Apprenticeships & Vocational Pathways
We support the government’s agenda to increase the number of apprenticeships and vocational pathways, particularly within small to medium sized businesses (SMEs). Oxfordshire traditionally has a tight labour market with generally low unemployment.
One of our main strategies to address this is to increase the number of apprenticeships and vocational pathways, particularly within small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) which are 99% of 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.
Social Contract Programme
Our Social Contract Programme is an ambitious £1.7m programme of activity which includes encouraging large apprenticeship levy paying employers to pledge up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy to small businesses looking to employ their first apprentice. By retaining levy payments locally, we are supporting vital skills growth across Oxfordshire and helping employers develop talent pipelines whilst retaining key skills within the county.
Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards
The annual Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards celebrates the achievements of apprentices and those who support them along their journey, including school/college careers staff, employers and training provider individuals. OxLEP Skills manages the awards on a not-for-profit basis and categories are sponsored, judged and awarded by businesses and organisations.
Watch the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2023 highlights:
Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Ambassadors
Our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are current or recent apprentices who support our work to raise awareness of the benefits of Apprenticeships by sharing their experiences. They have been recruited from a range of employers, including Abbott, Assure UK, Blenheim, DAF Trucks, GKN Automotive, Ignite Sport, Milestone Infrastructure, Oxford Instruments, OxLEP and the University of Oxford.
What it’s like to be an apprentice by Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Ambassadors:
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 gets a young person ready for work or an apprenticeship. People can apply for a traineeship if they are:
- unemployed and have little or no work experience
- aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3
- eligible to work in England
Launched in September 2021 in Oxfordshire, T Levels, or Technical Levels are after 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 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 includes a relevant industry placement with an employer, focused on developing the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These 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.
Learn about the other programmes we are delivering to help reshape the skills economy for the better.