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Apprenticeships: Frequently asked questions

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that are designed to help employers train their staff for specific job roles. At the same time, apprentices get a paying job with valuable training for 20 percent of their time, while they work towards a nationally recognised apprenticeship standard.

What are degree apprenticeships?

Degree Apprenticeships are training programmes that enable you to achieve an undergraduate or post graduate degree from a UK university.

Is the Degree in an apprenticeship the same as you would get if you went to University full-time?

Yes, they are exactly the same, just delivered in a different way and usually over a longer period of time. However, the big difference is the employer pays your tuition fees so you can gain debt-free degrees in Architecture, Civil Engineering, Digital Marketing, Solicitor, Leadership & Management, Paramedic, Data Science and many other topics whilst working as an apprentice.

What are the criteria to undertake an apprenticeship?

  • Must be working in a company with an office address in England
  • Spend >50% of your time working in England
  • Must work >30 hours per week
  • Must have the right to work in England
  • Must be aged 16 or above (No upper age limit)
  • Must not have a higher qualification in the same subject area as the apprenticeship they wish to commence

I’m already in a job, can I undertake an apprenticeship?

If you are an existing employee looking to start an apprenticeship, then the criteria will depend on what your current role is and matching it with the most appropriate apprenticeship standard. For all programmes, we must demonstrate that the learner has gaps in their knowledge and skills before we can enrol them onto an apprenticeship.

If I’m already in a job and start an apprenticeship, do I get paid less?

No, existing employees starting an apprenticeship should continue to be paid their normal salary.

Will I get holiday pay?

You will be entitled to the same employment terms and conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles including paid annual leave, sick pay, and company benefits.

I’m already a graduate, can I undertake an apprenticeship?

Yes, as long as it’s a different subject or above undergraduate degree level.  A degree is a Level 6 qualification. As such, a graduate can study a suitable Level 7 apprenticeship or take a Level 2-6 apprenticeship as long as they are learning 'substantive new skills'.  For example, an English Literature Graduate could start a Level 3 Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship. Whereas it's unlikely that a Mechanical Engineering Graduate could.

Can I start an Apprenticeship at any point in the year?

You can start your employment at any point during the year.  However, your practical training programme with the university will start at specific points during the year.  Please refer to the course pages for specific start dates.

What employment contracts do apprentices need?

All apprentices must have a contract of employment which is long enough for them to complete the apprenticeship programme. They must also have a job role (or roles) that provides them with the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve their apprenticeship.

Employment can be offered either on a fixed-term or permanent basis, however the apprenticeship must last a minimum of 12 months and a day, regardless of age or prior experience.

Do apprentices have to be employed full time?

The minimum duration of 12-months and a day is based on an apprentice working at least 30 hours per week, including any off-the-job training they undertake. If the apprentice works fewer than 30 hours per week, or where a part-time working pattern is needed, you must agree with the training provider to extend the apprenticeship accordingly.

Is there a limit to the number of apprentices an employer can have?

No - employers can take on as many apprentices as they can fund and support.

How are apprenticeships taught?

Apprenticeships allow for flexible learning alongside your job, with each course being taught differently. Some of our courses require you to attend sessions on campus in either block sessions or on a day release basis, whilst others are predominately distant learning with you undertaking your study online. Your time studying is considered ‘off-the-job’ training, examples of these off-the-job elements include independent study, taught block sessions, workplace mentor meetings, and online learning.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are open to all individuals aged 16 and over, whether you’re a school leaver and starting your first job, or are currently employed and looking to progress your career within your current organisation. There’s no upper age limit to those looking to undertake an apprenticeship, however you must meet the entry requirements as highlighted on the individual course pages.

How much does an apprenticeship cost?

The costs associated with your training are covered by your employer. This means you will not build up any student debt, instead you will earn a salary from your employer, whilst gaining a qualification. You won’t however, be entitled to any student finance.

How long does an apprenticeship take?

The duration of an apprenticeship differs from course to course. A typical degree apprenticeship can take anywhere between two and seven years. You can find details of the length of individual courses on each dedicated course page.

How do I become an apprentice?

To apply for an apprenticeship at NTU you must be employed. You can search for apprenticeship vacancies on the Find an Apprenticeship website by applying directly to companies who run apprenticeship programmes and on the apprenticeship vacancies page on the NTU website. Companies will have their own recruitment process and you will be required to meet the entry requirements for your course of interest. Details of these entry requirements can be found on individual course pages.

If you are already in employment and your employer has offered to support you undertaking an apprenticeship, you can apply directly to NTU via our online portal, accessible on each apprenticeship course page.

What happens if I leave my employer?

Apprentices must be employed to continue their learning. However, it is easy to transfer the learning from one employer to another (as long as the new employer agrees to do this and pay any applicable fees).

Our dedicated team are ready to answer any further questions or queries you may have. Simply email us or give us a call: