Prior to applying for an apprenticeship or starting your apprenticeship, you may have some questions regarding the apprenticeship and if its right for you. Please see below for some frequently asked questions that apprentices ask to answer any questions you may have.

If you still have questions that are not covered below, then please contact the Apprenticeship Team on 01744 616837 we will be happy to help with any questions you may have in choosing an apprenticeship programme with Waterside.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a route to becoming a fully skilled person through training, competency and work based skills and education. An apprenticeship covers, skills, knowledge and behaviours to become a skilled technician.

Is an apprenticeship right for me?

If you enjoy practical skills, looking to gain recognised qualifications, gain on the job experience, be employed and be paid, then an apprenticeship could be a great choice for you as the first step on your career ladder.

What are the entry criteria for an apprenticeship?

You should be 16 at the start of the programme, achieved GCSE’s at A*-C or 4-9 in English, Maths and Sciences, be motivated to work, unemployed and have little or no work experience. If you do have work experience, you can still apply as a skills scan at the start of the programme will determine the right path for you.

Is there an age limit?

No, apprenticeships are open to all applicants regardless of age, so you can start an apprenticeship at any age. There is no age limit on apprenticeships.

Do I need an employer?

Yes, to commence an apprenticeship programme you will need to be employed and have an apprenticeship contract. You will need to provide a copy of your contract to your training provider at the start of your programme as part of the ESFA funding arrangements. Waterside will help connect you with an employer who is looking for an apprentice. Alternatively, if you are an employer looking for a provider and you already have an apprentice then we can also help provide a service to manage the apprentice.

How long does an Apprenticeship last?

This varies by sector, generally, Waterside Apprenticeships last between 3 and 4 years. A skills scan at the start of the programme will be completed to ascertain any prior learning and or experience that may have an impact on your qualifications and length of the apprenticeship programme especially if you have prior learning or skills.

What Qualifications will I get?

You will obtain both Knowledge based qualifications and Competency based qualifications at Level 3 standard within your chosen field. The minimum qualification you will obtain is Level 3. An apprenticeship is equivalent to A Level's. The programme will consist of 80% practical work and 20% theoretical work. You will attend a day release programme to attend an academic programme throughout the apprenticeship programme. You can progress to HNC within the apprenticeship programme, however, this is optional and at the discretion of your academic performance at Level 4 and if your employing company will sponsor your progression to Level 4.

What does the Training Provider do?

Your training provider, Waterside Training Limited, is a specialist Engineering training organisation and will in addition to providing classroom learning, they will assign you a mentor who will guide, coach and support you through your apprenticeship. We will manage your apprenticeship by registering and organising your training in conjunction with your employing company.

How many hours will I work?

Dependant on your company, you will work between 37 to 40 hours a week. Some positions require shift work which means working a variety of day shift, mornings, afternoons and some night shifts in the later stages of your apprenticeship. This can be 6-2, 2-10, 10-6 shift pattern or 12 hours continental shift pattern.

Does it cost anything to do an Apprenticeship?

No. On an Apprenticeship, you will earn a salary while doing your training. Getting paid to learn, obtain qualifications and carry out work-based learning at your employing company are the best reasons to do an apprenticeship, especially if you are practically orientated.

When can I start?

Waterside Apprenticeships start in September each year to coincide with the college start year. You will need to enter the recruitment process to apply via the Waterside Application Form. Applications are generally open from January through to June for the intake year. You will complete a range of assessment tests and interviews to become a chosen apprentice.

How much does an apprentice earn?

As an apprentice you will earn a wage, be employed and receive a salary in line with the National Minimum and Living Wage. On average apprentices generally earn around £5.28 per hour. Your employer must pay you the appropriate rate for your age in line with the wage rates. You can find more information and guidance at

Will I get holidays?

Yes, you’ll get at least 20 days’ paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays, your employing company can advise on any contractual terms and conditions and you will normally find this information within your employment contract terms and conditions issued to you at the start of your apprenticeship.

Where will an Apprenticeship lead me?

After your apprenticeship, it can lead you on to become a skilled Engineer or Technician with promotions to Supervisors, Team Leaders and eventually Managers progressing through your employing company earning an approximate salary between £25,000 up to £40,000. You can also apply to either the IMechE or IET for Engineering Chartership.

Can I be an apprentice and still go to university?

Apprenticeships already earn UCAS points, and there are plans to make qualifications gained during apprenticeships count towards university applications. Higher Apprenticeship programmes are available and increasing all the time, and many of these will give you a degree-level qualification. Many apprentices after their apprenticeships go on to study degree programmes to study further in their chosen field.

When can I apply to Waterside Training?

Applications will open around January and close around June for our active intake, visit our vacancy page to find out available vacancies

Please call 01744 616 837 or contact us for more details