Apprentice Frequently Asked Questions

Who can do an Apprenticeship?

Anybody over 16 can apply for an apprenticeship.
What levels are Apprenticeships are available?

We offer Apprenticeships at a variety of levels:
Level 2 – equivalent to GCSE Level
Level 3 – equivalent to A Levels
Level 4 & 5 – equivalent to Foundation Degree Level
Level 6 – equivalent to Postgraduate Degree Level

What qualifications/experience do I need?

The qualifications and experience required will depend on your employer, the apprenticeship programme and the level in which you wish to study.

Most programmes require GCSE grade C/4 (or equivalent) in Maths and English, but if you do not have these qualifications our team will support you to gain these skills alongside your Apprenticeship.

We also offer traineeships, designed to get those who do not yet meet programme requirements, or lack confidence, up to speed; providing work experience and lessons in Maths and English. Also known as a pre-apprenticeship, the short course should enable you to progress onto a Level 2 Apprenticeship. Traineeships are available to under 24 year olds, and can range in duration, from 6 weeks up to 6 months.

How long will an Apprenticeship last?

The duration of an Apprenticeship programme varies depending on your course, but is typically between 12-18 months. However, many of the higher Level 4 and Level 5 Apprenticeships are longer than this.

What are the benefits of an Apprenticeship?

As an Apprentice you will be an employee, as well as a student. Therefore, you will have a contract with salary, annual leave and any other staff benefits. You will gain specific job skills and invaluable experience you can use to move into a job afterwards. With the current fierce competition for jobs, your specific studies and experience will make you stand out from the crowd.

Do Employers value Apprenticeships?

Yes, employers regard Apprenticeships very highly, as you have both qualifications and invaluable industry/workplace experience.

How much will I earn?

The Minimum Apprenticeship wage (April 2019) is currently at £3.90 per hour, however many employers will pay more than this. This wage applies to apprentices under 19 or over 19 in their first year of the programme.

If you are over 25, or over 19 and in your second year and beyond, you will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

How many hours will I work?

The typical apprentice will work 37.5 hours per week, with four days at your place of work and one day’s college release. However, the minimum an apprentice must work is 30 hours per week, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as disability.

How do I apply?

We always recommend that you speak to a member of our friendly team if you are considering an apprenticeship. They are here to help and can offer invaluable guidance.

You will then need to apply to the College, via our online application (https://apply.exe-coll.ac.uk), and will be invited to an interview night to meet the course lecturers and have an informal chat to ensure eligibility.

Before you start your Apprenticeship programme with the College you will need to find an employer.

How do I find an Employer?

If you need help finding an employer, our Training Recruitment Advisors are here to help! With over 950 employer contacts, we can help you find a role that’s right for you.

We would recommend regularly checking our vacancies (https://www.exeapprentices.co.uk) and other apprenticeship job sites, such as Find an Apprenticeship (www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship) to see what is available. Alternatively you could find your own employer by directly calling, emailing or visiting local businesses.

Do you offer CV writing and interview support?

If you need help writing your CV or practice interview preparation, call one of our experienced Training Recruitment Advisors on 01392 400800, and they will give you all the help you need. Usually they will invite you to meet with them at our Apprenticeships and Employability Hub, but can also offer support via email or telephone.

We also run session every Wednesday at our city-centre Apprenticeships and Employability Hub, where one of our team can sit down with you face-to-face. You can book onto one of these sessions via this page.

Our Address is: 37 Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3SR

If I am still at school and not yet completed my GCSEs, can I apply now?

Although you cannot start your apprenticeship until after you leave school, there is nothing stopping you from finding your employer before. When you have found an employer apply on our website to attend a college interview evening and then, when you have finished school, you can begin your apprenticeship.

What are our Open Evenings and when are they?

We host regular Open Evening, which gives you an opportunity to come and find out more about the apprenticeship route, discuss your career and what job you are interested in applying for with our specialist Recruitment Advisors, meet current apprentices who can share their experiences, and check out Exeter College and our facilities.

To find out dates of upcoming Open Evenings click here.

Who pays for my Apprenticeship?

If you are aged 16 – 18 your training will be fully funded by the government and your employer will not have to pay. If you are 19+ the government will fund 95% of your training, and your employer will need to agree to contribute 5% of the course cost – which can be as as little as £100 per apprenticeship programme!

Large companies already pay an apprenticeship tax to the government and so can choose to use these funds to cover the cost of apprenticeship courses for their employees.

Will I be taxed?

As an apprentice, you are an employee, therefore you will be subject to Government tax. However, all workers are allowed to earn £12,500 per year without paying tax. This is called a tax-free Personal Allowance. If you earn above this threshold, you will be taxed on the amount you earn above.

You will also pay National Insurance contributions, if you are paid more than £166 a week. The contribution will be 12% of your earnings above this amount.

Example 1: A salary of £200 per week, totalling 10,400 a year:

  • You will pay no income tax, as you are below the £12,500 Personal Allowance threshold
  • You will pay £4.08 National Insurance per week (12% of the £34 above the threshold), totalling £212.16 a year
  • Therefore, total tax: £212.16

Example 2: A salary of £300 per week, totalling £15,600 a year:

  • You will pay £620 income tax, which is 20% of the £3,100 you earn above the Personal Allowance threshold
  • You will pay £16.08 National Insurance per week (12% of the £134 above the threshold), totalling £836.16 a year
  • Therefore, total tax: £1,456.16

All taxes will be deducted automatically from your pay by your employer.
(Figures based on 2019/2020 tax year)

What about holiday and paid leave?

As you are an Employee, not a student, you are entitled to both holiday and paid leave. The number of days is dependent on your employer and will be confirmed in your contract of employment.

What does Exeter College do?

As your training provider, we will provide any teaching you require to excel in your employment. Usually, you will spend one day a week with us, although this is dependent on your choice of course and your employer’s requirements.

In addition to your time learning at College, an Exeter College Skills Officer will visit you at your workplace every 8 weeks to ensure you are happy in your apprenticeship, to review your progress and check to see if you require any additional support.

What personal support is available to me?

Our apprentices have access to our WHAM (Wellbeing, Health, Activity and Motivation) service, which offers support with mental health and emotional wellbeing.

WHAM is friendly, approachable and available; as well as confidential. You can use the drop-in service at Greystone House (opposite main Hele Road reception) for any questions or concerns you might have or access the service online.

Can I do an apprenticeship if I have a disability?

Exeter College is a Disability Confident Training Provider and therefore if you have the desired qualifications and experience for a role, you will be offered an interview and we will provide for any extra requirements you may have.

We work with our employer network to ensure all people are given an opportunity to train in industry and we will help you find a job in a company that suits you.

When does the course start?

Your course start date will not necessarily be the same as your start date with your employer. Many of our courses offer a number of different start dates throughout the year, usually in September, January and April. However, some programmes commence at different start points, or have rolling start dates if the number of applicants allow.

Your course will run during the College’s term time (see the College Calendar here), with no lessons during holiday periods, i.e. half terms, summer, Christmas and public holidays.* If your workplace is open over the College holiday periods, you will spend your usual College day at work instead.

*Unless you are told otherwise by your course lecturer.

What can I do afterwards?

When you finish your apprenticeship you can either move straight into the working environment or, if available, move onto a higher level apprenticeship or University.