Earn while you work and learn 

An apprenticeship is a programme that allows you to work – and earn – in your chosen field while training for a certified qualification. 

At work, youll be treated like any other employee. Youll have a contract of employment, holiday entitlement and will receive all applicable benefits. But you’ll also have time protected so you can work towards your Apprenticeship Standard. At the end of the programme, you’ll have developed new skills, and you’ll have a qualification to help you in your career or further education. 

Different levels of apprenticeships are available, so you can start your career on the most suitable programme for your experience.  

Apprenticeships are available to everyone over the age of 16 and there’s no upper age limit. It’s never too late to start a new and exciting career!


Apprenticeships: Frequently Asked Questions 

What qualifications do I need to do an apprenticeship? 

Ideally, at least a GCSE Grade 4 in maths and English. If you don’t have a Grade 4 in either subject, you will be required to attend and pass Level 1 Functional Skills for a Level 2 apprenticeship and Level 2 Functional Skills for a Level 3 apprenticeship. 


Is there an upper age limit to start an apprenticeship? 

No. Anyone can apply for an apprenticeship to start after they are 16 years old. 

Can you do an apprenticeship after completing A Levels or a degree? 

Yes. If you have no experience in the apprenticeship training you are applying for, then you can start a Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeship. If you are considering a degree apprenticeship, you will need relevant A Level or BTEC qualifications. 


How does an apprenticeship work? 

Apprenticeships at Totton College are delivered using a blended approach. This means you access some sessions remotely via Teams, and some in-person in your workplace or on the college campus. 

All apprenticeship programmes have a workshop schedule. For these sessions, you attend college for day release. This is discussed with your employer during enrolment.

If you are required to study English and/or maths alongside your apprenticeship, these sessions are delivered weekly by our dedicated Functional Skills Team. Days and timings are discussed with your employer during enrolment.  


How are apprenticeships assessed? 

To achieve your apprenticeship, youll take an End-Point Assessment (EPA) which is conducted by an Independent Assessor. The EPA is different for each sector but can include practical observations and Q&A sessions alongside a portfolio of evidence, professional discussions and presentations.  

What qualification will I get with an apprenticeship? 

When you successfully complete your assessment, you will receive your Apprenticeship Standard. This is a nationally recognised qualification. A level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to 5 GCSEs. A level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to 2.5 A Levels.  

In some apprenticeships you also gain an industryspecific qualification. 

During your apprenticeship you also learn the skills, knowledge and behaviours you need to be successful in your chosen career or to progress on to higher education.  


How do I know if an apprenticeship is right for me? 

Apprenticeships are a great option if: 

  • You already know what industry you want to work in 
  • You want to earn while working towards a qualification 
  • You prefer a hands-on approach to learning 


Whats the difference between an apprenticeship and a study programme? 

All apprentices have a contract of employment with a company. This means you are an employee of the company, study your chosen career in-depth and gain a qualification while earning a wage.  

A study programme is a full-time course. You attend college 3-4 times a week and learn about a broader range of sectors.  

Which one is right for you depends on how you prefer to learn – there is no right or wrong way. Both paths give you a nationally recognised qualification that will help you progress in your workplace or into higher education.  

If you aren’t sure which is the best path for you, we can offer further information, advice, and guidance. 


What different types of apprenticeships do you offer? 

We have several successful apprenticeship programmes available at both Level 2 (Intermediate Level) and Level 3 (Advanced Level).  

We specialise in two key areas, Professional & Commercial Services (such as Business Administration and Customer Service), and Early Years & Education (such as Early Years Educator and Teaching Assistant). 


What is the difference between a Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship? 

A Level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to 5 GCSEs. A Level 3 apprenticeship is the same amount and quality of work as 2.5 A Levels. 


Who pays for the apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeship training is paid for wholly by the Government or partly by the Government with some contribution from the employer.  


How much will I get paid for my apprenticeship? 

This depends on the employer. Some pay the minimum wage, others pay the minimum wage with incremental increases, some pay more right from the start. The minimum wage is currently £6.40*  

* Correct as of April 2024. Subject to change. 


How does an apprenticeship affect child benefit? 

As an apprenticeship is a job with a salary, child benefit paid to parents/carers will stop. If you currently receive child benefit for someone in your house and they’re considering an apprenticeship, it’s recommended that you discuss financial contributions which could be made to the household, if necessary. 


When can I apply for an apprenticeship? 

Unlike other educational courses that start in September, apprenticeships start when employers need to recruit, so they are available throughout the year. 

You can apply for an apprenticeship during or after your GCSEs/A Levels/BTEC, as long as the employer is willing to wait for you to complete your exams. 

If you are 16 by the end of the summer holidays you can leave school on the last Friday in June. However, apprenticeship training cannot start until you’ve turned 16 years old. 


Is there any financial assistance available (e.g. bursaries)? 

As apprentices are full employees and paid a wage throughout their apprenticeship, no other financial assistance is available. 

However, if you are a care leaver you may be eligible for the Care Leaver’s Bursary during your apprenticeship. Please contact a member of the team for details.


What happens after an apprenticeship?  

Most apprentices are offered a permanent position with their employer after successfully completing an apprenticeship. Some apprentices develop further skills within the company through another apprenticeship or other training. Some apprentices progress to university courses and others look for employment elsewhere using the experience and skills gained during their apprenticeship training. 

Apprentices at Totton College have gone on to participate in London Fashion Week, become registered managers within the care industry and been promoted to a bid writer within the Ministry of Defence. Your newly achieved qualification can open many career paths! 


Can I apply to college and to an apprenticeship? 

Yes. Schools often advise students to apply to both, with college as your back-up plan. If you decide to accept an offer of apprenticeship employment you will need to withdraw from your college application. However, if you know you definitely want to apply for an apprenticeship, you do not need to apply to college. 

How do I find an apprenticeship? 

Check out our current vacancies page. 

For more information, please contact our Apprenticeship Team: apprenticeships@totton.ac.uk or 0300 123 3385