What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a full-time job, with training. A blend of ‘on’ and ‘off the job’ training that provides individuals with the skills they need for their chosen career, while also earning a wage.

apprentice at work

What is the difference between a college course and an apprenticeship?

A college course will require you to attend college most days and study your chosen subject in a classroom with a group of young people learning alongside you. You will achieve a qualification such as A-level, T-level or a vocational qualification.

An apprenticeship requires you to attend a place of work for 80% of the time, learning from your colleagues and employer. You might also attend college (in-person or on-line) to do technical qualifications and/or fill the gaps in your knowledge. If you don’t already have GCSE English and maths, you may also be required to complete these at college. You will achieve a qualification such as an NVQ and/or any professional or technical qualifications you may study such as AAT. You can also progress to degree apprenticeships or switch from an advanced apprenticeship to a degree at university.

What apprenticeships can I do?

Apprenticeships are available across a wide range of industry sectors and are an excellent way of gaining nationally recognised skills, knowledge and behaviours, whilst working, earning money and gaining real workplace experience. At Cirencester College we offer a growing range of apprenticeship standards in the following sectors:

Digital and IT

Business Administration


Media Broadcast and Production

Sales and Marketing

Creative and Digital Services

Financial Services


What levels of apprenticeship can I do?

Apprenticeships start at Level 2 and work up to Degree apprenticeships. At Cirencester College we offer:

Intermediate Apprenticeship

working towards level 2 skills, knowledge and behaviours

Advanced Apprenticeship

working towards level 3 skills, knowledge and behaviours

Higher Apprenticeship

working towards level 4 and above skills, knowledge and behaviours.

What is an apprenticeship standard?

Apprenticeship Standards have been written by employers and industry experts and consist of approved industry based skills, knowledge and behaviours.  Apprentices have a period of learning and development, followed by a series of end point assessment activities which are conducted by registered end point assessment organisations.

For some Standards, there is the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications, which can lead to industry body membership.

How are apprenticeships assessed?

All apprenticeships are now ‘Apprenticeship Standards’ and they have an ‘End Point Assessment (EPA)’ to confirm achievement of the apprenticeship. This assessment can take a variety of forms such as a knowledge test, portfolio of evidence, an interview, project presentation, observation or professional discussion.

What is ‘off-the-job’ training?

Every apprentice will complete 20% relevant off-the-job training activities, to support the achievement of their apprenticeship.  This is time for you to learn things related to your apprenticeship and support the achievement of your qualification. This can include practical training, job shadowing, mentoring, coaching, industry visits, theory training, online learning, manufacturer training or can be used to spend time writing assignments/assessment or attending College for theory lessons, workshops or masterclasses.

Who is eligible for an apprenticeship?

Anyone living in England, over the age of 16 (who has completed Year 11 at secondary school), and wants to work in a job full-time whilst gaining qualifications, can apply for an apprenticeship as long as they are not already enrolled on a funded learning or training programme such as a college course or another apprenticeship. There is no upper age limit to starting an apprenticeship.

You can do an apprenticeship after GCSEs, after A-levels or even after doing a degree, however in order to access any Government funding, your apprenticeship must be different to your degree or provide you with significant new learning opportunities.

How do I find an apprenticeship?

The majority of apprenticeships are registered on the Government’s National Apprenticeship Service website here Find an apprenticeship – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). If you know which company you wish to work for, check out their website; most employers promote their vacancies on their websites. The vacancies being offered through Cirencester College can be found here

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

First you need to find a vacancy (see above). If you have found a job you like, follow the instructions on the vacacny page.  If the vacancy is being promoted by Cirencester College, you can call 01285 626259 or email apprenticeships@cirencester.ac.uk and we will be happy to help you to apply.

Can I employ an apprentice?

Any business can employ an apprentice, as long as the apprentice is employed for not less than 30 hours per week.

In addition to recruiting apprentices to your business, an apprenticeship programme can be used as part of a comprehensive CPD programme for employees that have recently changed roles or been promoted.

How do I recruit an apprentice?

If you are looking to recruit an apprentice to your business, we would love to help you. The team at Cirencester College will:

  • arrange to meet with you and explain exactly how apprenticeships work and how they might work for your business.
  • once you have decided to recruit an apprentice, we ask you to complete a job description form and then we will advertise the vacancy for you.
  • we will advertise your vacancy on the National Apprenticeship Website, our own website, our internal student Job Shop and through various other forms of social media.
  • help you every step of the way through the recruitment process and beyond.
  • once your new apprentice has started in the workplace, we will arrange to meet with you and your apprentice to go through all of the enrolment for the appropriate apprenticeship programme.
  • after the apprentice is on programme we will continue to meet with you and them throughout the programme to review progress, support both you as an employer and our apprentice, and answer any questions or queries.

Is there funding available to employ an apprentice?

There is funding available to employ an apprentice depending upon the size of your company and whether or not you pay the apprenticeship levy. There are also incentive payments to take on apprentices which differ depending upon the age of the apprentice, the level of qualification and the size of the employer. The funding changes frequently; to ensure you have the latest details please check the Government website here Apprenticeship funding – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). However, we are very happy to help you with any questions you have.

“Through my apprenticeship I get to experience working fulltime with the knowledge that once I have completed my apprenticeship, I will have succeeded in setting myself up for a future career. It’s a very unique and hands on experience. I am setting my sights high after getting my qualification, I would like to go into some sort of film and media marketing.”

Louisa PritchardDigital Marketing Apprentice
Fish Brothers
Louisa Pritchard

“I applied for the apprenticeship role at Cirencester College because it was a good way of gaining work experience and progressing my career at the same time. I used to be quite a nervous person, but my apprenticeship has given me a lot more confidence and also helped me with my communication skills. Winning the Apprentice of the Year Award was a complete shock, but it was fantastic to have my work appreciated.”

Tom BackBusiness Administration Level 3
Cirencester College
Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Apprentice of the Year 2022

“Apprenticeships are a great way to learn hands on at work whilst learning more technical skills. Working with Cirencester College gave me the opportunity to network with other apprentices and having the support from my assessors. I would recommend an apprenticeship, it is a great way to learn new skills especially if it’s your first full-time job, like mine was and now I am working as a full-time employee for A Productions.”

Kheamah PowellJunior Content Producer
A Productions
Kheamah Powell Apprenticeship

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