Northumberland apprenticeship programme

Find out about Northumberland County Council as an employer of apprenticeships, our Learning and Skills Service as an approved apprenticeship training organisation, and our services to businesses.

Here you will find information about what an apprenticeship is and how to get involved and apply.

The apprenticeship programme is a formal training programme that is undertaken with employment. You will follow either an Apprenticeship Standard or an Apprenticeship Framework. These set of the skills, knowledge, aptitudes, and in some cases the qualifications you need to do a particular job.

Apprentices will:
  • be employed within the Council or a local business we work with
  • earn a wage not less than the minimum wage for an apprentice / my age
  • follow a structured training programme
  • receive both on and off the job training
  • develop their skills to ensure they can do the job well
As an apprentice, you’ll undertake your programme during your normal work time. Your employer will be expected to release you to study at least one day a week in our training centre as part of your paid time at work.

Although the programme can be demanding, it is also extremely rewarding and career progression for apprentices is excellent. Over 90% of our  apprentices move into a higher apprenticeship or full employment on completion. 
 
Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.
Name Level Equivalent educational level
Intermediate 2 GCSE
Advanced 3 A level
Higher 4,5,6 and 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree
 
We offer Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree apprenticeships. 

It's much more important with Apprenticeships that we find the right career or trade for you, rather than just thinking about the subjects. However the sorts of subjects we can offer are summarised below:

BUSINESS, COMMERCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Business administration
  • Customer Service
  • Retail
  • Team Leading
  • Management
  • Accountancy
  • Information Technology
  • Leisure operations

CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING

  • Maintenance operations
  • Highways maintenance
  • Carpentry and joinery
  • Painting and decorating
  • Fenestration
  • Roofline products
  • Fitted Interiors
  • Building maintenance
  • Bricklaying
  • Construction site supervision
  • Cycle mechanics

CREATIVE AND PERFORMING ARTS AND MEDIA

  • Digital and creative media

EDUCATION

  • Supporting teaching and learning
  • Specialist teaching support
  • Coaching and Mentoring 
  • Further education teaching
HEALTH AND CARE
  • Adult care
  • Child care: Early Years Educator and Residential 
  • Social work

HOSPITALITY AND CATERING

  • professional cookery
  • food production and cooking
  • food preparation and cooking
  • hospitality services

SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

  • Cultural heritage
  • Horticulture 
Dedicated Lecturing Team

You will meet a series of lecturers throughout your programme. 

The first lecturer you will meet will take you through the induction and initial assessment workshops. After this you will be handed on to a lecturer, who specialises in your apprenticeship area. They will stay with you for all of your programme wherever possible. They will be your coach, they will organise your off the job training, they will visit you at your job, providing advice, guidance, training and assessment. They will review your progress with you and the employer at regular intervals.

Apprenticeship Mentor Team

The apprenticeship mentor team works across Northumberland ensuring that you are supported in your workplace. There are also specialist mentors in the team who work with learners who have special educational needs or are looked after children. Their role is to ensure you are safe and happy in the workplace, you are meeting the employer’s standards and code of conduct, you are progressing well and that your welfare needs are being met. The team provide individual pastoral support, coaching and mentoring to help you succeed as well as organising extra-curricular activities for apprentices through the various phases of the programme.

Apprenticeship Support & Counselling Service by Remploy

This new free service supports apprentices who are feeling low, upset and struggling to keep up with their apprenticeship. It is completely confidential and run by fully trained professionals with expertise in mental health.

By working in partnership with Access to Work; a Job Centre Plus scheme, Remploy are delivering this service in England to apprentices who are affected by a mental health condition in the workplace.

An expert from Remploy will provide apprentices with personal, emotional wellbeing support and advice for six months, and help individuals cope better so they can concentrate on their apprenticeship. They will help develop a step-by- step support plan to keep apprentices on track and advise on some workplace adjustments.

 
The time taken to complete an apprenticeship programme depends on the apprenticeship you are following, how much experience and skill you already have and how quickly you can progress through your training.

Apprenticeships last a minimum of 12 months and normally take:
  • 12 to 15 months at level two
  • 15 to 18 months at level three
  • 18 months or more at level four and higher
Apprentices are not asked for a contribution towards their training costs. The training costs will be met by the employer.
Yes. New apprentices will be paid at or above the national minimum wage.

If you’re an existing member of staff in a company and you start an apprenticeship, you will be paid your normal salary while you work and study.

Click here for current information about the national minimum wage.

Apprentices are often paid monthly, directly into a nominated bank account. You’ll need to budget for your first month until you receive your first pay.

If you currently receive benefits and want to be employed as an apprentice, you may wish to discuss the impact this could have on your benefits with the Department for Work and Pensions. 
If you are needing to train because your job role has changed, then yes you can.

Telephone the apprenticeship team on 01670 622104 or email your details to apprenticeships@northumberland.gov.uk and we will guide you through the steps to get involved in apprenticeships. 

You’ll also need confirmation from your employer that they will support you to do your apprenticeship, are willing to pay the apprenticeship training costs involved and guarantee to continue to pay your salary while you study. Once they have confirmed this, your employer will be asked to sign a contract for services for your apprenticeship training to start. 

We work with employers across the area to find real job opportunities with real prospects where you can start an apprenticeship. We advertise our apprenticeship vacancies online at 

You can apply for an apprenticeship if you are:

  • 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays
  • living in England
  • ​not in full-time education
We welcome applications from all ages. 

You can apply for an apprenticeship any time. 

How to apply

There are 2 options to apply for an apprenticeship:

1. Visit North East Jobs for a full list of apprenticeships vacancies within Northumberland County Council.

OR 

2. Search for an apprenticeship with the apprenticeship service where you will see all vacancies from all providers

Sign in or create an account on the apprenticeship service site.

Search for the vacancy you want to apply for. Complete and submit your application.

Once you’ve submitted your online application it will be sent direct to us if it is a vacancy we are offering. We’ll assess it with the employer.

To be considered for an interview, you must first attend a screening day where we will look at your:
  • English, maths, ICT and problem solving skills
  • attitudes towards equality, diversity, safeguarding, health and safety
You will then receive a one-to-one interview to see if you are ready for the demands of an apprenticeship. Interviews are competitive against other applicants.

If successful, you will be offered conditional employment, subject to satisfactory references, medical clearances and where relevant a DBS clearnance. Once we have these confirmed and you are cleared to start work, a start date will be offered by the employer and we will give you an induction on your first day. The employer will pay your salary from the first day on the programme.

If you are unsuccessful, we will advise you on alternative apprenticeships available or other suitable training programmes.
More information is available from our Apprenticeships and Traineeships team. You can call 01670 622104 or email apprenticeships@northumberland.gov.uk.
Most employers believe taking on an apprentice is a sound long-term business investment. More than two thirds confirm employing an apprentice improves overall business performance and productivity. How can your business can get involved?

Did you know?
  • 96% of Apprenticeship employers say their business has benefited
  • 72% of employers say Apprenticeships have improved productivity
  • Apprenticeships cover more than 170 industries
  • There are over 1500 Apprenticeship job roles
Apprenticeships are at the heart of small and large businesses as employers realise the value of both on and off the job training. As well as motivated, skilled employees, apprenticeships deliver:
  • Improved Productivity
  • Low Recruitment Costs
  • Increased Profits
  • Better Team Morale

Apprenticeships now cover a vast number of roles and industries, giving talented people the chance to realise their potential within businesses that really value them. Northumberland Learning and Skills Service in an Approved Apprenticeship Training Organisation and can support all stage of apprenticeships from recruitment to celebrating your apprentice’s success.

Your starting point is contacting our Apprenticeship and Traineeship team on 01670 622114 who will guide you what getting involved in apprenticeships can mean for your business.  

Don't get caught out: find out how the new Apprenticeship Levy, which came into effect in April, will affect your business and staff.

What exactly is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy, which came into effect on 6 April, is a tax on all UK employers that will support the funding of apprenticeships. Both private and public companies that pay more than £3 million in wages are now liable to pay 0.5 per cent of their paybill into a fund. Employers can then use this fund – to which the government adds an extra 10 per cent (in England) – to spend on apprenticeship training.

How will it work?

Companies pay the levy through PAYE on a monthly basis. Each employer has an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment – which will work in a similar way to the personal tax allowance. Approximately 1.3 per cent of UK employers will be liable to pay the levy. Companies will have 24 months to make use of their apprenticeship funds.

Who will benefit?

These reforms mean the government will now fund apprenticeships for all ages, including existing staff if they wish to upskill via an apprenticeship, as well as those aged 16 to 18.  Employers and providers training 16 to 18-year-olds or 19 to 24-year-olds leaving care or who have a Local Authority Education and Healthcare plan will also receive an extra £1,000 per person.

Will all apprenticeships cost the same?

No – there are 15 different bands of funding available ranging from £1,500 to £27,000.  We can provide you with our costs for delivering the apprenticeships you are looking for.  

We can also provide the additional training and cover the costs to support apprentices who need to meet the minimum requirements in maths and English.

What kind of apprenticeships can firms offer?

A range of levels are available from Level 2, normally semi-skilled staff, up to Level 7 postgraduate qualifications. The important thing is to make sure that the apprenticeship and level you choose meets the needs of your business and is in tune with how you are anticipating your business will develop in future. We can help you to look at appropriate apprenticeship roles and picking the right training programme. 

How will employers find a training provider to support their apprenticeship training?

A Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers has been set up by the government to help employers find and compare training providers who are approved to deliver the new apprenticeship standards. Northumberland County Council is on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. 

How can I get more information?
Please call our Apprenticeship Team on 01670 622114 or email us at apprenticeships@northumberland.gov.uk. 

 

Employers whose pay bill is less than £3 million a year will have 90% of the training costs of an apprentice paid by the government.  The employer will have to pay 10% towards costs for those aged 19 and over. For smaller companies with fewer than 50 employees, the government will pay all the costs for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and also for those aged 19 to 24 who are leaving care or have a Local Authority and Healthcare plan. 

How will it work?

Companies will need to work with an Approved Apprenticeship Training Organisation who has a funding contract to deliver apprenticeships on behalf of the government.  You will contract with the organisation to deliver apprenticeships for you and will agree the price of the apprenticeship. You will need to arrange to pay the organisation your 10% contribution for the training costs and and the organisation will claim the 90% from government funding. You will also need to pay your apprentice at least the minimum wage and give them a contract of employment.

Will all apprenticeships cost the same?

No – there are 15 different bands of funding available ranging from £1,500 to £27,000.  We can provide you with our costs for delivering the apprenticeships you are looking for.  

We can also provide the additional training and cover the costs to support apprentices who need to meet the minimum requirements in maths and English.

What kind of apprenticeships can firms offer?

A range of levels are available from Level 2, normally semi-skilled staff, up to Level 7 postgraduate qualifications. The important thing is to make sure that the apprenticeship and level you choose meets the needs of your business and is in tune with how you are anticipating your business will develop in future. We can help you to look at appropriate apprenticeship roles and picking the right training programme. 

How will employers find a training provider to support their apprenticeship training?

A Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers has been set up by the government to help employers find and compare training providers who are approved to deliver the new apprenticeship standards. Northumberland County Council is on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers and has a funding contract to deliver apprenticeships..  

How can I get more information?
Please call our Apprenticeship Team on 01670 622114 or email us at apprenticeships@northumberland.gov.uk. 

The Dales School, Blyth

“As a headteacher of a school for children with special educational needs, I require staff with very specific skills.
In recent years it has become clear that available staff, with the required skills, are rare. As a result, we have on occasion employed staff who are qualified but do not have the specific skills and experience we need.

“We are keen to support those who wish to develop skills by offering placements while they work towards a qualification. 

"The issue of experienced and skilled staff has been magnified as the school continues to grow. As a result, we decided to train our own potential staff. Our target group was young people who had little or no experience but were enthusiastic about working with children with special needs.

“Fortunately, we contacted the employer engagement team at Northumberland learning and skills service to assist us. We agreed what we needed could be addressed via apprenticeships for teaching assistants.

“Once we had outlined our intentions, systems were quickly put in place to help us identify suitable candidates. The service provided was invaluable from start to finish, covering everything, including agreeing job and person specifications, advertising, application-sifting and informing those selected for interview. 

"Following interviews and selection, the service provided inductions, a clearly defined apprenticeship programme and the ongoing support of a training officer to visit our apprentices during their year of training.

“I look forward to developing our relationship with the employer engagement team at Northumberland learning and skills service. It’s expected that, together, we can offer high-quality training experiences to young people who will become the knowledgeable and effective future workforce of special educational needs (SEN) learning provision."

At the learning and skills service, we are thrilled to support this venture with the Dales School and wish the staff and apprentices great success together.

​Woodhorn Heritage Museum and Archive Centre

Woodhorn Heritage Museum and Archive Centre might thrive on preserving the past but when it comes to developing the skills of its workforce, its approach is bang up-to-date.

Placing itself at the heart of a forward-thinking recruitment and training campaign, the museum recently appointed its first apprentices. The move forms part of a wider strategy by Northumberland County Council to inject cultural heritage skills across the organisation.

Nineteen-year-old Robin Brownlee-Sayers took up a post within the museum’s archives team through an apprenticeship.

Jo Patterson, senior archives assistant, explains: “Robin has really got to grips with the job and has already become a valuable member of our archives team. He’s involved in a whole host of duties which our archivists don’t always have time to do.

"This brings added value to our visitors and is also helping to generate additional income for the museum thanks to the fees we charge for some of these extra services.

“I’m a real advocate for the benefits of apprenticeships. I would recommend this type of structured recruitment and training programme to all employers. It brings new blood into the organisation and allows you to mould people to your specialist areas of work.”
How can I get more information?
Please call our Apprenticeship Team on 01670 622114 or email us at apprenticeships@northumberland.gov.uk. 
The Northumberland County Council apprenticeship programme welcomes over 200 new apprentices every year.

Northumberland County Council is proud to be involved in apprenticeships across all of its teams. Apprenticeships have helped us to find new talent, build capacity, deal with risk and increase diversity in the workplace. In recruitment terms, it's the obvious route to take as we need to support as many young people to come through our organisations, as they will be the custodians of our county and the leaders and managers in the future.  We offer pathways into trades, careers and degrees, starting and level 2 and progressing up to level 6. 

We are ambitious and aim to have 400 apprentices in our workforce by 2020. 

Apprentices have helped us to improve the service we offer, from customer service to catering, highways to housing, planning to procurement, social care to strategic estates. And that's not all. We have a great family of services across the Council, all eager to find that next perfect apprentice.  

We take great pride in seeing our apprentices flourish but also the pride they take in being given the opportunity and seizing the chance to be the best.

In the sections below, we've split the family of services in the Council into groups to help you understand what we do and how you might fit in to the Council as an apprentice. It will help you to choose if the apprenticeships we have match with your ambitions and skills. 

You will be given a contract of employment for the purposes of completing an apprenticeship. You will be expected to abide by our code of conduct, policies and procedures.

You will work in one of the key Council departments. You may stay in one role, or we may move you around a variety of roles in your team so that you can broaden your experience and help you specialise later on. 20% of your time will be spent off the job learning. 

You will be paid the national apprenticeship rate of pay in your first year and the national minimum or living wage for your age group from year 2 onwards. The current National Minimum Wage rates can be found at https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates If you are successful in gaining a full post in the Council you would move on to the salary that the post is graded and advertised at, starting at the bottom of the salary grade. 
 

We provide extra support to help you progress into a positive next step when you complete your apprenticeships. Over 92% of apprentices go into full employment or start a higher level apprenticeship. 

These jobs are all about helping people and cover a range of services from working with children to caring for the elderly. If you’ve got a caring personality and want to support people at difficult times in their lives, there could be something here for you.

 

Jobs in this sector:

  • Social Care and Social Work

  • Arranging care, support and rehabilitation for vulnerable adults and older people

  • Hospital and health liaison and safe return from hospital to home

  • Equipment loan and wheelchair services

  • Occupational therapy

  • Learning disability day-care, independent living and specialist residential care

  • Services for disabled children and young people

  • Residential care homes

  • Fostering and Adoption Services

  • Family Support

  • Adolescent Service and Youth Work

  • Accommodation and Support

  • Safeguarding

  • Children’s Centres and Early Help

  • Public health and promotion

 

You’ll be using your communication skills and knowledge to help people develop and learn in many of these jobs. Whether you like working with children or adults, this is a sector where you can use your knowledge and skills to help others. You could be working in a classroom or learning environment or in an important support role behind the scenes in one of our specialist teams.

 

Jobs in this sector:

  • Primary & Secondary Schools: teaching support, administration and business, school catering, cleaning or caretaking

  • Early Years

  • Speech and language

  • Portage

  • E-learning

  • School Support services and support for school governors

  • Music Service

  • Equality and Diversity support and projects

  • Special educational needs

  • Sensory Support

  • Education Support for Looked after Children

  • Education Welfare including, Safeguarding, Health and Inclusion

  • Adult Learning Service

  • Employability Service

  • Careers Guidance Service

  • Educational Psychology

 

Many jobs in this family involve fixing things, understanding how machines work and thinking practically.  These jobs could interest you if you like working with your hands, being outside, solving problems or have good organisational skills. There could be something for you whether you’re a theory or practical person.

 

Jobs in this sector:

  • Waste management, collection and recycling

  • Winter Maintenance (Support)

  • Flooding and extreme weather response

  • Street Cleansing

  • Grounds Maintenance

  • Parks & Urban Open Spaces

  • Countryside Management and Public Rights of Way

  • Cemeteries and Crematoria, Markets, Public Conveniences

  • Fleet Management

  • Security and postal courier service

  • Highways, cycleways and bridges maintenance and management

  • Parking and streetworks

  • Highway and transport improvement

  • Road safety  

  • Transport services for schools and communities

 

This sector offers a variety of roles, from engineering to bricklaying. If you love a practical role and are interested in how things work and are put together, you could look to the construction roles. But there are great supporting roles too: in depots and offices across the county, supporting the hands-on teams.

 

Jobs in this sector:

  • Helping people find housing options

  • Supporting Refugee and Asylum Seekers

  • Managing tenancies and leases on properties

  • Housing Maintenance Help Desk

  • Construction Repairs and Maintenance Service to 8500 council houses

  • Property Maintenance for council and school buildings

  • Capital Project support

  • Cleaning, caretaking and management of council buildings

 

This sector offers a variety of roles. You’ll need to be good with numbers, have excellent organisational, business and people skills. In the area of legal services you'll need an investigative mind and the ability to understand large amounts of complex information.

 

Jobs in this sector:

  • Corporate accountants

  • Democratic Services to support elections and the work of councillors

  • Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services

  • Employee Services

  • Financial support

  • Information Services technical help desk and IT developer, networking and support roles

  • Registrars of births, deaths and marriages  

  • Legal Services

  • Audit and insurance  

  • Procurement

  • Human Resources including Workforce Planning  

  • Learning and Development  

  • Communications, marketing and media  

  • Health and Safety

 

To work in this sector you’ll need to have excellent communication skills, the ability to operate a range of equipment, leadership and problem-solving skills and be good with numbers IT and report writing. You’ll need to be a calm in a crisis person.

 

  • Emergency Response

  • Community Safety

  • Legislative Fire Safety  

  • Civil Contingencies

  • Reduce crime and disorder

 

 

If you’ve got a passion for food and drink there could be something here for you. Whether you want to sell, cook or serve food there’s a job in this sector where you can put your interests into practice.   
 

  • Professional cookery in council and school buildings

  • School Supervisor

  • Kitchen Porters and Chefs

  • Restaurant and front of house customer service

  • Counter service assistant

 

 


 

Managers work in many different job sectors. You’ll need organisational, communication and leaderships skills, along with the ability to solve problems and keep calm under pressure. If this sounds like you, a job in management would suit. Many administrative and clerical jobs are about following procedures, checking things and keeping records. You’ll like this kind of work if you’re an organised person with good attention to detail.

 
  • Business Management and Administration in all of the above areas.

Yes we are. 

We are currently recruiting for our Spring 2018 intake and are looking for applicants who are at least 16 years old and have completed Year 11 at school. 

We welcome young people and adults on our programme. 

Visit North East Jobs for a full list of apprenticeships vacancies within Northumberland County Council.
 
Previous apprentices share their experiences here. If you are interested in joining us, please send us your current CV and a covering email explaining what your ambitions are and your interest in working for us.


I wanted a different option, I didn’t want to go university; it just wasn’t right for me. So I looked online and found the apprenticeships website. There were loads of different types, I thought business admin would be something I was good at. I went to the open day in Cramlington and thought the apprenticeship with Active Northumberland would be great. 

One of my favourite things about the job is that with active you get to go out and meet a lot of the members, help with the Kielder Marathon and stuff like that. At the beginning of my level 3 qualification I worked at NCC and got to help out at the county show which I really enjoyed, it’s not all just office based.

My colleagues would say I'm good at planning, being organised and that I'm approachable, honest and caring. 

To anyone considering doing an apprenticeship, I would say to do it. Don't let a negative perception of an apprenticeship put you off, because it's a different experience for everyone. If you are wanting to progress further and develop your personal and professional skills, then it's a good option for you. 

After completing my level 2 and beginning my level 3 apprenticeship, I was successful in achieving full-time employment as a Business Support Officer for Active Northumberland. In the future, I would like to see myself progress further into different roles and complete more courses.

When I left school it was either go to college or do an apprenticeship. I thought ‘with an apprenticeship you earn money, you learn something and you get a qualification’ and it just made more sense for me than college. I wanted a solid chance of getting a job. 

My favourite thing has been meeting new people through the different courses I go on, and all the people I work with.  My friends would say I’m very chatty, I’m good at meeting new people and making jokes. 

I do a lot of computer design at home, things like game design and coding, so this job really ties into my hobbies. 

I would advise someone to definitely look into apprenticeships. There are short term and long term positives and it’s definitely better than school. It gives you a sense of responsibility and adulthood, and makes you feel like you’re really a part of the workforce. 

Personally I see myself in a permanent placement with the team I’m in now, or a different IT role. I hope the team I’m working with now will keep me on since I really enjoy working with them.

An apprenticeship seemed like it was something different. I wanted to work and train, I really didn’t fancy uni. I was in my last year of sixth form, I did psychology, and health and social care, so those kind of prepared me for working with people in HR. 

HR is really great, you get loads of different queries, people, and problems every day. I love the variety. 

I’m actually really lazy, work and home are totally different personalities. It’s lovely getting home after a day of hard work and being able to relax and know you’ve earned it. 

3 things my friends would say about me is that I’m funny, always there, and trustworthy. 

I would say to go for an apprenticeship, it’s not your everyday sort of thing. It feels quite exciting when you’ve been in a school environment for so long. 

I never really thought what I’d do afterwards when I applied, but now I know I’d like to progress within HR, I would like to do more qualifications and work my way up through HR.
When I left school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I tried loads of different things. I worked in a school for a bit and I really enjoyed the admin side, so I thought I’d apply for the admin apprenticeship. I wanted to get a good qualification and this was the perfect way to do it. 

I really like that I’ve got ownership of tasks, I’m in charge of how I do things and as long as I get it done I can do it my way. I feel like I’m really part of the team unlike some other jobs. 
I struggled with full time work and it’s been really supportive to get me back into it, it’s been an easy transition. 

Three things friends say I’m great at: advice, cheering people up, being friendly and caring.

I’d say to someone considering an apprenticeship that you should do it. It’s worth it. You’re on the job, you’re getting paid to do training, you’re getting a lot of experience. I love that you’re treated as part of the team, you’re not just a person on a placement. I think it’s the best way to go about it because you’ll probably get a job out of it and you’ll work out whether you enjoy it. 

I would ideally like to work full time within the team I have settled into so well. I want to complete a higher business admin course, and work my way up the ladder. Hopefully I can work as a manager/supervisor in the future. 
I didn’t really like being at school, I wanted to be working. I felt like I could succeed more if I did an apprenticeship rather than staying in education. I wanted to do admin work, but I also wanted to build up my telephone skills and my confidence with customers. 

I really like my team, but I also like that we have our individual specialisations and I get to work on some things by myself. 

My friends would say I’m really adventurous, talkative, and honest. I’m a lot more outgoing than I seem, and this job is really helping me build up my confidence to show people that side of me. 

I would encourage people to get an apprenticeship, especially if you’re just coming out of school. It’s a great way to find your feet, it takes you out of a school environment and you feel like you’ve got a proper job with responsibilities.

When I finish my apprenticeship I’d love to continue working with the council!
I applied in 2014 because it was the best way for me to get into a working environment, get paid and get trained. I didn’t apply for any jobs, just for apprenticeships because I thought it would build up my skills. I was 17 and straight out of college when I started. 

I did level 2 for a year working in local services at one of the Northumberland depos, and then level 3 for 18 months in County Hall with the HR department. I was really interested in the level 3 so I thought it would be worth going onto the level 5 since I enjoyed the work and I would be more highly qualified. 

I really enjoy working with residents of Northumberland and people here at the council because they’re so passionate about their work and doing their best for the local area. It’s good to work with people that you know too, and you’re given so many opportunities to develop different skills. 

I’ve started kickboxing recently, I like to do that outside of work time. Three things my friends say I’m great at: being loyal, I’m really outgoing and bubbly, and I’m a good listener. 

I think getting an apprenticeship is one of the best thing you can do, no matter what age you are. You can do so many different things, at lots of different levels. It built my confidence up massively, working in an office and on the phones and learning how to interact with lots of different people. It’s definitely good to earn money and not be building up debt in uni. You know where you want to go when you finish and it gives you a good experience.

I’d like to stay in HR at the council and keep working my way up.
I didn’t want to go to school to be honest, I thought it would be a better learning opportunity and be in the real world of work. I wanted to work out what is was like before I had to properly go in. It think it would be scary to go straight from uni with qualifications with no work experience, this way I get both. 

When I started work I was worried about the age gap between the rest of the team and me, but they made me feel so welcome. I’ve never really got the chance to work with people of different ages before so it’s nice to get to know them. 

My friends would say I’m really talkative, and usually quite late, but people don’t know how organised I can be. My friends think I’m quite messy and sloppy,but I schedule everything out, I know when and how I’m doing it. I’m confident to go and speak to people if I need help. 

I think it depends on people’s position, but getting an apprenticeship is a great learning opportunity. It’s not as stressful as school or college because you get a mix of education and learning which is great, and you’re being paid to do it. The benefits of an apprenticeship at the council is they’re really flexible. I care for my Mam when I’m at home, and the council are great with letting me work at home sometimes or take a day off to care for her. Everyone has been lovely about it. 

I’m hoping to have a full time permanent job in my department when I finish. I’ve talked with my line manager about it and she’s quite eager for me to advance on in my apprenticeship. Because I’m in procurement there are other qualifications I can do, so I’d like to do procurement standards, or maybe a level 4 apprenticeship. Either way I’d get to do another qualification.
I’ve had lots of different jobs but I’ve always been drawn back to childcare. I applied for this one and I got the job on the day, I was so pleased. 

I just love coming into work, and I love the routine. The staff are really friendly. I can’t pick out anything specifically because I just overall enjoy the job. 

My friends would say I’m bubbly, a good listener, and just really patient. 

If you’re thinking of applying for an apprenticeship I would say go for it! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and it’s got me where I want to be. You get so much experience. 

I’ve always seen myself in a primary school, I love nursery work but after I finish my apprenticeship I’d like to move into early years work in a school.
My last year of school wasn’t great because I didn’t really enjoy exams and I found it very stressful for my mental health, plus I really wanted to get stuck into the working environment sooner rather than later. I tried out an apprenticeship and I’ve never looked back. 

I love knowing that I make a difference. You clock off on friday and you know you’ve supported a team, you’ve fulfilled a role, and you’ve helped people. No matter what you’re doing you’re making a difference for someone. 

I’m quite organised with sleeping schedules in the week and then as soon as I get to the weekend, complete turn around and I’m awake til 5 in the morning. People complain all week that they’re not getting enough sleep and then it gets to the weekend and we don’t take our own advice haha. 

3 things my friends say I’m great at: Being organised, making free time, having fun. 

I’d definitely say you should try out an apprenticeship if there’s a part of you that thinks it’s right, and once you’ve started give it a few months to get your head in. For my first couple of months I wasn’t sure it was right for me but then I really got into it and I knew I wanted to stay. 

I’m hoping to get a full time job at the council and the team want the best for me so I think they’ll help with opportunities. If you do your work and you do what they ask, as an apprentice you can work your way up ready for a good job and lots of offers. They don’t just close the door once your apprenticeship is over, they want to help you.
Before I had this job I worked at a factory for twenty years, and then looked after my daughter and my mum. I was a at a bit of a loose end so I thought I’d volunteer and it went from there, I’d never even done any office work before. I started as a volunteer here at the community bank at the end of last February. I really enjoyed it and they were taking apprentices on so they asked me if I’d consider it. I thought why not! 

I’ve always enjoyed helping people. I’ve done lots of volunteering, at my daughters school, at a breastfeeding support group; I’m quite good at giving advice to people now because of it. I enjoy helping our customers, especially things like coming up with a budget that suits their needs. 

I’ve had so many different experiences in this job, I’ve even been interviewed by channel four. They were doing a piece about Ashington and they came into here and interviewed me, I was so nervous, but it felt great that I’d done it. 

My friends would say I’m great at talking, I’m a friendly and sociable kind of person, and I always cheer them up with laughing and joking. A little bit of humour puts people at ease, which is good in this job. 

I would definitely say go for an apprenticeship, it’s the best thing I’ve done. I didn’t realise you could do one when you’re older, but it’s changed my life. There’s no better way of getting training than hands on, you learn better by doing. 

I would like to stay on at the Northumberland Community Bank, I’ve really enjoyed it. You don’t realise how much there is going on behind the scenes and how much stuff to do, all the balancing acts, I find it really interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed anything so much.
I started early June. I was interested in finance in the first place so I thought working for the community bank would be great. I did a year of sixth form and I was half way through, but I’d had enough. I needed a job and to be out of the school environment. 

I love the people that I work with, the vulnerable people that you know you’re doing a good thing to help them. 

I’ve got a son, that’s something people don’t know about me. It’s easy to work and have a family life with this job. My friends would say I’m sarcastic, hyper, and enthusiastic. 

I would say to someone thinking about an apprenticeship to go for it. Look at your options and pick something that suits you, there are so many different types.

Hopefully when I finish I’ll move on to full time work, if possible I’d like to stay and work at the Northumberland Community Bank and help the organisation to grow and carry on developing the skills I already have. However if not I believe I have learned enough and gained lots of experience that will help me gain full time work elsewhere in the finance industry. I  have very high expectations for myself and believe with the start I have been given through the apprenticeship scheme and especially the Northumberland Community Bank I am well on my way.
We decided to take on apprentices because we wanted to grow our business, and we really like the idea of investing in people. We’re very ambitious and in a small organisation each member of the team plays a big part. 
 
I would advise any small business to get an apprentice. My advice would be to really use the opportunity wisely, think about what your workplace needs and build this in from the start. Our apprentices are an integral part of the team and have been from day one, and that’s why they’re making such a difference. 
 
We are very hopeful that our apprentices will stay in our business, they’ve got all the skills they need to progress.    
Our apprentices are both very different people but have great potential, I don’t want them to feel in competition. They’re both going to continue to get great opportunities. It’s not like having two nineteen year olds who are sparring for the same role. Instead, they compliment each other perfectly and get on really well.  There’s a lot of banter too which is great fun.  
 
Northumberland Community Bank is open four days a week. We definitely want to expand. The apprentices started on 30 hours a week but they’ve gone up to full time hours now because we’ve grown the business but still have more to do. In the future we’d love to take on more apprentices.
Before this I was working at tesco selling phones, I definitely prefer this. My dad was talking about the apprenticeship and it sounded like a good opportunity. I’m trying to become a highway inspector so I’m working my way up, most days I work totally independently with my own tools and van. I thought it would be something I’d enjoy when I applied for it and I was right. 

My job now is to go around and inspect the roads and look at customer requests and complaints. I quite like doing that because you get to close the cases once they’ve been dealt with, feels like you’ve accomplished something. 

Outside of work I like going to festivals, and travelling abroad to watch England in the football. My friends would say I’m pretty fun to be around, trustworthy, and more confident than people think. 

I’d say an apprenticeship is a great opportunity. 

I’d like to be an inspector long term, I feel like it’ll really suit me. I’d like to get more qualifications as well, whether that’s apprenticeship based or something different.
I decided to apply for the apprenticeship because it was a good opportunity to get into the council, and it was close by. I was in school before hand, and I never really wanted to go to college so this was a better option. 

I like being with the lads, working with people, getting on with the team. I really enjoy the satisfaction of putting a good job out too. 

Outside of work I quite enjoy travelling, I’m going to Japan in a couple of months. My friends would say I’m good at time keeping, trustworthy, and honest. 

I’d say give an apprenticeship a go, it opens a lot of doors. 

Hopefully I’ll go on to being full time with the traffic management team when I finish my apprenticeship, I’d definitely enjoy the work. 
Aaron & Dean are both current Level 1 apprentices in horticulture, with Dean recently completing a six week traineeship with Northumberland County Council. Watch our interview with them below.

Donna is a Level 1 Business Admin Apprentice at Northumberland County Council. She discusses why an apprenticeship is the right balance of studying and working while juggling family life.
 

Shannon is currently working as a Level 1 Business Admin Apprentice in the Information Services department at Northumberland County Council. Her colleague Nathan is currently studying at degree level alongside working at Northumberland County Council, after completing his NVQ with us.

 
Lauren began working with us as an apprentice straight out of school, and from this has secured herself a permanent position as an Electoral Support Assistant. Watch our interview with Lauren to find out more about the fantastic opportunities we provide our apprentices.
 

Daniel recently completed his apprenticeship in the Careers Guidance Team at Northumberland County Council, and has since secured a permanent position as a Contact Centre Advisor in Cramlington. Watch our interview with Daniel to find out more about our apprenticeships.