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If you're new to adult social care, then an Apprenticeship is one of the best ways to get into the sector. You'll work alongside experienced staff and learn the skills and knowledge for you to be a skilled and confident worker. Apprenticeships can also help those working in adult social care to formalise their knowledge and progress their career. At the end of your Apprenticeship you'll have gained both experience and qualifications.

Am I ready to start?

If you have an interest in the care sector and can demonstrate flexibility, resilience, patience and excellent problem solving skills then this could be the career for you.

Entry criteria varies depending on the framework you are studying and the needs of the employer, but a good level of secondary education is expected and many employers expect you to have maths and English GCSE at a C grade or above.

Employers also look for skills like motivation, good interpersonal skills, good communication skills, teamwork and a willingness to learn and will set their own specifications depending on the role.
It may be you don't feel you are ready for an Apprenticeship and might benefit from a Traineeship first.

How does an Apprenticeship Work?

An apprenticeship programme is delivered via a mixture of on and off-the-job training, where you can practice your skills in real work situations.

The apprenticeship programme usually consists of the following elements:

Knowledge element:
This is the technical certificate and covers the theory side of your work which is delivered when you attend College, so that you can put these newly acquired skills into practice at work.

Competence element:
This is the practical side of the programme and is assessed directly within the workplace by a Harlow College Assessor to ensure that you are developing your skills within the workplace and putting all that you learn at College into practice.

Functional skills:
This area covers English and Mathematics for learners that have not achieved an A-C grade at GCSE level.

Employment Rights and Responsibilities:
This area covers units in relation to Employment Awareness in Active Leisure and Learning.

Transferable skills:
These are the skills that help you develop your Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS).

The duration of the course is dependent on prior attainment but generally is completed over a period of 12 months. You will attend College for 1 day a week and you be in the workplace for the remaining 4 days.

What does the course involve?

Apprentices work as employees alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills, whilst working towards a number of qualifications and gaining experience; all whilst getting paid.

The learning and development enables you to get relevant care skills. You might work directly with people who need care and support as a care worker or team leader.

The Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships are made up of different parts that give learners a range of skills and knowledge. These parts are called 'components' and each component play a key role in developing a capable, confident and skilled worker. As an apprentice you will gain different qualifications dependent on which level of Apprenticeship you complete.

How and when will I study?

The Health and Social Care qualification can be studied at two levels, Intermediate and Advanced. These two levels are made up of the following components:

  • Diploma in Health and Social Care- the diploma at level 2 or 3 demonstrates competence in performing relevant skills, as well as developing knowledge. There are a range of units on different topics that can be chosen to reflect your role and responsibilities within your job, including specialist dementia and learning disability pathways underpinned by the National Occupational Standards.
  • Certificate in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care- the certificate at level 2 or 3 allows learners to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical concepts relevant to the care sector. Working, whilst learning, enables you to put the theory into context and develop a greater understanding.
  • Transferable Skills- also known as Functional Skills, are completed at levels 1 or 2 dependent on your prior attainment and/or level of qualification being undertaken. They give you the opportunity to develop, practice and apply skills in meaningful workplace contexts. They ensure you meet a good level of maths and English skills required for life and work.
  • Employment Rights and Responsibilities- the award at level 2 provides the knowledge to equip you with an understanding of the sector and your role within it. It covers areas such as statutory responsibilities and rights of employees and employers; awareness of your own occupational role and how it fits within the sector; and agreed ways of working with employers.
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills- these are identified as essential to successful life learning and work. They will provide you with a solid foundation and the ability to transfer skills to other areas. The skills can be assessed alongside the diploma and include the following: independent enquirers, creative thinkers, reflective learners, team workers, self-managers and effective participators.

Completion times range from generally 12 months for an Intermediate level to two years for an Advanced/Higher level. However, these times can vary depending on the skills, experience and the progress of the apprentice.

Down to business, what can I do and what can I earn?

Demand within the care sector is high and continually growing, it is estimated that there will be a need for up to 1 million more workers required by 2025. In this diverse and varied sector there are many pathways and career routes ranging from Senior Carer to senior management, dependent on experience and related training. Examples include:

  • Social Worker- average salary £29,000
  • Outreach Worker- average salary £18,000
  • Counsellor- average salary £28,500
  • Occupational Therapist- average salary £31,000
  • Manager- average salary £29,000

There are also opportunities to study at HE level with Higher Apprenticeship in Care Leadership and Management.

Got a job?

You must have a job to do an apprenticeship. If you already have a job you may be able to do an apprenticeship with your current employer.

If you don’t have a job for your apprenticeship – apply for your place at College by clicking the 'Apply Now' button at the top and bottom of the page.

Once you have applied please check out our apprenticeship job vacancies.

An apprenticeship comprises two parts:

  • Typically 20% study element (at Harlow College or Stansted Airport College).
  • 80% work based element with an employer. It is your responsibility to find an employer.

Great, so what do I do now?

Call 01279 868240 to speak to an Apprenticeships adviser

Contact us about applying for an Apprenticeship