What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme. Apprentices gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills they need for their immediate job and future career. An apprentice gains this through a wide mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practice new skills in the workplace.  There must be a genuine job available after they have completed their apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well. The apprenticeship is delivered in partnership with a learning provider. There are targets and checks to make sure that your employer is supporting you and you are making progress.

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To get your career off to a good start you usually need a mixture of qualifications and experience. By doing an apprenticeship you can get both – combining on the job training with study, meaning you can earn while you learn.

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. You just need to be living in England and not taking part in full-time education.  There may be different entry requirements depending on the apprenticeship.

With some apprenticeships you can even get a degree. Apprenticeships can take between 1-4 years to complete, duration normally depending on the level.

As an apprentice you’ll be able to:

  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • earn a wage
  • study towards a related qualification

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels:

NameLevelEquivalent educational level
Intermediate 2 5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C
Advanced 3 2 A level passes
Higher 4, 5, 6 and 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor's or master's degree


The table below shows the full-time equivalent annual salaries for staff employed on an apprentice contract by Cornwall Council or its maintained schools with effect from 1 April 2018.

Apprentice Level 2 £11,684*
Apprentice Level 3 £15,839**
Apprentice Level 4 £17,364***
Apprentice Level 5 £19,446
Apprentice Level 6 £21,780
Apprentice Level 7 £24,393

Hourly rate = full time salary ÷ 1929.18

* this pay rate is aligned with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 18-20 year olds.
** this rate of pay is aligned with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for over 25 year olds (the National Living Wage)
*** this rate of pay is aligned to the Living Wage Foundation rate.

We will provide you with a great learning experience, together with tangible skills and support in the workplace, leading to a range of job and career opportunities. We will work with the recruiting manager and the learning provider to:

  • Identify a suitable apprenticeship
  • Give advice, guidance and mentoring
  • Identify additional development options to make the apprenticeship a quality experience
  • Meet with you and your manager at regular intervals
  • Co-ordinate and monitor your apprenticeship

For more information on the current vacancies please view How do I become an Apprentice?.

Cornwall Council also runs a work experience programme please view Work Experience Placements at Cornwall Council for more information.

For more information about apprenticeships please contact 01872 324600 or email apprenticeships@cornwall.gov.uk