What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme where the apprentice is employed by the University and works towards a specific, nationally-recognised qualification.


Apprenticeships are only for young people, right?

No. Anyone who has officially left school can become an apprentice whether they’re 16 or 60+. Apprenticeships are also open for current members of staff at the University.


How long does an Apprenticeship last?

Apprenticeships can last any length of time between one to four years.


They are not worth as much as a degree though, are they?

It is not as simple as that. It depends on what the job is and what skills and experience levels the person needs to do that job. The University of Oxford recognises the importance of attracting a skilled and talented workforce to enhance its world-leading research and teaching. The University is currently the largest employer in the county and as a result it has a moral and social duty to provide opportunity for local young people.

Apprenticeships are now available at levels equivalent to GCSE right up to post-graduate levels through new ‘Higher Apprenticeships’, and are absolutely a viable alternative.


What is a ‘framework’?

A framework is the term to describe a collection of qualifications that an apprentice must complete in order to finish their apprenticeship.


Who decides what goes into the framework?

A framework is made up of standard ‘components’:

  • NVQ (practical component)
  • Technical certificate (knowledge component)
  • Functional Skills (English, Maths and ICT)

Additional things such as Employment Rights & Responsibilities (ERR) and Health & Safety will also be covered as part of the framework. Minimum requirements for a framework are set out in the Specification for Apprenticeship Standard in England (SASE). Sector Skills Councils (working closely with representatives from the particular industry sector) design Apprenticeship frameworks, meaning that the training should be relevant to the businesses in their sectors.


What is a Level 2? How does it compare to qualifications I would recognise?

There are three types of Apprenticeship qualification available and their equivalence levels are as follows:

  • Intermediate: Level 2 (GCSE A-C passes)
  • Advanced: Level 3 (A-Level passes)
  • Higher: Level 4-7 (Certificate of Higher Education through to Masters Degree)


What training does an apprentice receive?

The specific training very much depends on the role for which the apprentice is hired but always focuses on two main areas:

  1. Firstly, training in the workplace to do the actual job. This is provided by experienced colleagues who know the job inside out and who are able to impart practical skills ensuring efficiency and accuracy in the role.
  2. Secondly, through formal training provided by an external training provider. In this case, the apprentice works towards professional qualifications appropriate to the role both in type and level. These can include NVQ’s, diplomas, certificates and as well as BTEC’s and others. Higher level Apprenticeships can even go on to a foundation degree. These are taught through a number of channels, which include but are not restricted to a day and block release at college, digitally based distance learning, work books and one-to-one teaching by an assessor in the workplace.


What is a training provider?

A training providers will usually be a college or an independent training organisation.


What qualifications are needed to qualify for an apprenticeship?

Different apprenticeships will have different requirements, depending on the job type and the level of qualification.


I already have a job. Can I still apply for an apprenticeship?

You can as long as you are intending on leaving that job to start your apprenticeship.