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Why an Apprenticeship?

Employers can access apprenticeships to train both new and existing employees and government funding is available to support the training of apprentices.

There are a wide range of apprenticeships available and a number of skills pathways within each apprenticeship to choose from, to suit your business needs.

By choosing to engage with the apprenticeship programme, you can develop a ‘grow your own’ approach which will enable young people in particular to flourish and develop into valuable members of your business, and provide you with a skilled workforce and the managers and leaders of the future.

Economic benefit 

Employers use apprenticeships to attract new talent, re-skill existing staff and tackle skill shortages. Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors. 

Hiring apprentices is a productive and effective way for businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. 83% of employers would recommend apprenticeships to others. The average apprenticeship completer increases business productivity by £214 per week, with these gains including increased profits, lower prices and better products. (

Improve your bottom line

Apprenticeships deliver real returns to your bottom line, helping to improve productivity and competitiveness. Training apprentices can also be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower training and recruitment costs.

Fill your skills gaps

Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs, providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.

Motivate your workforce

Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them. Remember, an apprentice is with you because they want to be - they have made an active choice to learn on the job and to commit to a specific career.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job with an accompanying skills development programme which allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise and embed new skills in a real work context.

Apprenticeships have been designed by employers to meet employers’ needs for a particular sector and each apprenticeship defines the skills, knowledge, behaviours and formal qualifications that the apprentice needs to acquire in order to become competent in their chosen field and to be awarded the status of fully qualified apprentice.  

What types of Apprenticeship are available?

Apprenticeships are changing. The government has asked employers in each sector to review the content of apprenticeships for their industries and occupations, and these new, revised apprenticeships, are known as Apprenticeship Standards.   Over the next few years, these new Standards will be phased in to replace the existing Apprenticeship Frameworks, which have been around for a number of years.  

Because of this transition from Frameworks to Standards, HLC offers a mixture of both Apprenticeship Frameworks and Apprenticeship Standards, depending on the sector in question and the availability of new Standards for that sector. We will advise the employer on whether we are able to offer a Standard or a Framework for a given occupational sector or job role.

What levels of Apprenticeship are available?

There are three levels of apprenticeships available for those aged 16 and over.

Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to five good GCSE passes)

Intermediate Apprenticeships involve the development and assessment of skills and knowledge at Level 2 (relevant to the occupational sector or job role), and as defined by the Framework or Standard.  Achievement of an Intermediate Apprenticeship may allow progression onto an Advanced Apprenticeship.

Advanced Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A Level passes)

Advanced Apprenticeships involve the development and assessment of skills and knowledge at Level 3 (relevant to the occupational sector or job role), and as defined by the Framework or Standard. Achievement of an Advanced Apprenticeship may allow progression onto a Higher Apprenticeship.

To start an Advanced Apprenticeship, the applicant should ideally have five good GCSEs (grade C/grade 4 or above) or have completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship.

Higher & Degree Apprenticeships 

Higher & Degree Apprenticeships involve the development and assessment of skills and knowledge at Level 4 or above (relevant to the occupational sector or job role), and as defined by the Framework or Standard. Higher Apprenticeships at Level 4 and 5 can allow progression on to university degrees, and Degree Apprenticeships are also now becoming widely available in most sectors.


How long is an Apprenticeship?

The minimum length of an apprenticeship is 12 months, but some apprenticeships will be designed to last two, three or four years. This will depend on the Framework or Standard being followed, the level of apprenticeship, the specific occupational area/sector and the prior skill levels of the apprentice.

We will advise you on the requirements for your particular sector.

How do I recruit an Apprentice?

There are some key elements to consider before you recruit an apprentice.

Firstly, ensure your business has a belief in apprenticeships and their worth and be prepared to invest your time in them.

Secondly, spend time looking at roles that might be suitable for apprentices. You may have existing roles that you could develop into apprenticeships for example, or a certain facet of the business that is growing and needs support in developing.

You can recruit an apprentice as you would normally recruit any new member of staff, via advertising and word of mouth. Or you can sign up an existing member of your workforce onto an apprenticeship programme with us.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with Herefordshire & Ludlow College, which may help you save time and resources in finding the right person. We have access to a wide range of schools in the area as well as a large number of students who are currently studying at college on a range of full-time and vocational courses. We also receive high volumes of applications each year from young people who are interested in securing an apprenticeship opportunity through the college. We can help you match the apprenticeship vacancy you have in mind with the right candidate.

You can also ask the college to advertise your apprenticeship vacancies by using the government’s ‘recruit an apprentice’ service (

All applicants, whether referred to the College by yourself or recruited on your behalf by the College, are interviewed by us to ensure that the apprentice is placed onto the right course and at the right level and that any prior experience or knowledge is taken into account.

As part of the interview with us, would-be apprentices are required to undertake initial assessment tests in English and maths. There is no 'pass' or 'fail' with these tests - the purpose is to highlight those apprentices who may need additional support for English or maths to help them achieve their qualifications.

Most school leavers at 16, 17 and 18 years will be ready and available to start with you from July each year.

The recruitment cycle for apprentices from the pool of college students starts as early as January each year for an August to September start. In some occupational areas, apprentices can be recruited to start all year round.

The final decision about who to take on as an apprentice rests with you, the employer.

Employer Testimonials

Stuart Laurie, Plumbing & Heating Engineer at Hereford Gas Services Ltd

"There have been 10-15 apprentices since I started here and we have always been successful in employing new ones each year. It’s really important to us to keep passing on our trade and it is good to see more apprentices being supported in the different industries. Our apprentices this year have been great; keen, motivated and with a good sense of humour. We are one of the larger independent companies in Hereford with a great showroom so we are lucky to be able to have apprentices each year."

Steve Strange, Production Director at Hereford Cask Ltd

"It is crucial to emphasise how important the combination of practical work and theoretical knowledge is on the path to becoming a skilled worker. Our one apprentice, Adam, has always worked with our company, so although he has fantastic knowledge it is very specific to Hereford Casks Ltd. Our other apprentice Alex completed a First Diploma in Welding and Fabrication at HLC’s Holme Lacy Campus prior to coming here so he has a much broader base of knowledge and this can only be beneficial to his development in real life industry. They now both attend college once a week."

David Thomas, Managing Director at G.P.Thomas & Son Ltd

"We have always had and will continue to have a commitment to training and our relationship with the College is central to this. We have found the College to be flexible and responsive and have always listened to us, adjusting training to our needs. I feel that they've acknowledged us as an important part of the whole equation."

View all Apprenticeships at HLC

Contact the Training Division on 0800 032 1986  or email