Apprentice FAQs

Are you thinking about starting an apprenticeship? We've put together some of the most frequently asked questions to guide you through your journey.
WHAT IS AN APPRENTICESHIP?

An apprenticeship is a great way to gain a work-based qualification. Every apprenticeship is linked to a particular job role and combines specialist training with on-the-job experience. 

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over 16, offering qualifications at lots of different levels. People use apprenticeships to start a new career, or to take their job to the next level.

WHAT PROGRAMMES ARE AVAILABLE WITH BALTIC APPRENTICESHIPS?

At Baltic Apprenticeships, we specialise in the digital and IT sector. We offer Level 3 and Level 4 apprenticeships in cyber security, data, digital marketing, IT and software development.

Our Level 3 Apprenticeships:

Our Level 4 Apprenticeships:

WHAT QUALIFICATION WILL I GET?

Apprenticeships are available at different levels, from Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE) right the way up to Level 7 (equivalent to a master’s degree).

At Baltic Apprenticeships, we offer programmes at Level 3 and Level 4.

A Level 3 apprenticeship, or Advanced Apprenticeship, is equivalent to A-Level qualifications. A Level 4 apprenticeship, or Higher Apprenticeship, is equivalent to a foundation degree.

After you pass your apprenticeship, you will get certificates to show that you have achieved the qualification.

HOW LONG DOES AN APPRENTICESHIP LAST?

The duration of an apprenticeship depends on the programme you choose and the level of the apprenticeship. A Level 3 apprenticeship takes 12-15 months to complete, while a Level 4 apprenticeships can typically take 18-21 months.

WHAT IS THE APPRENTICESHIP WAGE?

The National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage is currently £4.15 per hour (as of April 2021). Your exact wage will depend on the vacancy you apply for and is decided by your employer. At Baltic Apprenticeships, many of our employers pay their apprentices more than the National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage.

WHO CAN BECOME AN APPRENTICE?

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16 with the right to work in the UK. Some programmes and apprenticeship providers may ask for specific qualifications, interests or experience. At Baltic, any requirements are clearly listed on individual vacancies.

CAN YOU BE TOO OLD FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP?

There is no maximum age for an apprenticeship. Anyone aged 16 and over can be enrolled on an apprenticeship, including school leavers, career changers, and people looking to develop their skills as part of their current job. 47% of apprenticeships started in 2019/20 were by people aged 25 and over.

You can read more about this question on our blog.

CAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES DO AN APPRENTICESHIP?

You can still do an apprenticeship if you have been to university, so long as the modules you studied are different from the apprenticeship programme you wish to apply for. If you’d like to check your eligibility for one of our programmes, please contact our recruitment team. We will be happy to help.

I'M FROM OVERSEAS, CAN I START AN APPRENTICESHIP IN THE UK?

To be eligible for an apprenticeship in England, you must have a valid residency status. UK nationals are eligible if they are a citizen of the UK and have been resident in the UK or EEA for the last 3 years.

EEA citizens are eligible for apprenticeships if they have been resident in the EEA for the last 3 years. Due to the UK leaving the EU, EEA citizens will remain eligible for apprenticeships under these rules until 31st July 2021.

Non-EEA citizens are eligible if they have permission from the UK government to live in the UK (not for educational purposes) and have been resident in the UK for the last 3 years.

For more detailed guidance, including guidance for those with another immigration status, please see the published rules from the UK government.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED TO START AN APPRENTICESHIP WITH BALTIC?

All entry qualifications are listed on our individual vacancies. Generally, we would ask for the following GCSE grades to begin a Level 3 Apprenticeship:

  • For Digital Marketing: GCSE English C/4
  • For Software Development: GCSE Maths C/4
  • For IT Infrastructure Technician: GCSE Maths C/4
  • For Data Technician: GCSE Maths C/4

To start a Level 4 programme, we would usually recommend that candidates complete a Level 3 apprenticeship or have existing work experience in their chosen field. 

CAN I DO AN APPRENTICESHIP FOR MY UNIVERSITY PLACEMENT OR A GAP YEAR?

Apprenticeships are a full-time commitment and last a minimum of 12-15 months. You would not be able to do an apprenticeship alongside another form of education, and are not suitable for university placements or as work alongside another form of study.

Apprenticeships can be a great way to explore a career and build experience in your chosen field between leaving school and going to university, but most apprenticeships will not fit into a traditional "gap year" timeline of 12 months or less. If you are considering an apprenticeship, you would need to demonstrate that you are committed to completing the programme.

DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP?

Apprentices do not have to pay anything towards their apprenticeship training. This is fully funded by your employer and the UK government. You don’t need to pay any tuition fees or take out a student loan. Your employer will also pay you a wage while you train.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN APPRENTICESHIP?

When your apprenticeship ends, you will have a qualification and extensive experience in your job. This gives you the freedom to continue your career in any way you choose. Many of our apprentices are offered a permanent position with their employer. 95% of our recent apprentices are in full-time employment or are continuing their training with a Level 4 apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship will also give you UCAS points which you can use to apply for university, where your extra experience can give you the edge.

HOW DO I FIND AN APPRENTICESHIP?

You can search for current apprenticeship opportunities near you with our vacancy search tool. New opportunities are added all the time, so please remember to check back regularly!

You can also browse our programmes, or search via the National Apprenticeship Service.

CAN I RELOCATE FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP?

When applying for one of our apprenticeship vacancies, you need to make sure you are able to travel to work every day. Typically, we would not recommend a vacancy to you if it is located more than 45 minutes away from where you live. Long commutes can be particularly difficult as an apprentice, where transport costs may claim an unsustainable portion of your wages.

New employers and new apprenticeship opportunities are added all the time – so if you can’t find a vacancy in your area, don’t worry. Something in your travel range is likely to come up soon.

WHAT IS YOUR RECRUITMENT PROCESS?

When you apply for a Baltic Apprenticeship, our team will review your application and aim to contact you by phone or email. We like to chat with our future apprentices, learning more about you and the kind of apprenticeship you are looking for.

If we think you’re a good fit for the vacancy, we’ll put you on the shortlist and recommend you to the employer. They may invite you for an interview (either over the phone, via video call, or in person) or to take part in their usual recruitment process.

If you are successful at the interview stage, we recommend that our employers offer you a work trial. This is usually one to two days where you get to meet the team, learn more about what you’ll be doing and give things a go. This is important for both parties to get to know each other and to feel confident that you’ll be happy in the job role.

If the work trial goes well, you’ll receive an official offer of an apprenticeship.
If you don’t get an offer after your first interview, don’t worry – this happens to lots of amazing candidates. If you’d like to continue your search, we can add you to our talent pool, and help you find the right apprenticeship opportunity.

WHAT SUPPORT WILL I GET AT THE RECRUITMENT STAGE?

Our Recruitment Team are here to set you up for success and match the right person to the right role. We can support you to make the most of your CV, talk through potential interview questions, and point you in the right direction for extra skills training to give your application the edge.

You’ll usually work with the same person throughout the application process, so they’ll get to know you – communicating all your strengths to our prospective employers.

WHAT IS THE TALENT POOL?

Sometimes we have a great candidate who narrowly misses out on an opportunity, or who lives somewhere where there aren’t many vacancies. To give them the best possible chance of finding the right apprenticeship, we bring them into our talent pool and try to find them an amazing opportunity. Some of our apprenticeships are filled within days, thanks to our outstanding talent pool candidates.

When you’re in the talent pool, we’ll give you tailored support to strengthen your future applications and make the most of your skills and passion. We’ll also contact employers on your behalf to generate new apprenticeship opportunities.

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP?

Our apprenticeships start all year round, with new opportunities being added all the time. Our apprenticeship vacancies work in the same way as any other job application, with successful candidates starting their programme as soon as possible after receiving an offer.

If you are looking to begin an apprenticeship after leaving school and completing your GCSEs or A-Levels, we would advise you to begin applying for vacancies with Baltic Apprenticeships as you are finishing your exams. We’ll you help you through the application process and will put you forward for vacancies when you are free to begin an apprenticeship full-time.

WHAT IS THE CLOSING DATE FOR A BALTIC APPRENTICESHIP VACANCY?

Our vacancies do not have a set closing date. The vacancy will close once the role is filled, so we recommend that you apply as soon as possible.

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE ON MY CV AND COVER NOTE?

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE ON MY CV?

A CV is a summary of your education, skills and experience. It should include your qualifications so far, work experience, and list your technical and transferable skills. Try to think about the requirements in the apprenticeship job role, and tie in your interests or experience. This doesn’t all have to be paid work experience, you could mention skills you’ve picked up from your hobbies, volunteering, or school projects.

You should also include your contact details (including a professional email address that you check regularly).

For more guidance on crafting the perfect CV for an apprenticeship, check out our blog on this topic.

WHAT IS A COVER NOTE?

A cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself to an employer and show why you would be a great candidate for the role. This is usually the first thing an employer sees when they look at your application. A good cover note should explain why you are interested in this apprenticeship opportunity and support your CV - highlighting skills and interests that are relevant to the role.

WHEN WILL I HEAR BACK AFTER APPLYING FOR AN APPRENTICESHIP?

When you apply for a Baltic Apprenticeship, our team will review your application and aim to contact you by phone or email as soon as possible. From this point, we will be in touch regularly to keep you updated on your application.

If you move forward to an interview or work trial, we will always get in touch with further information and feedback for you as soon as we hear back from the employer. The time scales of this can vary depending on individual employers and their own recruitment processes.

THERE AREN'T ANY VACANCIES NEAR ME, WHAT CAN I DO?

If you are interested in one of our apprenticeship programmes, but can’t find any live vacancies in your area, please get in touch with our team by emailing yourfuture@balticapprenticeships.com.

Please send us your CV and a cover note telling us a bit about you, where you are based, and the kind of apprenticeship you are looking for.

From here, we may be able to add you to our talent pool and help you find a suitable apprenticeship opportunity in your area.

HOW DOES YOUR TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT WORK?

With an apprenticeship, you will be based with your employer full-time, and complete your training during working hours.

At Baltic Apprenticeships, our training is delivered online through our SMART Classroom. Depending on your programme, you will attend a week of training in the SMART Classroom every 5-8 weeks. During your training weeks, you’ll focus on a specific knowledge module, building up your skills and technical knowledge alongside other apprentices.

Technical training weeks are complemented by one-to-one sessions with your Learning Mentor, workplace projects, and competency workshops.

WHAT IS THE SMART CLASSROOM?

The SMART Classroom is our online training platform, designed with our apprentices in mind. This modern training method blends lectures, hands-on practice, and real time instructor interaction to create a stimulating and successful learning environment.

The SMART Classroom features presentations, live chat, whiteboards, breakout rooms, polls, and other tools to interact with our instructors and other apprentices.

You can log into the SMART Classroom from anywhere with an internet connection, meaning you can complete your training from the office or from home if your employer agrees.

Find out more about the SMART Classroom.

HOW IS AN APPRENTICESHIP ASSESSED?

Assessment methods can vary depending on which apprenticeship programme you do. During your apprenticeship, you will complete Workplace Projects (sometimes called Assessment Plans) to demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard. These Workplace Projects form a portfolio that is used during your End Point Assessment (EPA). Your Learning Mentor will set these projects and sign off your portfolio entries.

Some of our programmes also include knowledge exams at the end of a training course. You will need to pass these knowledge modules before moving forward to the EPA.

The End Point Assessment (EPA) is different for every programme, but can include a mix of the following assessments: an interview or professional discussion with an external assessor; a work-based project (sometimes called a Synoptic Project); a scenario demonstration; a presentation; your portfolio; and a reference from your employer. When you pass the EPA (Pass, Merit or Distinction), you have passed your apprenticeship.

WHAT SUPPORT WILL I GET DURING THE APPRENTICESHIP?

Throughout your Baltic apprenticeship, you will be given your own Learning Mentor to guide you through the training and assessments and help you apply your skills in the workplace. You will meet your Learning Mentor via the SMART Classroom for support sessions and progress reviews approximately every 6 weeks. If any issues arise between sessions, your Learning Mentor will be there for you by phone or email.

Apprentices at Baltic Apprenticeships also have access to a confidential wellbeing helpline, operated by Mindful Employer.

CAN I WORK REMOTELY ON MY APPRENTICESHIP?

During the Coronavirus pandemic, many of our apprentice employers introduced home working in line with government guidance. Apprentices at Baltic complete 100% of their technical training remotely via the SMART Classroom. As working practices change, some employers may allow apprentices to continue working remotely, at their own discretion.

As an apprenticeship training provider, we have a duty to ensure that our apprentices will receive appropriate guidance and support in the workplace. We work with employers to ensure that this can be delivered for our learners within all working environments.

CAN I TRANSFER TO BALTIC FROM ANOTHER TRAINING PROVIDER?

It may be possible to transfer to Baltic Apprenticeships from another training provider. Please contact yourfuture@balticapprenticeships.com to explore your options.

I HAVE COMPLETED AN APPRENTICESHIP WITH BALTIC IN THE PAST. HOW CAN I GET A COPY OF MY CERTIFICATES?

You can get your certificates by emailing certificates@balticapprenticeships.com with your full name, apprenticeship programme and approximate dates of study.

Employer FAQs

Below are some of the most common questions employers have about apprenticeships. If you have further questions or would like to discuss potential apprenticeships in your organisation, please get in touch with our team of specialists.
HOW DO I HIRE AN APPRENTICE?

If you are ready to futureproof your business with an apprentice, fill out a form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss the process. Our recruitment process is completely free and we have a talent pool of candidates actively looking for apprenticeships.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECRUIT AN APPRENTICE?

We aim to fill our vacancies within 30 days whilst maintaining our high levels of service. We may already have a candidate in our Talent Pool who is perfect for your business, or we may have to put an advert out which takes a little more time. 

CAN I USE APPRENTICESHIPS TO TRAIN MY EXISTING STAFF?

Yes, apprenticeships are an accessible, affordable and high quality means of training within the workplace. Our Level 4 programmes offer ideal professional development routes for upskilling your team.

Check out the programmes we offer to see if they could benefit your team.

CAN AN APPRENTICE START ON A LEVEL 4 PROGRAMME?

For new apprentices, we generally advise starting with a Level 3 programme and upon completion, progressing onto a Level 4 programme to advance their skills and knowledge. In some cases, apprentices may already have industry experience or prior qualifications, making a Level 4 programme a better fit.

HOW DO BALTIC APPRENTICESHIPS SOURCE AND SCREEN CANDIDATES?

We have a talent pool full of bright people across the country! We advertise our apprenticeship vacancies on  job boards, on the national apprenticeship website and on social media.

We take a personalised approach to recruitment. Your recruitment consultant will listen your requirements and look for candidates suited to your role and work environment.

WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES CAN AN APPRENTICE TAKE ON?

Initially, apprentices will be able to work on a variety of smaller tasks, freeing up the rest of your team to concentrate on more strategic projects. As apprentices complete their technical training and build their knowledge, they will be able to take on more advanced work and become a real asset to your team.

With the right guidance and support, apprentices can become future leaders of your business!

HOW IS TRAINING DELIVERED?

Our technical training is delivered remotely though our SMART Classroom. This modern training method blends lectures, hands-on practice and instructor interaction to create the most stimulating and successful learning environment possible.

At Baltic Apprenticeships, our training sessions are scheduled across a full week, approximately every 6 weeks. This block training approach ensures that learners are able to immerse themselves in their technical training, and are ready to apply their knowledge and skills to the workplace immediately afterwards.

This training approach enables your apprentice to see themselves as a full-time member of your team. Each training week is scheduled in advance to allow you to plan day-to-day workload accordingly.

Our technical training is supplemented by regular support and review sessions with your apprentices’ Learning Mentor. They will set work-based projects and sign-off portfolio contributions.

WHERE DO BALTIC DELIVER THEIR TRAINING?

As our training is conducted remotely, your apprentice can remain in the workplace whilst on their training week, or complete their training from home. We will send our learners a headset so they can get involved in the conversation with their trainer and other apprentices on the course.

We deliver apprenticeships to organisations across England.

HOW OFTEN WILL AN APPRENTICE BE OUT OF THE OFFICE?

Our technical training weeks occur approximately every 6 weeks, depending on the programme. During this time, your apprentice will be encouraged to focus solely on their training.

Our technical training is 100% online, so depending on your preferences, apprentices can train from their desk or from home.

Apprentices will only need to travel if they are required to attend an exam at a local test centre at the end of a training module.

IS ANY ADDITIONAL TRAINING REQUIRED DURING THE APPRENTICESHIP?

The apprenticeship requires 20% off the job learning. Baltic Apprenticeships schedule approximately 13% of this through our technical training modules and Learning Mentor support.

The remaining off-the-job training should be provided by an employer through shadowing, workplace mentoring and any relevant training that is specific to your apprentice’s job role. Of course, our team are always happy to advise on ways to fulfil this additional training requirement.

WHAT SUPPORT DOES AN APPRENTICE NEED?

Apprentices should have a workplace mentor to guide and support them through their apprenticeship. This is someone who can manage the apprentice, delegate tasks, share their knowledge and give guidance. Mentoring an apprentice can be a great way to provide a development opportunity within your team.

At Baltic, our apprentices will also be supported by a Learning Mentor, who will provide support and guidance throughout the apprenticeship programme.

Our Learning Mentors ensure that learners are able to apply their knowledge to the workplace and evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard.

CAN AN APPRENTICE TRANSFER FROM ANOTHER TRAINING PROVIDER?

Yes, your current provider should have exit process in place. If you are interested in transferring an apprentice to one of our programmes, please contact us and a member of the team will be in touch to explore this further.

WHAT FUNDING IS AVAILABLE FOR EMPLOYERS?

The majority of apprenticeship training costs can be covered by Government funding.

Usually, the Government will contribute 95% towards the cost of apprenticeship training, with employers topping up the last 5% as a co-investment payment. For eligible SMEs with under 50 employees, the Government can fund 100% of training costs.

If you are an employer with a pay bill of over £3 million each year, you will pay into the Apprenticeship Levy. This means you will have an apprenticeship levy fund that is already ringfenced for training.

There are also Apprenticeship Hiring Incentives currently available for employers. These are grants of up to £3000 for new apprentices, plus an additional £1000 if the apprentice is between the ages of 16-18.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF AN APPRENTICESHIP FOR EMPLOYERS?

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF RECRUITING AN APPRENTICE?

Our recruitment process is completely free! For employers, the only cost of hiring an apprentice are wages and training costs. Training costs depend on the size of your business, and government funding is available. 

WHAT DO YOUR PROGRAMMES COST?

The cost of our programmes range from £11,000 - £18,000, however, the government will fund between 95-100% of this if you do not pay into the apprenticeship levy.

If you pay into the apprenticeship levy, the cost of the programme will be paid in monthly instalments using your levy funds.

WHAT WAGE DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR APPRENTICES?

The current National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage is £4.30 an hour, regardless of age. For apprentices aged 19 or over, this is raised to the National Minimum Wage for their age group after the first year of training.

We recommend paying £5 per hour for 16-18 year olds and £6-£6.50 per hour for apprentices aged 19 or over, this higher wage recognises the value that apprentices bring to an organisation, promotes loyalty and will boost job satisfaction.

Apprenticeship Levy FAQs

Are you wondering how the Apprenticeship Levy can work for your organisation? Here are the answers to some common questions that may help. Don't hesitate to get in touch if there's anything else you'd like to know.
WHAT IS THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY?

The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax applied to UK employers to fund apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Levy contributions form a ringfenced training fund which can then be used by your organisation to pay for apprenticeship training.

The levy is only paid by employers with an annual salary bill in excess of £3 million. Around 2% of UK employers will pay into the levy.

DOES MY ORGANISATION PAY INTO THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY?

Any business that has a salary bill in excess of £3 million, or is connected to other companies or charities through employment allowance, which in total have an annual salary bill of more than £3 million, will pay into the Apprenticeship Levy each month.

HOW DO I WORK OUT MUCH I NEED TO PAY?

You can calculate your Levy contributions using our Apprenticeship Levy Calculator tool.

HOW IS THE MONEY PAID?

Your payroll department will calculate, report and pay your levy to HMRC through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) process, alongside Income Tax and National Insurance.

Your levy payments will be recorded on the Digital Apprenticeship Service website where you can access your account at any time.

WHAT CAN LEVY FUNDS BE SPENT ON?

There are various ways businesses can use their levy funds.

They can be used to recruit a new apprentice, or as a highly accessible and affordable means of training for existing employees.

Apprenticeships are a great training option, at all levels of an organisation. 

HOW DO I ACCESS MY FUNDS?

You can access your funds through your Digital Apprenticeship Service account. If you don’t have an account, you can set one up here.

This online service will allow you to financially manage your apprenticeship programmes and help you to estimate your financial spend.

You can see funds appear in your digital account monthly, a few working days after you have confirmed your salary bill and levy contribution to HRMC for the previous month. You can then use the account to set up apprenticeships and authorise payments to training providers.

DO LEVY FUNDS EXPIRE?

Levy funds expire 24 months after they enter your account unless you spend them on apprenticeship training. Levy spend will be applied on a first in, first out basis and applies to any government top-ups in your digital account.

For example, if you started paying into the levy in April 2019 and you haven’t spent any of the funds, they will start to expire on a rolling monthly basis starting from April 2021.

CAN I TRANSFER MY LEVY FUNDS TO ANOTHER ORGANISATION?

Yes, Levy transfers can be used to cover the costs of apprenticeship training, particularly for medium-sized businesses who do not always qualify for 100% funding support.

CAN BALTIC HELP ME ARRANGE A LEVY TRANSFER?

Yes, we can! If your organisation has Apprenticeship Levy funds due to expire, our team can help you transfer these funds and generate much-needed apprenticeship opportunities.

Please get in touch for more information.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I SPEND ALL MY LEVY FUNDS?

If you run out of levy funds, the remaining training costs for that month will come out of the ‘co-investment’ model. This means that the government will fund 95% of any outstanding costs, and you will need to cover the remaining 5%.

Everything you need to know...

Whether you are an apprentice, employer, school or parent, our ebooks and tools are designed to give you all the information that you will need.
Apprentice Ebook:

An Introduction to Your Baltic Apprenticeship

Employer Ebook:

Your Guide to the Apprenticeship Levy

Training Directory - UK directory of training companies and training providers.