This year, National Apprenticeship Week 2024 (#NAW2024) takes place from 5th to 11th February 2024, bringing together everyone passionate about apprenticeships to celebrate the value, benefit, and opportunity that apprenticeships offer!

What is an Apprenticeship?

It’s a real job, with real training, meaning you can earn while you learn and gain a nationally recognised qualification.
It usually takes between one and four years to complete an Apprenticeship depending on which level you take. Apprenticeships are available across a wide range of industries and many high quality, prestigious companies and organisations offer them.

What do we have planned?

At Penrice, throughout the academic year, we raise awareness of Apprenticeships with all our year groups, either through tutor time activities and/or special events and trips. However, for National Apprenticeship Week we have a number of activities planned including webinars, assemblies, and the opportunity to meet visiting employers face-to-face. Students across all year groups will have an assembly explaining what an apprenticeship is and also a tutor time session where we will look further into the apprenticeship pathway.

Be sure to check out the wide range of useful downloads and resources at the bottom of this page, shared courtesy of Amazing Apprenticeships.

Types of Apprenticeship

The popularity of apprenticeships is growing rapidly with young people able to start them at a wide range of entry levels including:

  • Traineeships: a programme for those not quite ready to go into a full apprenticeship.
  • Intermediate Apprenticeships: Level 2/3 for beginning the apprenticeship journey, starting age from 16, no upper age limit.
  • Advanced Apprenticeships: Level 3/4 apprenticeships equivalent to two A level passes with valuable work experience.
  • Higher Apprenticeships: Levels 4-5. Suitable for those looking to build on their knowledge and progress from their Advanced-level qualification.
  • Degree Apprenticeships: Levels 6-7. Degree apprenticeships are offered by universities and other higher education providers in partnership with employers. They contain either a full degree or degree-level qualification and go up to master’s level (which is postgraduate).

Penrice Success Stories

You don’t have to go to university to find success…

After leaving college, Hannah found an opportunity to do an apprenticeship in Business Administration with Coodes Solicitors.

Click to expand Hannah’s full story ▼

Hannah Knight
Former Student (Class of 2017)

“This felt right for me. I knew I would get a study and work life balance whilst still getting paid. Since then, I have learnt everything I know about Conveyancing by learning practically and from my colleagues.

I am now Secretary to the Head of Residential Conveyancing and I really enjoy my job. I am currently completing a course across all areas of law with the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs, which Coodes are supporting me with. It feels brilliant to be building on my workplace experience whilst being in education at the same time.”

Career Highlight
“Being asked to work as Secretary to the Head of Department has proven to be a brilliant learning opportunity for me. It has allowed me to be involved in a lot of areas across conveyancing and really improved my knowledge.

I like the challenges I am faced with. An example of this would be recently doing my first contract on an unregistered title and being able to get hands-on and assist on first registrations.”

Penrice Inspiration
“My Form Tutor, Mrs Knowles, was the most supportive person to me. Penrice did a lot of Career Fairs which helped me identify that A-levels were not the only option for me because I do not perform to my full potential in exams, so learning about diplomas which were coursework-based helped me on my journey.

In my position now, at 21, I have nearly 3 years of experience, a new qualification and no debt from university. I know if I work at it I can become qualified in a career I enjoy without getting into the debt.”

Hannah’s top tip
“Do what feels right for you not just what everyone else is doing. I knew since secondary that A-level exams and university wasn’t for me. Since then I have done everything diploma/apprenticeship style as I know that is how I work best. There are many routes that can be taken.”

Information shared in January 2022 with special thanks to Hannah Knight.

Apprenticeships vs Degrees? – Who says you can’t do both! #NAW2024

Freya embarked upon an apprenticeship so that she could gain real workplace experience in a school environment. This helped her come to the conclusion that studying a BEd Primary Education degree was the right decision.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to ‘try before you buy’ whilst earning some money.”

A-Levels ➡️ Apprenticeship ➡️ Degree ➡️ Primary Teacher

Click to expand Freya’s full story ▼

Freya Hancock
Former Student (Class of 2015)

The start of the journey
“After leaving Penrice, I studied maths, English, Chemistry and Biology at A-level. I chose such broad subjects as I loved learning, but wasn’t sure what to focus on. During my A-Levels, I worked seasonally at the Eden Project to facilitate a range of events for children and their families. It was this experience that inspired me to pursue a career working with young people.”

Why did you chose an apprenticeship?
“I knew that I really wanted to work with young people, but I wasn’t sure if being a teacher was the right career path for me. I didn’t want to commit to studying a 3-year degree to become a teacher unless I was absolutely sure.

To help me decide, I wanted to gain work experience in a school whilst earning money and leaving my career options open. However, getting work in a school was difficult because I had no prior experience. I was stuck in a loop.

After searching for a while, I saw a Business and Administration Apprenticeship vacancy at St Dennis Primary Academy. At interview, the school were highly supportive of my long-term career plan and promised that they would give me lots of exposure to the classroom environment as part of my apprenticeship. The role was amazing – the school was so helpful in giving me the real-life experience I needed to make an informed decision about a future career in teaching. It was definitely the right environment for me.

The apprenticeship definitely helped me to break the loop of ‘no experience, no job.’ It gave me a way in.”

What happened next?
“After my apprenticeship, I went to the University of Gloucestershire to complete a Bed (Hons) Primary Education degree. Even after completing my degree, my apprenticeship year proved fruitful. The network of contacts I had built during my apprenticeship helped me to gain my first full time teaching job at Mount Charles School in St Austell. I spent my first teaching year there and have recently accepted a Year 3 teaching role at Trewirgie Junior School in Redruth, which is closer to where I live.”

Career Highlight
“One particular highlight for me was taking the children on their first ever school camp and seeing them flourish in a new environment. They were so excited!”

Penrice Inspiration
“The inspiring teachers at Penrice helped shape me to become the teacher I am today and it was amazing to visit Penrice last year as part of my work within the Trust.”

Freya’s Top Tip
“Don’t panic if you don’t know what to do straight away! There are so many options out there and you don’t need to rush. It is better to wait and explore all of the routes available. For people like me, apprenticeships are a great way to ‘try before you buy’. This was an important process for me before I committed to a full degree course.”

Did you know?

Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers aged 16.

In recent figures from the 2022/23 academic year, the UK government reports that Under 19s accounted for only 31.5% of starts. A huge number of young people are embarking upon advanced apprenticeships (41.8%) and higher-level apprenticeships (34.4%) as successful pathways into their chosen careers, receiving full training on the job and valuable industry experience.*

*Last updated 30/01/2023

You can find below useful information for both parents and pupils concerning apprenticeships.

Resources for Students and Parents