Apprenticeships at Walter Lilly FAQ

Last week was National Apprenticeship Week.

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual event for the apprenticeship community to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.

Walter Lilly took to Twitter to join in the conversation by participating in two two-hour live question and answer sessions: #AskAnApprentice; and #AskAnEmployer. During the conversations, a common theme emerged and we have therefore produced a brief summary to address common misconceptions and general concerns.

FAQs: #AskAnApprentice & #AskAnEmployer

Q Will an apprenticeship negatively affect my career opportunities and future earnings if I took this instead of University?
A No! University builds knowledge, but apprenticeships also give practical skills and forms positive behaviours. In fact, it is likely to be the opposite as, upon graduation, apprentices have experience as well as a formal qualification.

Q Do I need any specific qualifications to start the apprenticeship?
A It depends on the level of apprenticeship. Lower levels have fewer requirements but some may ask for relevant qualifications or experience. For example, Walter Lilly offer degree apprenticeships and requirements for academic performance is determined by the University.

Q Is there an age limit to becoming an apprentice?
A No, there isn’t. Apprenticeships are also relevant to more experienced people who are looking to change careers.

Q How much do you earn on an apprenticeship? What are the benefits? Am I treated the same?
A Apprentices are employees and have exactly the same rights as all other employees. The salary for the apprentices is regulated by national minimal wage; however, many employers (including Walter Lilly) choose to pay more, whether from the very start or by regular reviews. The benefits are determined by the employer. At Walter Lilly, apprentices have exactly the same benefits package as any other Walter Lilly trainee.

Q What are the hours like on an apprenticeship?
A Our apprentices are contracted to the same hours as qualified full-time workers in the same line of work. The only difference is that apprentices spend one-fifth of their time training, whether it is at University, with subcontractors or with more experienced employees. There are the normal University assignments to complete in your own time after work or on weekends, but this is no different to any degree or form of further education.

Q What are the benefits of the apprenticeship?
A Apprenticeships outrank full time University education when it comes to value for money – no student loan to pay off! The skills learned are more practical, so they are easier to absorb and retain in the long term. It also prepares young people for the workplace as it gives an insight into working life at the same time as giving skills to do the role.

Q What sort of tasks will I be doing during my apprenticeship?
A The purpose of an apprenticeship is to help an individual develop the skills to perform their chosen role independently. Whilst they may start with basic tasks, the difficulty and responsibility increases as the apprentices develop in their role. Either way, we do not hire apprentices for tea duty(!) – they are equal employees and are treated as such.

Q What academic support is available to apprentices?
A At University, apprentices have a personal tutor who is available to discuss anything from the course to balancing studies with work. At work, their colleagues are also able to give advice on coursework, as they have the first-hand experience of the topics covered.

Q What level apprenticeships are available?
A Contrary to a common misconception, apprenticeships are not aimed at manual labour. There is a broad range of courses available and the levels can go all the way up to a Master’s degree equivalent. At Walter Lilly, we offer degree apprenticeships, so, at the end of their traineeship, our apprentices leave with BSc in either Surveying or Construction Management from a recognised University as well as the added benefit of their five years’ experience.

If you are interested to find out more, please refer to our London South Bank or
Westminster University websites or contact us at

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