to open doors into the industry for new, aspiring race mechanics.”
With so many contacts in the industry and a thorough understanding of the requirements of employer and apprentice, Chris is keen to continue to promote apprenticeships to employers as “an opportunity to train new mechanics the way they want to.”
Alongside the Business Excellence Award, Chris and has won the AVON Tyres British Formula 3 Team of the Year, in 1997 and 2004, with his previous teams. He has also been invited to deliver a talk on race engineering and race car set up to a Norwegian group of delegates at a two day seminar in Oslo.