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Parents & Carers – Your FAQs answered

Apprenticeships are gaining in popularity because of the unique benefits they offer compared to other learning pathways. If your child enjoys hands-on learning and is looking for a springboard into the engineering and manufacturing sector, then our Level 3 Engineering Technician apprenticeship programme is the perfect way to kick start their career when they leave school.

We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions we receive from parents and carers about our Level 3 programme. If there’s anything you’d like to know that isn’t covered here, please get in touch with our helpful team via OASPhase2@the-mtc.org.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a full time job that enables the apprentice to train, gain experience and get paid at the same time. It’s free for the apprentice, and at the end of their programme, they will have the right skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their chosen career.

An apprentice is an employee, and so is entering the world of work. Apprenticeships combine off-the job training (in training centre classrooms and workshops and through remote online learning) and on-the-job training (learning with their mentors, managers and teammates by carrying out their role).

Click here to find out more general information about apprenticeships.

How long is an apprenticeship?

Our Level 3 Apprenticeships programme takes four years to complete. It begins full time in the training centre where the apprentices gain the skills, knowledge and behaviours they’ll need to maximise the benefits of their on-the-job training when they head off to their employers’ sites at the end of their first year.

Over the next three years, they’ll gain real work experience as well as new skills and knowledge from their employer, returning to the training centre regularly for ‘block release’ group sessions. At the end of their programme, we’ll support them to pass a final assessment to successfully complete their qualification.

How much practical and theory work will there be?

In the first year, apprentices work through six theory-based units and seven practical modules. They spend around four weeks on each unit, covering a good balance of hands-on and written work.

In the second and third years, apprentices learn on-the-job, working full time onsite with their employers, returning to the training centre for six weeks throughout each year.

In their final year, apprentices learn entirely on-the-job, as well as preparing for and undertaking their End Point Assessment.

What are the course entry requirements?

To apply for our Level 3 Engineering Technician Apprenticeship Standard, your child will need at least five GCSEs at grade 4 or above (including Maths, English Language, and a science).

What is the application process?

There are several ways to apply to become an OAS Apprentice:

  • You can click here to complete an application form
  • You can find us through the Government website
  • Or you can apply for a specific apprentice vacancy directly with the employers who work with us

Once we’ve received your child’s application and confirmed that they meet our entry criteria, we will invite you to an Assessment Centre (either face-to-face or virtually subject to COVID-19 restrictions). You’ll both have a chance to meet our team and tour our state-of-the-art workshops before your child undertakes an interview with one of our trainers, a group activity to showcase their teamwork and problem solving skills, and a mechanical assessment test.

Successful participants will then be invited to apply for specific roles with our fantastic employer partners, with the selected candidates joining the programme to begin their new career.

My child has additional learning needs – how will you make sure they’re supported?

We are committed to ensuring that every OAS apprentice is supported to fulfil their potential. One of our apprentice trainers is also OAS’s dedicated expert in additional learning needs support. She works on a one-to-one basis with apprentices, developing a personalised support plan to ensure their additional learning needs are identified and supported, such as extra support with English skills, or dyslexia support.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to gain a qualification alongside valuable work experience, free of charge and whilst earning a living:

  • The skills employers want: Apprenticeships are designed in partnership with industry so that learners get the expertise that employers need in their businesses.
  • Formal qualification and evidenced work experience: As well as achieving an industry-recognised qualification, apprentices also gain years of hands-on experience working alongside existing experts within a real work environment, which employers tell us makes them even more valuable.
  • Paid work and no debt: Because they are employed as an apprentice, your child will earn while they learn, and since apprenticeships are fully funded, they will also avoid the hefty debts that are often associated with university.
  • Job stability: Nearly all of our apprentices choose to continue working for their employers as a qualified technician once they have completed their apprenticeship.

What will they be paid?

An OAS apprentice’s basic salary in the first year exceeds the government’s recommendation, ranging from £8,000 to £15,000. This increases each year as the apprentice gains in capability and experience.  As well as earning while they’re learning, apprentices don’t have to pay anything towards their training, which is funded in full by the government or by their employer.

What types of career progression are available after the course?

It’s no secret that there is currently a huge skills gap in the UK manufacturing sector – the positive implications of this challenge for young people is that there is a huge range of opportunities with a chance to deliver positive impact through a meaningful career in an exciting and innovative sector.

After your child has completed their apprenticeship, their career progression is limitless! It’s really up to them and their employer – they might progress onto our Level 4 apprenticeship, a degree apprenticeship or further training, or continue to gain more experience in their role and move into a specialist or managerial position. Many of our team (including our Managing Director and our CEO) began their careers as apprentices – it’s a fantastic first step on anybody’s career ladder!

What do you do differently at OAS?

We are committed to creating the next generation of engineering talent to accelerate the success of the UK’s manufacturing sector. We teach our learners the skills they’ll need for the future, as well as the expertise they need today.

OAS apprentices learn from proven industry experts in a purpose built environment at the forefront of technological advancements. Our programme includes exposure to disruptive emerging technologies and new ways of working, empowering learners to add value to their employers through innovation. An ambitious enrichment programme also supports development of the ‘soft skills’ apprentices need for professional and personal success. We treat each and every learner as an individual and tailor their programme to make sure everyone fulfils their potential.

To find out more about the opportunities on offer for your child, please contact OASPhase2@the-mtc.org.