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National Apprenticeship Week 2023

8 February 2023

We’re supporting National Apprentice Week which takes place this week, between 6 and 12 February 2023.

So what is an apprenticeship? It’s nationally recognised and approved work-based training programme where you can learn new skills both on and off the job and get paid at the same time. There’s no age limit and they go right up to masters degree level. They can be used to recruit staff but also develop existing employees.

Apprenticeship myth busting

Everyone will have their own ideas and assumptions, so we wanted to dispel a few myths about apprenticeships.

Here are our top 5:

1. Myth: Apprenticeships are only for young people

  • Myth Buster: No! There is no upper age limit for apprenticeship training – anyone aged 16 and over can enrol onto an apprenticeship

2. Myth: I can’t work full-time and do an apprenticeship

  • Myth Buster: Yes you can! Apprenticeships are a vocational way to train and are completed alongside your current job role

3. Myth: Apprenticeships are only for the construction or trade industry

  • Myth Buster: No! There is a huge variety of apprenticeships available that cover all our departments

4. Myth: Apprenticeships are for the less academic and those who didn’t do well at school

  • Myth Buster: Absolutely not! Apprenticeships can be just as challenging and rewarding as traditional study programmes with apprenticeship training available from Level 2 (GCSE) right up to Level 7 (masters degree)

5. Myth: An apprenticeship won’t lead to a career

  • Myth Buster: An apprenticeship is a work-based route to get you into your chosen career. By the time you’re qualified, you will have gained plenty of industry experience and skills, which will have a positive impact on the next steps in your career.

Apprenticeship benefits

If you’re considering completing an apprenticeship, there are so many benefits. Here are the top 5:

  • earn while you learn! Having the opportunity to work towards and gain a qualification during your working week is a huge benefit
  • embed your learning through your day job to practise what you’ve learned and bring to life in real situations
  • develop new skills to support you progress your career and improve your employability
  • have hands on support from your manager, your tutor and a chance to build a network with other apprentices
  • once you have completed your apprenticeship, you will have earnt yourself a qualification that is nationally recognised.

Apprenticeship success stories

We also wanted to take the opportunity to share some of our current apprentice success stories.

We have 325 employees completing a wide range of apprenticeships at different academic levels. To bring that to life, we’ve put together a series of case studies and profiles of some of our existing and recent apprentices, where you can learn about their own apprenticeship journey and the positive impact completing an apprenticeship has had on their careers and personal development.

Take a look at our apprenticeship success stories.

Functional skills

Whatever the type of apprenticeship, if you’ve been looking into what they involve, you’re likely to have come across the term ‘functional skills’. So what are ‘functional skills’?

Put simply, functional skills are practical skills in English, maths and information and communication technology (ICT) that allow individuals to operate confidently, effectively and independently both in life and work. From an apprenticeship perspective, functional skills have been designed by employers to contextualise content to help learners apply these skills in real-life work settings.

So people can study for the qualifications in practical ways and apply core skills to real-life situations. Functional skills are a key component in all the apprenticeship standards and that evidence of completion (or in some cases 'attempting' completion) is presented at the meeting before an apprentice does their final end-point assessment. So this means if an apprentice has not previously achieved an A* to C (or grade 4 to 9 in the new scale) in GCSE English and maths, they must work towards either their Level 2 functional skills or GCSEs as part of their apprenticeship.

Read more about English and maths requirements in apprenticeship standards at level 2 and above.

Virtual drop-in sessions

On Friday 10 February we’re running two virtual drop-in sessions on Teams - one for managers and one for employees.

There’s no agenda, just time we’re putting aside for you to drop in and ask any questions you may have about apprenticeships.

Join the conversation on social media

Finally, whether you’re completing an apprenticeship or not, everyone can get involved in National Apprenticeship Week 2023 and we’d love to see as many of you as possible promote this on your social media or professional networking sites. Whether it’s to acknowledge the week itself, to share a previous experience or even a personal success, use the hashtags #NAW2023 and #SkillsforLife and also tag @Apprenticeships to join the conversation.

We’ll be posting content through the our social media channels and LinkedIn, so look out for our posts and like, share and comment where you can!