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National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week 2024 will run from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 February – find out how to get involved and download the toolkit at National Apprenticeship Week.

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  4. Preparing for an apprenticeship
Apprentices

Preparing for an apprenticeship

If you’re offered and accept an apprenticeship, we suggest taking some time before starting your apprenticeship to: 

  • plan for your initial assessment 
  • understand your rights 
  • find out where you can get support

Plan for your initial assessment

Before starting an apprenticeship, you'll have an initial assessment with your employer and training provider. This is your chance to ask any questions you might have about: 

  • your apprenticeship 
  • the work you’ll be doing 
  • your training 

You should ask about the knowledge and skills you'll learn and how your training will be shaped. If you need to complete any extra qualifications, for example English or maths, you should ask about these too.

During your initial assessment you’ll also discuss and agree two key documents with your employer and training provider.

These documents are your: 

  • apprenticeship agreement 
  • training plan

Apprenticeship agreement

This is the document that legally makes you an apprentice. You’ll need to sign this agreement before starting your apprenticeship, and both you and your employer will have a signed and dated version of this agreement.

Training plan

Your training provider will ask about your previous experience and qualifications during your initial assessment. This is to help them design a training plan for you to follow during your apprenticeship.

Your training plan will recognise any prior learning you’ve done, so you won’t need to relearn knowledge or skills you already have. If you can prove you already have these, you may be able to finish your apprenticeship sooner. Remember to tell your employer and training provider about any relevant:

  • training, for example an IT course 
  • qualifications, for example an NVQ 
  • experience related to your apprenticeship

There’s more guidance you can read on recognising prior learning in apprenticeships.

What’s expected of me?

You should also use your initial assessment to find out what your employer and training provider expect of you. Remember to ask them:

  • where you need to be and what time you should arrive on your first day 
  • if you need to bring anything with you, for example your necessary tools or proof of right to work in the UK 
  • about their dress code 
  • what on-site facilities they have, for example a café or kitchen 
  • if they have any rules for bringing in food or drink 
  • if they have parking or bike storage, or any nearby public transport

You can also visit the National Careers Service website. They offer apprentices advice and free training resources.

Understand your rights as an apprentice

Apprentices are also employees, which means they have the same rights as employees do. Make sure you know your rights as an apprentice so you can focus on your development and enjoy your apprenticeship.

What support can I get?

Your employer and training provider should be able to answer any questions you have about getting support during your apprenticeship. You should ask them if you’ll have regular check-ins with a manager and what kind of feedback you might get. You should also find out who you can talk to if you have any questions or concerns.


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As an apprentice, you'll receive regular training to help you gain the knowledge and skills needed for the job you're training for.

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