Apprenticeship Myths

Apprenticeship Myths

Here is a list of 5 myths about apprenticeships which you may have thought were true.

  • Apprenticeships are for people that can’t get into university

This myth is not true at all. Some people might just decide that university is not the career path that they want to take and decide that taking an apprenticeship is the way they want to go forward.

  • Apprenticeship qualifications are not highly recognised

There are different level qualifications in the apprenticeship scheme starting from intermediate all the way to degree level. No matter the level of apprenticeship you decide to take, they are all recognised.

Intermediate – Level 2 (GCSE equivalent)

Advanced – Level 3 (A-Level equivalent)

Higher – Level 4, 5, 6 and 7 (Foundation degree)

Degree – Level 6 and 7 (Masters equivalent)

  • I will get better job offers if I go to university

This is not always the case, a lot of employers now look for employees that have had experience, which is what you get when you take an apprenticeship, you get hands-on experience in a working environment, whereas with university you don’t get that experience which employers necessarily look for.

  • The employer will let me go after I finish my apprenticeship

Unfortunately this is the case sometimes but not always. Studies show that over 72% of employers keep their apprentices on as full-time staff after their apprenticeship ends which is a huge amount! This of course won’t happen for everyone but you will gain experience that other employers may look for.

  • Apprenticeships don’t pay enough money

The rate of pay will be different for everyone depending on the level of apprenticeship and your employer. However, the pay for apprentices is still rising! One of the benefits of being an apprentice is that you don’t have to pay for your training whereas if you go to university you will have to pay.

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Twitter Tips & Tricks – Part 2

Twitter Tips & Tricks – Part 2

So last time we talked about a few tricks you could use to improve your standing on twitter. We mentioned some points about staying consistent with posting and using hashtags when posting, but there are other methods that we did not mention as well, and some of them we’re going to cover here.

 First one we’ll mention is interaction, but not just interacting with your own followers with polls, we’re talking about interacting with accounts at any opportunity. Of course this is better and much easier with your own followers and the accounts you follow. What I mean is, when you see an account who you follow saying “Oh we’ve finally achieved X”, congratulate them. Or when an account you follow, or someone you follow follows, does a ‘weekly riddle’ or something similar, this might seem minor, but hop in there and get involved! 

 You may be wondering why now, you see the more you interact, the more friendly and approachable you seem, the more involved you get the more people will see your account, might like what they see and give it a follow, and the more followers you have the better. This is especially good for a company’s account, as the more people who see the account, means the higher chance of people getting interested in your product or service.

 Second point to mention, be casual, now this doesn’t mean be overly casual but avoid being too professional on a site like Twitter. People will enjoy talking to your account if you act casually, and especially if you want to follow the first point. Crack jokes, use GIFs, people enjoy talking and joking with others, rather than the professional talk. From my own experience, our more casual tweets do way better than our tweets leaning more to the professional side. 

 Keep in mind, especially for a company’s account, you don’t want to go overboard with being too casual (unless that’s the aim of the account), if you get too casual it could put people, especially other companies, off, a good balance between professional and casual is the perfect way to act on your twitter account, way more so if it’s a company account.

 And a Third point, we mentioned previously about having the company logo as the account’s profile picture, but also having a twitter banner on your account also helps jazz up how your account looks, and it looks like the effort has been put in as well, making it even more appealing to potential followers. Make sure that this banner is related and in keeping with the overall theme of the account, and most certainly make sure the banner is the correct size – the recommended being 1500×500 pixels. 

 Like the second point, and the previous blog, another thing you could try is hosting one of these “Weekly Questions/Riddles” and creating your own interactions, although to get the ball rolling, you’d need to tag people, so make sure you pick your targets well! This one is kind of risky, tagging the wrong person could result in a lost follower, or the account just doesn’t participate, best accounts to target would be the ones already involved in these things. The timing is also a thing to think about, you don’t want to put it out when all the bigger accounts do, or you’ll just get overshadowed, well tags might still help, but still.  

 And something else you can try is shout outs, getting yourself ‘shouted out’ or ‘shouting out’ others, this will allow more people to see your account. The easiest way to do the first is to make a list of people who follow, like and interact with your account, and at the end of the week compile these account handles (the @name) from the list into a thank you tweet, this will drive up interactions from the accounts mentioned, and the accounts who follow them will also see it, increasing the amount of people who see your account even more.

 As you can see, there are many ways to improve your twitter account’s interaction and popularity. Maybe you have your own ways, but this list of a few things you can do, should hopefully help.

What Can I Do With My A-Levels

What Can I Do With My A-Levels

You might’ve already decided on the career you intend to pursue when you chose your A-Levels (or even your GCSEs) but have you considered whether you can take that route through apprenticeships? And if you didn’t know precisely what career you wanted to pursue before you took them and you’re nearing the end and you still don’t know exactly what you want to do, consider apprenticeships as well.

It’s commonly misunderstood that apprenticeships are only offered in subjects such as Construction & Engineering, Business, Accounting and such, but in fact there are several different options of careers within each sector.

Here are some of the A-Level subjects required for a variety of apprenticeships you might never have thought of:






Art / Media Studies

While many universities require a facilitating subject at A-Level such as a science, a foreign language or Maths, alongside multiple extracurricular activities, a flawless personal statement and sometimes more, a large amount of apprenticeships require English and Maths GCSEs at grades 9-4 and an interest in the subject you’re applying for. Doesn’t sound unreasonable, does it? Not only this, but that apprenticeship course could secure you a career you didn’t even realise you wanted (whilst getting paid) or guide you towards the various options available to you at the end of your course.

Check out the Apprenticeship Guide website for more information or in case your A-Level subject wasn’t listed above.

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Apprenticeships Vs Traineeships

Apprenticeships Vs Traineeships

Many people still do not know the difference between apprenticeships and traineeships so this blog will hopefully help with that.


Apprenticeships give people of any age the chance to learn new skills, earn an income and gain experience in a work environment. Furthermore, Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries and 3 different levels; intermediate, advanced and higher. During your apprenticeship you can go on to do a higher apprenticeship in your chosen area of work. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people that have just left school to experience what it is like to work in a work environment.


Traineeships are a training, education and work experience programme specifically designed for 16-24 years old. Traineeships can last from six weeks to six months, which is a lot less than an apprenticeship. On average they typically include 100 – 240 hours of work. At the end of the programme the trainee may receive a real interview where  a job or apprenticeship opportunity is available. They may also get an interview to get feedback so the trainee knows what they need to work on and how they can improve their interview skills.

One of the biggest differences between an apprenticeship and a traineeship is the length of each one, apprenticeships can typically last from a year to four years, depending on which level you are at whereas traineeships only last from six weeks to six months, could be more depending on your contract. Also traineeships are unpaid with no guarantee of a job at the end, whereas apprentices are paid and could be given the opportunity to stay with the employer at the end of their apprenticeship. 

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(Course presently on hold. Watch out for news updates, hoping to be back up and running in August 2021)

Are you or someone you know looking to get back into work?

Would you like to learn a new skill and gain real qualifications to help you become more employable?

How about taking your HGV Class 2 Licence , or your forklift licence

If you are over 19 years of age, are unemployed and in receipt of benefits contact your local job centre for details!


Oracle Training Solutions Ltd  have created our new Driving and Logistics Skills Academy. This is a free fully funded training programme to help people to get back into work and gain the necessary skills and qualifications to make them more employable to prospective employers. The course lasts for approximately 6 weeks, which once completed, you will then have the option to take either your HGV licence, Fork Lift Licence, ADR, HIAB etc. paid for through our Academy. You will gain the following qualifications and training that will make you more employable:

  • Level 1 Award in Logistics and Transport
  • Level 1 Award in Personal and Social Development
  • Level 1 Workskills
  • BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Customer Service
  • Functional Maths and English

The next step is down to individual choice but some of the routes available free of charge are:

  • HGV Licence
  • Fork Lift Licence (Reach or Counter Balance)
  • HIAB Licence
  • ADR Training

On completion of the training we will also arrange an interview with local employers to fill real vacancies!

What Makes Good Managers Great Business Leaders

A common debate is whether certain charismatic personalities are born leaders or is it just a matter of experience that brings them to this stage of excellence? Leadership is an art that not all can master; it differentiates people on the basis of their ability to lead rather than dominate over their subordinates.

We all know the difference between high and average-performing managers; however, for certain job levels, it depends upon productivity, efficiency and the ability to execute complex jobs.

Leaders don’t just appear. They were once managers, subordinates and peers who turned out to be great leaders with the ability to perform desirable business operations and achieve profits for the company.

The Undeniable Link between a Manager and a Leader

Not all managers are good leaders. In fact, there is a very thin line between a good manager and a leader. Leaders compel people to follow them, as they are in an authoritative position, whereas managers work with and through people. Successful businesses need to have both effective leaders and managers to get the team working towards a particular goal. Students can learn to be effective managers during group projects, but as they enter the corporate world, it’s important for them to start adopting leadership roles that will drive them toward success.

As organisations are beginning to place more and more importance on teamwork, managers are expected to strategically plan how to articulate their own vision and work with employees to attain it. The competitive marketplace has urged managers to assume the role of responsible leaders as unprecedented levels of performance are needed to gain a competitive advantage in a talent-hungry market.

  • Set a precedent.

It is a common misconception that leaders need to dominate and rule over their employees or subordinates to get the job done. In fact, a good leader is one who is followed by example. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and if managers want their subordinates to implement what they preach, it’s important that they practice it too.

Leaders set their organisations’ tone and culture, which automatically trickle down the hierarchy and establish the acceptable norms and practices. All great leaders have operational discipline. They are talented people who sustain high performance to inspire motivation and loyalty in employees and make them want to be part of their team.

  • People are what drive you.

A leader is not a leader until he or she is accepted by everyone as the leader. Just like respect cannot be demanded, but rather earned, to be seen as source of inspiration and example, managers need to have excellent interpersonal skills. For people to place their indispensable trust in a leader, the leader’s personality must be approachable. Leaders are always mindful of what their subordinates want, as they strongly believe that it is the employees who drive results and are the company’s most prized assets.

  • Being the risk bearer to achieve the desired result.

Leaders are daring and fearless. They have the habit of taking risks and not giving up at any cost. They are often able to bring out the best in themselves through their relentless efforts. They are used to dealing with uncertainty and are often plunged into situations where they have to improvise. This situation is the true test of emotional intelligence and the ability to leverage creativity and innovation to achieve the desired results.

Communicating and Celebrating

Managers execute tireless leadership skills throughout their professional careers with consistent communication with their employees and by celebrating victories and successes, whether large or small. With continuous encouragement for improvement, they pride themselves and their teams on their responsiveness and willingness to outperform and make achievement their top priority.

These leadership characteristics drive better results, delivering excellence and productivity for the organisation.




(Apprentice starts between 1 January 2017 and 31 July 2017 – Phase 4)

The LEP has made it easier for you to employ the talent you need to grow your business with a bespoke apprenticeship grant package that offers small and medium sized employers in West Yorkshire and York a fantastic opportunity. Here are the headlines:

  •   You could get up to a maximum of £2,000 grant for each apprentice aged 16-24 whom you employ, up to a maximum of three apprentices
  •   Your business must be based in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield or York local authority postcode areas
  •   You must employ fewer than 250 employees
  •   You will need to work with a training provider approved by the Skills Funding Agency
  •   There are some other eligibility criteria and your training provider can help you confirm that

    you are eligible

  •   The grant is currently only available where a business meets the eligibility criteria and has an apprentice starting their learning programme with a recognised SFA training provider between 1 January 2017 and 31 July 2017. However the fund is limited and so is offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, subject to funding availability and confirmation of eligibility
  •   To progress, you need to ask your training provider to register interest on your behalf on the LEP webpage at:

    Read on to find out more and check that you are eligible.

 You can only access the offer if you have not had an apprentice before or, have offered apprenticeships (16-24 years old) since September 2010, have benefitted from government (Skills Funding Agency) apprenticeship funding for training and can evidence that you have given a permanent contract of employment to at least one of these previous apprentices following the completion of their apprenticeship

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

What funding is on offer?

The LEP Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (the LEP grant) provides a core grant of £1,200 per apprentice. Anadditionalincentivepaymentof£800perapprenticeisavailableifyoumeetanyof the following additional criteria:

  •   If your apprenticeship is offered as an advanced or higher apprenticeship
  •   If the apprenticeship you are providing is within one of the following LEP priority sector

    subject (apprenticeship framework) areas:

o Construction, planning and the built environment o Engineering and manufacturing technologies
o Information and communication technology
o Science and mathematics

 If you agree to pay your apprentice the ‘living wage’ or as a minimum the ‘national minimum wage’ relevant to their age (which is above the national apprenticeship wage)

If you meet the criteria for both the core grant and additional criteria you may be eligible for a total grant of up to £2,000 per apprentice. If eligible, you can claim up to three grants for three apprentices during the time the grant is available – so that’s a potential £6,000 in total. Please note: only one grant will be paid per employer for any particular apprentice.

Due to the finite nature of the funding available, the LEP grant is made available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, is subject to funding availability and confirmation of eligibility.

When is the LEP grant available?

The grant is currently available for apprentices who are employed and start their learning with an approved SFA training provider from 1 January to 31 July 2017.

Is your business eligible for this grant?

To be eligible to claim the core grant of £1,200 per apprentice you must:

  •   be based in one of the following local authority postcode areas: o Bradford

    o Calderdale o Kirklees
    o Leeds
    o Wakefield o York

  •   employ fewer than 250 employees
  •   commit to employ your apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or for the time it takes them to complete their apprenticeship, whichever is longer
  •   agree to pay your apprentice the legal minimum requirements, at the very least. Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

 recruit an apprentice aged 16-24 years old who starts their training with an SFA approved training provider between 1 January 2017 and 31 July 2017

  •   have had no apprentices before or,
  •   have offered apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds since September 2010, have benefitted

    from government (Skills Funding Agency) apprenticeship training funding and can evidence that you have given a permanent contract of employment to at least one previous apprentice following the completion of their apprenticeship

In addition you will be asked to confirm that you are aware of and do not breach State Aid rules. If you are unsure about State Aid rules, you can find details at:

To be eligible to claim the core grant where you have offered apprenticeships before you will need to be able to provide evidence such as a signed contract of employment to a previous apprentice and their first months’ pay slips. If you have any queries around suitable evidence please contact the LEP AGE Team

To be eligible to claim the extra £800 per apprentice incentive grant you will need to meet the additional criteria set out above.

You may be eligible if:

 You are receiving funding from the LEP’s skill service to support other forms of training for current employees and have not taken on an apprentice before – providing funding for the apprenticeship is from a training provider’s core provision

You should contact any training organisations you have been working with recently to check whether they have accessed apprenticeship programme funding for learning they have provided to you. We would strongly urge you to do this if any of your employees have undertaken work-based learning such as NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) or diplomas.

Do your apprentices have to meet eligibility criteria?

Yes, the aim of this grant is to support you to create new jobs and recruit new 16 to 24 year olds. Therefore your apprentices must be:

  •   New recruits or an individual moving into a new apprenticeship role within your organisation
  •   Aged 16 to 24 on the start date of their apprenticeship training, as recorded by your training provider for the Skills Funding Agency
  •   Enrolled on an apprenticeship framework or standard (from May 2017) through an approved training provider recognised by the Skills funding Agency (ask your training provider to confirm)
  •   On an apprenticeship programme in your business for at least 13 weeks
  •   Employed as an apprentice for a minimum of 30 hours per week
  •   Living in England
  •   Free to be an apprentice, not taking part in full-time education elsewhere

    How does the LEP apprenticeship grant differ from other similar offers?

  •   The LEP grant is available to businesses that employ fewer than 250 employees, subject to availability, so more businesses are potentially eligible.
  •   The LEP grant offers businesses the opportunity to apply for up to three grants which could be up to a maximum value of £2,000 each (depending on business eligibility).
  •   Alternative apprenticeship grants are available for businesses based within other LEP areas where devolution of AGE has taken place.
  •   Also, additional grants may be available from other sources such as local authorities or professional bodies and institutions.

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

Please check with your training provider which scheme you are eligible for. If you do not have a training provider or need more general help, please contact the Growth Service via or call on 0113 348 1818

How do businesses apply for the LEP apprenticeship grant?

Businesses express interest via training providers. If you are linked to a training provider who is supporting you with apprenticeships, your provider should complete the registration form on the LEP website on your behalf once your apprentice/s start the learning programme (www.the- This will be trigger the first of several eligibility checks – see attached process.

If your business passes initial eligibility checks, you will be contacted by a member of staff from the LEP by email with a request for you to complete a full grant application form. Due to the limited amount of funding available, the grant will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

How is the LEP grant paid?

Once your apprentice has been on their apprenticeship learning programme for 13 weeks, the LEP will contact you to gain confirmation that the apprentice is still in your employment and on their apprenticeship learning programme with the approved training provider and, to gather any additional evidence to support eligibility. Until this confirmation and evidence is provided, the LEP will be unable to process the grant.

Once all paperwork is received and eligibility confirmed, your grant will be paid directly into your bank account by BACS a minimum of 8 weeks after the apprentice has achieved the 13 weeks in learning criteria. The grant payment is made by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) on behalf of the LEP. As this is a grant it is exempt from VAT.

What happens if your apprentice leaves?

If your apprentice leaves or is dismissed after completing 13 weeks ‘in learning’ with an approved training provider, your entitlement to the grant payment remains. You are expected to provide ongoing employment to your apprentice(s) for the period of their apprenticeship, subject to satisfactory performance as an employee.

Is there a lot of paperwork? What is the process?

Paperwork has been kept to a minimum with the majority of details being recorded online. Once your training provider has made the initial enquiry, you will need to complete a grant application form, which will be emailed directly to you, with confirmation of eligibility for the grant. As part of the application form you will need to complete a State Aid declaration and, where appropriate, supporting evidence. You may need to liaise with your training provider for support in completing the grant application form. For more information on State Aid rules see:

Details of businesses who have been awarded a LEP apprenticeship grant are published regularly on our LEP website

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017

The administration process is shown below:

Training provider completes online registration form via LEP website

LEP picks up online registration and starts eligibility checks

Training provider LEP

Training provider submits data about businesses/apprenticeships to the Skills Funding Agency

carries out full eligibility criteria checks

LEP matches the initial registration form with SFA data and

LEP to inform training

provider if, following full eligibility criteria checks, business is not eligible; LEP will inform training providers of business registrations where they haven’t received ILR data

LEP informs business by email if they have qualified to complete an application form. Email will include a link to grant application form requesting company details, apprenticeship details, bank account details for BACs payments, any relevant evidence and identification of any additional criteria being claimed

LEP to inform training providers when application form has been sent to a business they have registered

Business completes and submits grant application form to the LEP (training provider to support employer if needed)

13 week trigger – LEP to email business asking for confirmation that the apprentice is still employed and in learning along with request for any extra evidence required for the additional £800 incentive payment if applicable

Business confirms and submits via email link to LEP continued training and provides any additional evidence requirements

LEP review submitted evidence to clarify eligibility


pay eligible business grant direct via BACs


Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment


Who can you contact for help?

Employers already linked to a training provider should consult their training provider for further advice on the LEP apprenticeship grant.

If you are not linked to a training provider, the LEP can refer you to a relevant programme designed to help employers with less than 250 to recruit apprentices. Contact or call on 0113 348 1818

Please note: the eligibility criteria and payment processes laid out in this guidance may be altered at any time by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

Notes: The WYCA has received control of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers through its devolution agreement with government. Managing the apprenticeship grant programme at a local level has enabled WYCA to tailor the grant package to meet local priorities and needs. Businesses eligible for the LEP apprenticeship grant will no longer be able to apply for funding through the national scheme.

Contents of this briefing paper are subject to amendment 3.1.2017