Apprentice FAQs – how can we help you?

At Paragon Skills we are passionate about apprenticeships and we are also passionate about making sure you have all the information you need so that you can be confident in your decision to start an apprenticeship. Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions which should hopefully help answer any questions you may have. Please do contact us if there is something not covered in our frequently asked questions.


What exactly is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship offers the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised set of qualifications through practical training on and off the job. Apprentices gain job-specific skills, work alongside experienced staff whilst earning a wage.

An apprenticeship really does offer you the best of both worlds. As an apprentice, you are an employee, with employee’s rights, wages, and holiday entitlements.

In addition to earning whilst you learn, on completing your apprenticeship you’ll also have solid industry experience and valuable references on your CV.

Will I need to have an interview?

If you are applying for a new job and your application is successful, you will be put forward for interview. If you’re already employed, it’s unlikely you’ll need to have an interview, It is important to be prepared for your interview and we can help you prepare for this.

Can I undertake an apprenticeship with my current employer?

Yes. If you already have a job and wish to gain a nationally recognised qualification in that role, an apprenticeship is a great way to do it. A great way to start is to visit our employing an apprentice page ready to discuss with your employer or give us a call on 0800 783 2545

Will I pay tax when on an apprenticeship?

Yes – if you meet the tax threshold. As an apprentice, you are employed and all employees aged over 16 must pay tax on their income. However, if you are under 25 you are not required to a Class 2 national insurance contribution. Tax with be deducted as part of your employers PAYE process.

Will an apprenticeship cost me anything?

No. Your employer pays your wage and we apply for government funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency to support the cost of your qualification.

Currently 100% funding is available for apprentices ages 16 – 18 and 95% for those aged 19 + (subject to the employers levy status).

You or your employer can call us to discuss any questions you have regarding funding on 0800 783 2545.

Will I be entitled to holidays?

Yes. As an employee you are entitled to the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles. This includes holiday and sick pay and any other benefits offered to other members of staff such as childcare vouchers.

Details of this will be set out in your contract of employment provided by your employer.

Can I get an NUS student discount card?

Yes! Apprentices are entitled to a NUS Card through the National Union of Students. For just £12 this card entitles you to discounts at many of your favourite high street and online retailers.

When can I start?

An apprenticeship is a job and in no way related to the academic calendar. You can apply for an apprenticeship at any time of the year.

Starting your training depends upon the availability of a suitable position being offered by an employer and your success in being accepted by that employer to undertake that role.

Your start date will need to coincide with your apprenticeship enrolment date. Your Personal Trainer will visit you and your employer at your new place of work on your first day.

Do I need to find a job first?

You need to be employed to do an apprenticeship, but we have a number of employers looking for people to join their teams as an apprentice. If you’re not currently employed or looking for a new job, you can apply for apprenticeship vacancies advertised by employers looking to employ an apprentice.

You can view current vacancies here

If you already have a job and wish to gain a qualification in that industry as an apprentice, this is possible subject to your employer’s agreement.

What will I be paid?

As of 1st April 2022, the National Minimum Wage for apprentices has increased from £4.30 per hour to £4.81 per hour.

The National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage have increased depending on age. The new rates, depending on age, are as follows:

Under 18: £4.81 per hour

Aged 18-20-years old: £6.83 per hour

Aged 21-22-years old: £9.18 per hour

Aged 23-years old and over: £9.50 per hour

Do I need experience and qualifications?

For many apprenticeships, no experience or qualifications are required.

Some apprenticeships do require some qualifications – at Paragon Skills we can discuss your unique situation, skills, interests, and qualifications and advise you on the best route for you. To find out more you can call 0800 783 2545

Will I need a CV?

You won’t always need a CV, however, it is good practice to put one together. If you are applying for a job or apprenticeship and need one we can help you with this and give you help and advice on interview techniques.

Does it matter how old I am?

There is no age limit, though you do need to be 16 to start your apprenticeship; your age does have an influence over the level of funding that can be claimed to support your training.

If you are aged between 16 – 18, your training will be fully funded 100% by the government. Training for apprentices aged 19+ will be funded 90% by the government and 10% by the employer. (depending on whether or not they are a Levy or Non-levy paying employer).

How long will it take to complete my apprenticeship?

In the sectors we work in, an apprenticeship takes 12 months to 36 months, however this can vary depending on the hours worked, the industry sector and level of qualification. You will also need to complete your End Point Assessment which is normally around 8 weeks, but can vary depending on your apprenticeship.

What is End Point Assessment (EPA)?

End-point assessment (EPA) is the final stage of an apprenticeship. It is an impartial assessment of whether you’ve developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in your apprenticeship standard.

Assessments are designed by employers in the sector and are conducted by independent bodies known as End-Point Assessment organisations (EPAOs).

At Paragon Skills, we can guarantee that when you complete your programme and you reach your EPA, you will pass your apprenticeship.

What is ‘off the job’ training?

ESFA funding rules require that all apprentices undertake a set amount of off-the-job training during their apprenticeship. Off-the-job training is defined simply as any training and learning that is undertaken outside of the normal daily routine that helps support the apprentice in their role.

Will I really be employed?

Yes. You will be officially employed and given a contract of employment/apprentice agreement which will include details of your working week, wage and holiday entitlement. You will be entitled to the same conditions as other employees working at similar grades or in similar roles

How many hours will I work?

Apprentices usually work for at least 30 paid hours a week and must work more than 16.

Details of your exact working hours will be determined by your employer and set out in your apprenticeship agreement / contract of employment.

What happens when I finish my apprenticeship?

Your employer is under no obligation to keep you on once you complete your apprenticeship. They can choose whether to let you go or to offer you a permanent position.

If they do decide to offer you permanent employment you will need to consider the opportunities this gives you and how you wish to proceed with your career and development.

As your apprenticeship training provider we are very much involved in your career progression and will discuss your next steps with you.

Will learning take place in a classroom?

The majority of our apprenticeships are on-the-job training with no requirement to train offsite. The exception to this are the Automotive and Engineering sectors, where occasionally you will be required to attend our state-of-the-art skills centres for training.

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