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.

Apprenticeships are proven to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and (in some cases) qualifications you need in order to do a particular job. Here you will find information about what an apprenticeship is and how to get involved and apply.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a formal training programme that is undertaken with employment.

As an apprentice, you 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/age bracket
Please click here for more information about minimum wage.
  • follow a structured training programme 
  • receive both on and off the job training
  • undertake the programme during normal work hours
  • have one day per week where you can study, or do independent research
PLEASE NOTE: Apprentices aren’t asked for a contribution towards any training costs. These will be met by the employer.


Levels of apprenticeship

Name Level Equivalent educational level            Timescale  
Intermediate 2 GCSE                                                   12 - 15 months  
Advanced 3 A level                                                  15 - 24 months  
Higher 4,5,6 and 7 Foundation degree and above            18+ months  
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree            18+ months

Not all of these apprenticeships are currently available at the council. Keep an eye on North East Jobs to see which opportunities are available, or if you are really interested in a particular route, try contacting our apprenticeship team on 01670 622104, or email


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



  • Supporting teaching and learning
  • Specialist teaching support
  • Coaching and Mentoring 
  • Further education teaching


Health and social 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

  • The first lecturer you meet on your programme will take you through an induction, and initial assessment workshops.
  • You will then be in the care of a lecturer (or personal coach) who specialises in your apprenticeship area:
    • They will visit you at your job, provide advice, guidance, training and assessment.
    • They will review your progress with you and your employer at regular intervals.


Apprenticeship mentor team

  • Specialist mentors are also available to work with learners who have special educational needs, or who are looked-after children.
  • Mentors work across Northumberland to ensure your safety and happiness are taken into account during your apprenticeship.
  • Your mentor will also ensure that you are meeting the employer’s standards and code of conduct, you are progressing well, and that your welfare needs are being met.


Apprenticeship Support and Counselling Service by Remploy

  • By working in partnership with Access to Work (a JobCentre Plus scheme), this service supports apprentices who are feeling low and upset.

Please click here to find out more about Access to Work.
  • It is completely free-of-charge, confidential, and run by fully trained professionals with expertise in mental health.
  • An expert from Remploy will provide apprentices with personal, emotional wellbeing support and advice for six months. This will try to help apprentices concentrate better on their programme.
  • Remploy will also help us to develop a step-by-step support plan to keep apprentices on track, and will suggest some workplace adjustments.

Please click here to find out more about Remploy.
Here you will find information about how to apply for an apprenticeship based on your current circumstances, as well as what happens after you apply.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no age limit for our apprenticeships - everyone aged 16+ is welcome to apply.


If you are already employed

  • If your job role has changed, and you require training for that role, then you can apply for an apprenticeship.
  • You will need confirmation from your employer that they will support you to do your apprenticeship.

The support from your employer includes:
  • their willingness to pay for your apprenticeship training costs.
  • their ability to continue paying your salary while you study.
  • signing a contract for your apprenticeship services to start.

To get in touch, please either call us on 01670 622104, or email, so we can guide you through the steps to help you get involved. 


If you aren’t employed


What happens after you apply?

  1. After submitting your application, it will be sent directly to us.
  2. To be considered for an interview, you must attend a screening day where we will asses:
    • your English, maths, IT, and problem-solving skills. If you fail one of these tests it will not stop you getting an apprenticeship, we may just include training in English or Maths as part of your other learning. 
    • your attitude towards equality, diversity, safeguarding, and health and safety.
  3. You will receive a one-to-one interview..
  4. You may be offered conditional employment subject to your references, medical clearances, DBS certificate, and interviews.
  5. If you are unsuccessful, we will advise you on other available apprenticeships or training programmes that may be suited to you.
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 that their business has benefitted.
  • 72% of employers say apprenticeships have improved business productivity.
  • There are more than 1500 job roles over more than 170 industries.
  • Apprenticeships deliver:
    • Low recruitment costs
    • Increased profits
    • Better team morale
    • Motivated, skilled employees

Northumberland Learning and Skills Service can support all stages of an apprenticeship, from the initial recruitment, to celebrating your apprentice’s success.

Please contact our Apprenticeship and Traineeship team on 01670 622114 for more information.


Apprenticeship Levy

If you are a business, large or small, the Apprenticeship Levy will affect you.

The Levy is a tax on all UK employers that will support the funding of apprenticeships. Depending on how much your business pays in wages will affect how much you will have to pay into the apprenticeship fund.

If you are considering hiring an apprentice, please click here for information about the Apprenticeship Levy and how it affects your business and staff.
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 
Northumberland County Council is proud to welcome over 200 new apprentices each year. Apprenticeships have helped us to find new talent, build capacity, deal with risk, and increase diversity in the workplace.

Apprentices have also helped us to improve our customer services, catering, highways, housing, planning, procurement, social care, and strategic estates.

We offer pathways into trades, careers, and degrees. Our apprenticeships start at a level 2 and progresses to a level 6.


What does working for the council consist of?

  • You will be given a contract of employment for the purpose of completing an apprenticeship.
  • 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 you can broaden your experience.
    • 20% of your time will be spent doing off-the-job learning.
  • Depending on your year of study, you will either be paid the national apprenticeship wage, or national minimum wage for your year group.
Please click here for more information about minimum wage
  • If you are successful in gaining a full post at the council, you will move on to the salary that the post is graded and advertised at.
    • over 92% of apprentices go into full employment, or start a higher level apprenticeship after your initial programme.
PLEASE NOTE: We currently recruit apprentices all year round, so you can apply at any time. We are looking for applicants who are 16+, but there is no upper age limit.

Please click here to apply via North East Jobs

Alternatively, please click here to join our talent pool and we will be in touch with a relevant apprenticeships vacancy when it becomes available.

Trade Apprenticeships

Have you ever thought about a career in trade? Are you very hands-on? If so, then an apprenticeship in trade could be for you.

We specialise in:
  • construction 
  • bricklaying 
  • property maintenance
  • delivering projects on highways
  • fenestration


Career Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships can allow you to combine work-based learning with academic achievement. You can have a paid job, practical training and experience, and the ability to gain qualifications.

We have career apprenticeships in the following areas:
  • Local services and housing delivery
    • highways development and maintenance
    • parking 
    • refuse collection
    • street lighting
    • housing and strategic property
  • Wellbeing and community health services
    • children and adult social care
    • public health
    • education and skills
  • Corporate resources
    • information services
    • legal 
    • finance
    • employee and customer services
    • registrars
    • coronial services
  • Planning and economy
    • planning 
    • election services
    • policy and inclusion
  • Human Resources
    • organisational development
    • health and safety
    • communications
  • Fire and rescue
    • fire and public protection


Degree Apprenticeships

We currently offer degree-level apprenticeships in the following areas:
  • business management
  • social worker
  • taxation
  • digital and technology solutions professional

If you have a caring personality and want to support people at difficult times in their lives, this could be something 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 (including 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 services and other youth work
  • Accommodation and support
  • Safeguarding
  • Children’s centres and early help
  • Public health and promotion

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship. If you are interested in going into one of these specific areas, talk to our team about the best apprenticeship or training to do. 

You’ll be using your communication skills and knowledge to help people to develop and learn in many of these jobs.

Jobs in this sector:

  • Support in primary and 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 Partnership North
  • Equality and diversity support and projects
  • Special educational needs
  • Sensory support
  • Education support for looked-after children
  • Education welfare:
    • safeguarding 
    • health
    • inclusion
  • Adult learning, employability and careers guidance services
  • Educational psychology

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship. If you are interested in going into one of these specific areas, talk to our team about the best apprenticeship or training to do.

Many jobs in this sector 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-based, or practical person.

Jobs in this sector:

  • Waste management:
  • Winter maintenance (support)
  • Flooding and extreme weather response
  • Street cleansing
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Parks and urban open spaces
  • Countryside management and public rights of way
  • Cemeteries and crematoria, markets, and public conveniences
  • Fleet management
  • Security and postal courier service
  • Maintenance and management of highways, cycleways, and bridges
  • Parking and street works
  • Highway and transport improvement
  • Road safety
  • Transport services for schools and communities 

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship. If you are interested in going into one of these specific areas, talk to our team about the best apprenticeship or training to do.

If you love a practical role and are interested in the details of how things work, you could look into construction roles. If you aren’t hands-on, then you could always look into a supporting role, in depots and offices across the county.

Jobs in this sector:

  • Helping people find housing options
  • Supporting refugees and asylum seekers
  • Managing tenancies and leases on properties
  • Housing maintenance help desk
  • Construction repairs and maintenance service
  • Property maintenance for school and council buildings
  • Capital Project support
  • Cleaning, caretaking, and management of council buildings

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship. If you are interested in going into one of these specific areas, talk to our team about the best apprenticeship or training to do.

If you are good with numbers, have excellent organisational, business, and people skills, there is a role in this sector for you. In the legal services area, 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
    • IT developer
    • networking and support roles
  • Registrars of births, deaths and marriages
  • Legal services
  • Audit and insurance
  • Procurement
  • Human Resources
    • workforce planning
  • Learning and development
  • Communications, marketing and media
  • Health and safety

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship. If you are interested in going into one of these specific areas, talk to our team about the best apprenticeship or training to do.

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. It will also help if you are good with numbers, IT, and report writing. You’ll need to be able to be calm and collected in critical situations.

Jobs in this sector:

  • Emergency response
  • Community safety
  • Legislative fire safety
  • Civil contingencies
  • Reducing crime and disorder

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship.

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

Jobs in this sector:

  • Professional cookery in council buildings and schools
  • School Supervisor
  • Kitchen porters and chefs
  • Restaurant and front of house customer service
  • Counter service assistant

PLEASE NOTE: There aren’t apprenticeships available in all of these areas. This is a list of the potential career opportunities you could have upon completion of your apprenticeship. If you are interested in going into one of these specific areas, talk to our team about the best apprenticeship or training to do.

Managers work in many different job sectors. You’ll need organisational, communication and leadership skills. You will also require the ability to solve problems and keep calm under pressure. 
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.

Jobs in this sector:

  • Business management and administration in all of the above areas.
Find out how an apprenticeship could help you from the point-of-view of our apprentices:

Julie Mills

National Apprentice of the Year 2019
Customer Service Level 2


“Before I had this job I worked at a factory for 20 years. I was at a loose end so I started as a volunteer at Northumberland Community Bank at the end of February 2018. I really enjoyed it and they were taking on apprentices so they asked me if I’d consider it. I thought ‘why not?’

I enjoy helping our customers, especially when it involves coming up with a budget that suits their needs.

I didn’t even realise you could do an apprenticeship if you were older, but I’m glad I went for it. You definitely learn better being hands-on, I’ve never enjoyed anything so much. 

I’m now a Customer Services Lead, so we’ll see where this takes me in the future. My apprenticeship has definitely changed my life.”


Care for Life Apprentice, Hexham



Business Administration Apprentice, Alnwick



Care for Life Apprentice, Berwick 

Jordan Liddell

Runner-up Apprentice of the Year 2019
Personal Development of the Year 2018
Business Administration Levels 2 and 3, HR level 5

“I did Level 2 for a year working in local services, and then Level 3 for 18 months with HR. 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 the residents of Northumberland, and the people here at the council because they’re so passionate about doing what’s best for the local area.

This has built my confidence up massively, so I think getting an apprenticeship is one of the best things you can do.”


James Olive

Road Maintenance Level 3

“Before this apprenticeship, I was working at Tesco selling phones, and I definitely prefer this job!

I’m trying to become a Highway Inspector so I’m working my way up. Most days, I work independently with my own tools and van.

I now inspect roads, as well as looking at customer requests and complaints. I like doing this because you get to close the cases once they’ve been dealt with - it feels like you’ve accomplished something.”


Charlotte Straker

Business Administration Level 3

“When I finished school, I went to one of the open days in Cramlington and decided that the business admin apprenticeship with Active Northumberland would be great.

One of my favourite things about the job is that you get to go out and meet a lot of the members, and help with things such as the Kielder Marathon - it’s not all office-based!

Please don’t let a negative perception of an apprenticeship put you off. If you are wanting to progress further and develop your personal and professional skills, then it’s a good option for you.”


Ian Sharkey

Degree Apprenticeship in Digital Technology Solutions

“I am currently in my third year of my Degree Apprenticeship. I had worked in IT for 6 years, so the Information Services Degree Apprenticeship seemed like an ideal opportunity for me to get into development.

I was very wary of moving from a permanent role to become an apprentice, it felt like it would be a step back, and I didn’t know if I could apply as I was 24 at the time.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning new things academically at Northumbria University, as well as learning at work. I have had so many opportunities to see projects through from start to finish at work, which is very rewarding.

You need to be committed to working full time whilst studying for a degree, but you earn while you study, which is a bonus! If an opportunity like this comes about, my advice would be to definitely take it.”