Apprenticeships & Vocational Pathways
We support the government's agenda to increase apprenticeships and vocational pathways, particularly within small to medium-sized businesses.
Oxfordshire traditionally has a tight labour market with generally low unemployment. One of our main strategies is to support the government’s agenda to increase the number of Apprenticeships and vocational pathways, particularly within small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) which make up 99% of the employers in Oxfordshire.
An apprenticeship is a genuine job with accompanying training and assessment. It offers the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’, gaining valuable skills, knowledge and experience in a specific job role. We know that 93% of apprentices in Oxfordshire transition to sustained employment and 100% of higher (level 4+) apprenticeship courses lead to sustained employment.
Apprenticeships can be used to upskill existing staff or to employ a new talent (of any age) and can offer progression to degree level and beyond.
To celebrate achievements of apprentices and employers who offer quality apprenticeships, we organise the annual Oxfordshire Apprentice Awards. The awards are sponsored, judged and awarded by businesses on a not-for-profit basis.
Watch the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2021 highlights
We also work with employers who donate some of their apprentices' time to engage with local schools to promote apprenticeships as a valuable career route. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, some of our ambassadors created vlogs about their experiences.
Launching in September 2021 in Oxfordshire, T Levels, or Technical Levels, are a new qualification to follow GCSEs and are the equivalent to 3 A Levels. The 2 year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.
T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience, with the aim of equipping them with the knowledge and experience needed to progress into skilled employment, further study or a higher Apprenticeship.
Every T Level will include a relevant industry placement with an employer, focused on developing the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These will make up 20% of the course and last a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days). An industry placement can be a block, day release or a mix of these and may be shared across employers.
Find out about the benefits of industry placements to employers
Find out about the benefits of industry placements to learners
A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months. A traineeship is a course with work experience that helps a young person to get ready for work or an apprenticeship by equipping them with experience, skills and confidence. Young people can apply for a traineeship if they are:
unemployed and have little or no work experience
aged 16 to 24 and qualified at or below Level 3
eligible to work in England
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. The scheme funds 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months, associated employer National Insurance contributions, minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions and a grant of £1,500 per job to cover setup costs and employability support.