What is an Apprenticeship?

What is an Apprenticeship?

In the last 20 years’ apprenticeships have become more popular than ever. With so many opportunities, apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain the skills and knowledge to excel. Apprenticeships are a modern way of learning, yet they have been around for longer than you might think.

The first official apprenticeship was introduced back in the mid 16th century. Many apprentices started as young as 10 and studied the profession for up to seven years. The aim (which is the same today) was to pass the skills and knowledge to someone who would then carry on the profession. Many of those in an apprenticeship took these roles as they didn’t have the education to carry on to schools or universities.

But now an apprenticeship is another form of learning. Those who wish to leave education can start to pursue a career and learn the skills needed to progress. One of the great advantages to apprenticeships is that you will learn the skills and gain knowledge while also being in a full-time position.  Apprenticeships are also an amazing opportunity for businesses to grow their team and train the next generation to become industry leaders in that field.

To give more insight into what an apprenticeship is, how they work and where it can lead; 360 Apprenticeships have all the information you need to help you understand the apprenticeship scheme and how it can be the right route for you.

The Basics of an Apprenticeship

An Apprenticeship is a form of education where someone can learn the skills needed to pursue a career and gain industry experience. But it isn’t just beneficial for future apprentices;  83% of employers who have hired an apprentice rely on the apprenticeship as it can provide the skilled workers needed for their business.

Available to anyone 16 and over, every candidate must have A – C in GCSEs including Maths and English (or pass Functional Skills). Anyone who achieves a D or below in English or Maths will need to complete Functional Skills Level 2 exams. Anyone who applies for an apprenticeship but has A-Levels, BTEC or a Degree in that sector (e.g. Business Administration, Digital Marketing), would not be able to apply. Essentially, you would be learning and completing the same modules again.

Standards vs Frameworks

Previously apprenticeships were carried out by a scheme known as a Framework. Designed by sector bodies who focused more on the qualification than the experience, framework was created for the apprentice to complete an NVQ and a BTEC. The disadvantage to this was that it had no end point assessment. There was no way of knowing if the apprentice had gained the skills needed to progress further in that role. Now all apprenticeships are delivered via the Apprenticeship Standard. This is a nationally recognised programme that is now developed by industry leading employers. The reason for this change was to increase the quality of training and ensure that each apprentice develops the skills for that industry. The aim is to replace all Frameworks with Standards by this year (2020).

Apprenticeship Levels / Qualifications

With the new Apprenticeship Standard, there are 6 different levels and each level equates to a traditional qualification. There are 6 levels in the apprenticeship scheme which are Levels:

  • 2: GCSE or equivalent
  • 3: A – Level (Must have GCSEs or functional skills)
  • 4: Foundation Degree (Must complete Level 3)
  • 5: First year bachelor’s degree
  • 6: Bachelor’s degree
  • 7: Master’s degree.

To be able to progress the apprentice must have completed the previous level. If you are looking at a level 4 apprenticeship, you need to have a level 3 apprenticeship or A – Levels first. However, if you have a Bachelor’s degree and are applying for an apprenticeship in the same field (e.g. Digital Marketing/Marketing), we would not be able to place you. In retrospect you will be going from a Level 6 back to a Level 3, meaning that you will be over qualified and unable to be funded for your training.

What types of Apprenticeships are there?

As long as there is an employer looking for an apprentice, an apprenticeship can be taken in any area or sector of work. For many years, there was a notion that apprenticeships were only for those looking to go more labour-intensive environments. But now, there are more apprenticeships than ever before.

At 360 Apprenticeships we focus on:

  • Business Administration
  • Digital Marketing
  • IT – Infrastructure, Software and Support
  • IT Tech Sales
  • Customer Service
  • And Childcare / Teaching Assistants

Yet some positions can have dual roles; A Business Administration Apprenticeship role may include some digital marketing duties or vice versa. Every Apprenticeship lasts 12 months or more depending on the qualification and course.  A majority we offer are Level 3 Apprenticeships, though there can be some Level 2 and Level 4 options.

Things to consider

  • Is this the right route for you – If you apply for a role then decide to leave after 5/6 months, we would not be able to place you on an apprenticeship of a similar qualification. However, you can re-apply for a different apprenticeship.
  • Can you easily commute – For example, you live in Newcastle, yet apply for a position in Leeds. The journey is not doable on a daily basis. Always check the location of the position. Also aim for a journey time of no more than 1 hour (public transport).
  • Do you have the skills – You apply for an apprenticeship in IT Infrastructure with no knowledge/prior experience in that field. There is very little chance that you would be offered an interview if this is the case. Ensure that you apply for a role that can utilise the skills you already have. If you do have the skills, make sure that they are on your CV.

 How is Apprenticeship Training Delivered?

At 360 Apprenticeships we work with a number of locally and nationally recognised apprenticeship training providers graded 1 or 2 by Ofsted. When an apprentice has been successful and accepted a position, we discuss which provider is best for that apprentice and how the training will be delivered.

Now with the world entering the digital age, most apprenticeships are completed online. There may be some training and coursework with face to face and paper elements, but most will now be done online via video call applications (Zoom, Skype) and learner assistant. For the training an apprentice is required to have 20% of their work time dedicated to the apprenticeship (averaging around 300 hours for the duration).  

For example, anyone completing a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship will approach their training digitally with online courses and tutor catchups every 6 to 8 weeks. Whereas a Business Administration Apprentice will complete their training with a mix of both online and face to face observations every 4 weeks. Every apprentice will have to complete coursework and tasks in line with specific goals and requirements, leading up to exams and a final interview.

But to deliver the training some funding will be required. Currently the government is offering more funding to employers who hire an apprentice up until 2021. For any candidates age 24 or under the employer will receive £2000, while for any apprentices 25 or above employers will receive £1,500. For more information on training and funding visit our website.


An apprenticeship isn’t just for the apprentice to gain qualifications, or the employer to have an extra pair of hands; but to teach the next generation the skills to progress in the business and gain a full time position. There is even the opportunity to continue apprenticeship studies by completing more advanced qualifications (as stated previously).

How 360 Apprenticeships can help

The year 2020 has been a difficult and scary time, yet apprenticeships are on the rise and needed more than ever. Whether you are an apprentice or an employer, 360 Apprenticeships can help. We provide a free service from first point of contact to the successful placement of each apprentice. Every apprentice who is successful will only be placed with the best training providers (Graded 1 and/or 2 by Ofsted) so you know that they will be in safe hands.

You can find out more regarding the apprenticeship scheme on our website. To speak to one of our recruiters directly, you can contact us on:

0161 4644805

or email us at [email protected]. You can also find us on social media:

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Instagram: @360apprenticeships

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Twitter: @360Apprentices