You will achieve a certificate in a nationally recognised qualification. You can prove your worth to your employer by showing you can do the job. You will learn new skills and so increase your promotion prospects.

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes which lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships include a mixture of on-the-job and off-the-job training so you can learn new skills, prove your worth to your employer, and increase your employment and promotion prospects.

As an apprentice, you earn a wage while you are training, and you get to work alongside experienced staff members to gain skills that are specific to your job.

You can start an Apprenticeship straight from school at 16, or after gaining further qualifications or employment experience, so read on to find out more about how you can ‘earn while you learn’.

What does it involve?

Apprenticeships are available in lots of different job roles and industries and at various different levels, depending on your age and experience.

You will be employed for at least 30 hours per week, and Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete.

Apprenticeships give you the chance to build up your practical skills and technical knowledge, to gain experience in the workplace, and to complete a mixture of on-the-job and off-the-job training. Most of your practical skills will be developed with your employer in the workplace, while the technical side can be taught either at Sussex Downs College or in the workplace.

Your employer will support your training and pay you at least the hourly National Minimum Wage. From 1 October 2015, this is £3.30 if you are 16-18 years old. If you are aged 19 or over, it is £3.30 for your first year of training, rising to £5.30 if you are aged 19-20 and £6.70 if you are aged 21 or over.

What qualifications will I get?

You will work towards a variety of qualifications known as an Apprenticeship Framework, and these vary depending on your job role and industry sector.

Qualifications included are an NVQ, a Technical Certificate and Key Skills, and you may also need to complete short courses in Employee Rights and Responsibilities, Health and Safety, and so on.

Your NVQ will be achieved at work, through observation and guidance whilst undertaking your daily duties in the workplace.

The Technical Certificate ensures you have all of the appropriate knowledge and experience to carry out your role in the workplace. This is usually studied on the day you attend college, or can be undertaken in the workplace.

Functional Skills, if applicable, will be delivered in college to enhance your communication, ICT and numeracy skills, or can be delivered alongside the NVQ in the workplace.

On completion of all the parts you will be awarded an Apprenticeship Framework Certificate.

You may wish to progress to the next level when you have finished, and study an Advanced Apprenticeship at Level 3. This will take between 10 and 36 months depending on the vocational area.



I am already employed. How do I become an apprentice?

You will need to be employed in the relevant industry sector for your Apprenticeship and your employer will need to agree to employing you as an Apprentice.

If you fit these criteria, then complete our Apprenticeship Enquiry Form online. If you are not sure, give us a call on 030 300 39474 and we will be happy to advise you.

If your employer would like to speak to someone about apprenticeships, then they can also contact the Employer Engagement Team on 030 300 39474 or

I am not currently employed. How do I become an Apprentice?

If you have not yet found an employer you can still complete our Apprenticeship Enquiry Form online but we will not be able to sign you up until you start suitable employment.

Sussex Downs College will do everything we can to help you find suitable employment for your Apprenticeship, but it is also up to you to try and find a suitable position. You might like to visit our Job Shop site, as some local employers advertise vacancies for apprentices here.

If you are currently a student or school leaver, we would also advise you to apply for a full time college course in the area you are interested in, to ensure that you have a place at college at the start of the academic year.

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