Trying to get your head around what an apprenticeship is? You’re in the right place!

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a proper job that comes with training built in, meaning you don’t need any experience to start one. Training takes place at work, where you’ll spend most of your time, and at college too, where you might spend one day per week training, for example.

At work, your employer will show you how to do the job giving you valuable industry experience. At College you will learn theory and have the chance to develop your practical skills before putting them to use at work. The college, you and your employer will all work together over the course of the apprenticeship to ensure you’re constantly developing your skills and experience.

Apprenticeship standards and levels

Apprenticeship standards are now available from level 2 (GCSE) to level 6 (degree) and we’ll make sure the training suits the job you’ll be doing. The level of the apprenticeship is mostly about the level of responsibility and requirements of the job, you’ll need to be ready and able to do that job and achieve any qualifications included in the standard. Each standard lists specific knowledge, skills and behaviours that would be expected to do the job.

Apprenticeship standards link to specific jobs (you might hear these called occupations) and we’ll have made sure that our training programme is right for the job you’ll be doing. Depending on the job and industry you’re working in, you might expect to start at level 2 or 3 and progress into employment, higher-level training or apprenticeships from there. You can see all the standards we offer here.

All apprenticeships now have an endpoint assessment, kind of like a “driving test” at the end of your apprenticeship training. Someone completely independent from the college and your employer will complete different assessments, depending on your apprenticeship standard, and decide whether or not you’re competent in your role and can pass the apprenticeship – you can even get a merit or a distinction if you’ve been brilliant.

Sounds great – where do I start?

Abingdon and Witney College provide fantastic support at every step of your apprenticeship journey. We only work with local businesses committed to training, developing, and employing their apprentices after their apprenticeship. All of our current apprenticeship vacancies can be found here.

We’ll give you feedback on your application, carry out a (friendly!) interview and some maths and English assessments before helping you to prepare for your interview. You might not always get the first apprenticeship you apply for but don’t worry – we’ll keep working with you and sending you new opportunities to apply for, for as long as you’re still looking!

Anyone aged 16 or over can start an apprenticeship - we've helped apprentices of all ages, whether you're just leaving school or an adult looking to retrain in a new career. Each job role will have specific entry requirements but some don’t require any formal qualifications to start – just the ability to do the job and achieve any qualifications in the apprenticeship standard.

If an apprenticeship isn’t the right thing for you once we’ve talked it through, don’t worry – we’ll be able to refer you to the college careers or admissions team to make sure you know about all the options open to you!

You can explore our Higher & Degree Apprenticeships here.


An Intermediate Apprenticeship is the same as five good GCSEs. Apprentices work towards vocational qualifications at Level 2, such as BTEC certificates and diplomas.

Qualifications combined with the skills learnt in the workplace allow apprentices to progress into full work or an Advanced Apprenticeship.

If you're looking to do an Advanced Apprenticeship, these are equivalent to two A Levels. As with the Intermediate Apprenticeship, you will undertake vocational qualifications while also learning valuable skills directly from employment.

Degree Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular, as your employer will provide extensive training to develop your skills in the workplace, and will cover the costs of your study - including the cost of a university degree! If you are not sure about leaving home to go to University, or already have significant experience at work, then these apprenticeships could be perfect for you.

You'll study for your degree at College, but it's validated by our partnership universities, meaning that your degree certificate will have either Oxford Brookes University or Middlesex University listed as your university.