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WANT to be an apprentice? What's stopping you? Havering College is running a series of drop-in sessions next month (June) to provide young people and adults with all the information they need.

A specialist team of advisors will be on hand to advise on the opportunities available through a wide range of jobs with training across all sectors, including Construction, Hairdressing, Engineering, Business Administration, Social Media and Childcare.

The drop-in sessions will take place every Thursday in June at the Havering Skills Academy, 32-34 High Street, Romford RM1 1HR from 3pm-8pm.

School leavers, in particular, are being encouraged to explore the possibility of an apprenticeship with the message 'you don't have to wait for your exam results to apply'.

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Havering College Head of Apprenticeships and Traineeships Steve Lee said: "Apprenticeships are an excellent way of the gaining skills and qualifications that employers are looking for. A lot of young people think they have to go to university to get their qualifications but with an apprenticeship you can get the same level of qualifications."

An Intermediate level 2 apprenticeship is equivalent to five GCSE passes while an Advanced level 3 apprenticeship is equivalent to two A-level passes. A Higher apprenticeship (Levels 4 and 5) can lead from HNC to HND and possibly a degree. Apprenticeships last a minimum or one or two years but some can be three.

In October the national minimum wage for apprentices aged 16-18 will jump from £2.73 to £3.30 an hour, although typical starting salaries with top companies are around £15,000 per annum. Apprentices living in London are eligible for the Oyster Card if they are 16-18 while those aged 19-plus will be entitled to a reduced rate. Apprenticeships typically consist of four days in the work place and one day at college.

Steve Lee said: "Pay rates for apprenticeships are varied but we do have some Level 2 apprenticeships in Business Administration and Accountancy with a company in Canary Wharf which are being advertised at £16,000 a year.

"Apprenticeships are jobs with training. The big thing employers are looking for in taking on an apprentice without experience is reliability and a willingness to learn.
Qualifications that employers are looking for will vary – some say they only want A-C grade GCSE students but others will take on an apprentice without those grades if it is felt they can meet the demands of the course.

"That's why at Havering College we invite all potential apprentices in for an initial assessment so we make sure we are not setting someone up to fail. Any apprentices who have they have not got English and Maths at GCSE grade C, will do functional skills to level 2 with us alongside their main qualification."

For further information on apprenticeships and Havering College call 01708 462787

•Apprenticeship drop-in sessions for Havering College students only are being held  in the Enterprise and Employability Hub in The Square at the Ardleigh Green Campus every Wednesday in May from 1pm-4pm.

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