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Ideal Foundation

Apprenticeships are an ideal foundation to a career. They allow people to gain essential skills and knowledge in the workplace, whilst obtaining good qualifications and earning money. For many, they are a better option than a purely academic route, and lead to enormously rewarding and fulfilling careers.

What We Do

South West Apprenticeship Company Ltd (SWAC) was set up to offer a new and additional way to support Apprenticeships across the South West. The apprentice is at the heart our operation and we have extensive experience in helping people achieve their potential.

We help find Host Organisations and match them against individual’s interests and ambitions and offer guidance with CVs and interviews. We also provide mentoring and continual support to achieve smooth progression. Once qualified, SWAC apprentices are highly employable. If they are not retained by their Host Organisation, we will help find them a position elsewhere.

We do all we can to ensure that the apprentice is happy and successful.

Who we can help

SWAC aims to help 16-24 year olds find Apprenticeships in the South West. Those within this age group are usually eligible to have training paid in full or part by the government. Applicants which fall outside this age bracket can find other Apprenticeship vacancies at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

How Parents Can Help

You are the most important influence on a young person’s career aspiration. Just at a time when they may need advice most, they are naturally keen to assert their independence. Equally parents are often anxious on behalf of their child, so sharing your own career experiences can help you to talk to them about what they are going through. Your support can play a big part in helping them to move forward.

Career Choice

The right choice of career for a young person may not be obvious. They will need to take into account many things such as their abilities, interests, and values. Motivation is also important. How significant is job satisfaction, money, status, or family? It may not be possible to identify the perfect occupation, but there are jobs which will really suit them. It’s best to keep an open mind and talk through various options.

A good source of advice and more information about Apprenticeships is the: National Apprenticeship Service

Finding an Opportunity

SWAC operates a matching service where we match young people to suitable Host Organisations.

To maximise the chances of finding the right placement we recommend that young people actively search themselves. We all need encouragement from time to time, and the prospect of employment can be daunting. Perhaps you can help your child to locate companies they would like to work with, and encourage them to make contact. Many employers advertise for new apprentices in local or national newspapers so keep a sharp look out!


Apprenticeships are not easy. They require commitment and focus.

Competition for places is often fierce and good qualifications are always an advantage.

Different sector Apprenticeships have different entry requirements for example entry to a hospitality Apprenticeship can be made with lower GCSE grades than us needed for an engineering Apprenticeship. The majority of Apprenticeships take between 1 and 2 years, but can sometimes take longer depending on the Apprenticeship framework.

However, an academic record is not the only thing employers consider. Employers are looking for enthusiasm and strong motivation. Those who can demonstrate genuine interest tend to do well in interviews. Relevant work experience, part-time or voluntary work and any related hobbies will all help.

Why Apprenticeships?

Apprentices Are Paid

Apprentices earn while they learn. They are employed and so receive the ‘fair rate for the job’. There is a National Minimum Wage for apprentices however many vacancies will pay more than this. What’s more, during their career, apprentices will earn about £100,000 more than those without training.

Apprentices Gain Qualifications

Apprentices achieve an impressive set of qualifications. These can be the foundation to even higher attainment and can lead onto university. Apprenticeships can also be a ‘second chance’ to learn in a non-school environment. We ensure every SWAC apprentice has the support needed to succeed.

An Apprenticeship is not classed as a qualification in its own right, but is a group of qualifications called a ‘framework’. Most Apprenticeships frameworks comprise of three components: Functional Skills, Competency Based Work and Technical Certificates.

Functional Skills are practical skills in 3 areas – English, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Mathematics. They allow individuals to work confidently, effectively and independently. The competency element is work-related. They are assessed in the workplace and show that the employee has the knowledge and skills needed to do the job. A Technical Certificate is a recognised qualification, providing extensive up-to-date knowledge in a chosen area of study.

There are three levels of Apprenticeship; an ‘Apprenticeship’ which is Level 2, ‘Advanced Apprenticeship’ which is Level 3 and a ‘Higher Apprenticeship’ which is a level 4. 

Apprentices Are Practical Learners

The learning style is very hands-on and practical with an emphasis on learning by ‘doing’. The training can be delivered by a private training provider/college and/or in the workplace by the employer.

Apprentices Can Do the Job!

Qualified Apprentices are highly employable. They have proven ability and valuable workplace experience that’s not available at college or university. Apprentices have demonstrated they can do the job and possess transferable skills that are attractive to all employers.