You find out the perfect scheme, you get invited for an interview, and ever-so close to securing your apprenticeship. Here are some questions to ask to know whether they are right for you.
You need to be sure your employer’s 100% committed to having apprentices. And not just for their benefit, but for yours too.
A good apprentice employer knows that apprenticeships, when done right, are good for everyone.
So, the more you get out of it, the more they will too.
Unlike the rest of the team, you’ll have to split your time between work, study, and assessments.
You need to know they really understand this, and that you’ll have their full support.
Will they give you time to do ‘off-the-job’ parts of your programme during normal working hours? How much flexibility will there be? Will they create opportunities for you to learn new skills on-the-job?
An apprenticeship is big undertaking, so you need to make sure you’ll have a strong support system in place.
You should have various people to turn to. Ideally, you’ll have a line manager and a mentor. Your line manager should be your champion – searching out ways you can learn more skills and protecting the time you need to study.
Your employer should have regular, open conversations with your training provider – and they should include you in them. That way, if anything’s unclear or there’s a problem, everyone knows, and it can be fixed straight away.
Ask how they look after wellbeing for the whole company. Do they have any apprentice-specific support in place (like extra support at assessments)?
You’re learning, but you’re working too, and you deserve to be paid right.
Ask what your starting salary would be. If they only pay the (apprentice) national minimum wage – why?
Are there ways to increase your salary over the course of your apprenticeship (e.g. as you gain more skills)? And what about wider benefits (like using office equipment or claiming expenses) – are you entitled to the same as people in comparable roles?
It’s also worth asking about what’ll happen when your apprenticeship ends.
Do they have specific job roles you can go into? And, if so, how would your pay increase?
If they’ve had apprentices that’ve completed an apprenticeship already, ask how they supported them into careers and better wages.