What does Ronnie think of her Intequal apprenticeship?

I feel as if I have had good support from Intequal while completing my qualifications, my assessor James Palin was especially helpful throughout. I now have worthwhile qualifications that stand me in good stead and I have learned valuable IT skills. I would like to say a big thank you to James Palin who when above and beyond to help me and nothing was too much trouble.

Apprenticeships VS University

Are you still unsure on what is the right route to take to gain your qualifications? This blog will show you the time and cost comparison of two different routes to gain a degree.

We want to help you make the right decision! Uni is no longer the only option.  Degree Apprenticeships are becoming more and more common. You can graduate the same as everyone else, and even go onto a Masters level scheme. Getting paid to go to Uni! How does that sound? We have worked out the average costs and time durations to help you make your vital career choices.

So, the cost. It is no secret that going to Uni will leave you with quite some hole in your pocket, possibly some negative figures on your online banking screen, and the prices are on the rise. Just recently, the cost per year of Uni has risen to £9,250! The average person leaves Uni with around £44,000 worth of dept over their three-year course. Some people are lucky to gain a paying Placement year, so you do have the option to gain some money in your third year, should you choose a sandwich course lasting four years. According to The Independent, the average placement is paying around £17,000 a year. But remember this fluctuates massively dependent on the industry you are in, and also your location. Some Placements are actually unpaid.

The Apprenticeship route is very different, not only is there no debt, you will be PAID! There are many different routes to starting your Apprenticeship, such as going to college beforehand, or from a level 2 Apprenticeship, however for the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on an Apprenticeship from school.

Should you enrol on a Level 3 Apprenticeship, during the 14 month course you will learn and get paid on average around £150 p/w. This adds up to £8,400 over the full 14 months. Progressing onto the Level 4 you are likely to earn around £210 a week. Apprentices under current employment law, are paid national minimum wage for their age after being on programme for more than 12 months. This will total, on average, £21,840 over the full two years of the course. This means before starting Uni equivalent qualifications you could have already earnt around £30,240.

Gaining University equivalent qualifications doesn’t have to be a costly process, Degree Apprenticeships often have a minimum starting wage of £18,500. This can also increase by 10% every six months depending on your apprenticeship. Over the course of your three-year Degree Apprenticeship you could earn around £55,500, meaning you could be £99,500 better off than someone who has accumulated the £44,000 worth of debt. This is without including the income you would have gained from your Level 3 and 4 Apprenticeships!

Moving on there is also the length of time to consider. To get to Degree level through the Uni route from school the average duration is around 5 to 6 years. In comparison, through the Apprenticeship route, the average duration to Degree level is around 6 to 7 years. This is illustrated in the graph below:

Hopefully, this will help you in your decision making. However, if you are still unsure, or you have any questions at all, feel free to visit our contact us page.

The whole team at Intequal are happy to help, we look forward to hearing from you!

How to handle exams and their importance for a career in IT and the Technical Industry

There are many different ways for you to get a career within the IT and Technical Industry, just two are Uni or an Apprenticeship. There are many differences between these two paths, however, there is one clear similarity, you will be required to sit exams. We want to help you achieve your best, read this blog to read find out how you can handle your exams.

Start your studying early:

  • Make sure you are confident, and you know your stuff when you walk into exams.
  • Start studying as soon as your trainer/pathway planner announces the exam to you.
  • Put your notes into your own words so they are easier to remember.
  • If you have any questions take the time to ask your trainer.


Have a plan to help you manage your time:

  • Cramming all your revision in the night before your exams isn’t likely to work. Planning times to study different units will help you feel more confident when going into your exam.
  • Also plan in study breaks, taking a break from revision is vital. Take regular 5-10 minute breaks to help you remain focused. Go for a walk, watch some TV or have a snack.
  • When planning your studying make sure you have a location in mind where it is quiet and without distractions.


Be healthy:

  • There are studies that prove exercise and healthy eating can help you perform better while taking your exams.
  • Don’t eat too much junk food, you need to keep your energy up- energy drinks are not the answer.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep; you won’t be able to focus as well if you are tired.



  • Ask for practice tests. On our apprenticeships, we provide you with practice tests. If for some reason there isn’t one available, you can always make your own.


Chill out:

  • Don’t panic about your exams, start your revision early and be prepared.
  • Being in a state of panic can affect performance. Take some deep breaths, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.


Dealing with anxiety/stress:

The first thing you need to know is a certain level of stress and anxiety during periods of exams is completely normal, there are hundreds of other apprentices likely to be feeling the same way. But you need to get the right balance, you don’t want to spend so much time worrying about your exams you can’t concentrate while revising.

While on an apprenticeship with Intequal, if you do feel the exam stress/anxiety is affecting you, and you are worried about it why not have a chat with some of the other apprentices to see if they are feeling the same way? If you don’t want to do this you can always try talking to your trainer, or our pastoral care team who are all here to help you out.

Good Luck in your exams!

Women in ICT

Hello, my name is Abbie-Louise Hellyer, I’m 21 years old, and I am proud to be a female in the ICT industry. I am currently studying Business Information Technology at The University of Portsmouth, predicted a first, completing my placement year with Intequal.

From a young age, I was always inquisitive of technology and the places it could lead us to in the future. Growing up in a very anti-tech home, it was sometimes difficult to explore my interests, when I was 15 we STILL didn’t have Wi-Fi in the family home. Studying extra ICT sessions during my time at secondary school was when my real passion developed.

The feeling of being able to help someone through the use of tech is incredible. During my time at sixth form college, I was challenged with facing the Software Development Life-cycle head-on. During this task, I had to take a paper-based Nursery for children and create a functioning relational database system meeting all of their customer requirements. During this, I learned the use of Microsoft Access, basic coding and the creation of relational tables, to create forms and relevant reports for the Nursery to use. Through the process of creating this database came gathering requirements, development, testing, implementation, and training. All recorded in a report for the Nursery to take away for future reference. The Nursery is now using this report, and system for the creation of their more efficient computer system. This for me, although an ICT task was very creative and challenging. Keeping me engaged for 4 months whilst the creation and reporting took place.

Computer coding is a very creative process, however, there are still so many stereotypes that it is a male’s job. I do not believe this! Woman and men think very differently, improving the gender gap within the industry, could significantly adapt and improve the products and services being provided in the Tech industry. Plus, don’t you think it would be awesome to catch out people committing cybercrimes?

The IT industry is so diverse with thousands of different job roles, all of equal importance, to keep the industry going. I have learnt just a small proportion of the skills needed to work in different areas of the sector, including: Managing Data and Security, CRM, IT Service Management, Enterprise systems and processes, Website Design and Implementation, Software as a Service, Social Computing for Business, Systems Management, IT Applications and Management and Digital Marketing.

So why is it that over the last decade, with so much work being completed to reduce the gap we still seem to have barriers keeping women from entering the field? Only 30% of around 7 million people working in the information and communication (ICT) sector are women. We are seriously underrepresented!

In addition to this, with the fast paced industry moving the way it is, there could not be a better time to join the ICT industry. The ICT sector is rapidly growing, creating around 120,000 new jobs every single year. So there really are plenty of jobs going. This could mean a lack of around 900,000 skilled ICT workers by 2020. Could you fill in this skills gap? There are also plenty of ways to gain the skills required to fill one of these roles, and, you don’t necessarily have to get into loads of debt to do so. University was for me, the only option. It is something I have always wanted to do, no one in my family has ever been, so it was something on my bucket list. However, it isn’t for everyone, but don’t panic.

I was completely unaware of apprenticeships when finishing college. However, working in the industry has given me such a big insight into what they are all about. If I wasn’t near completion of a degree, it would definably be something I would consider. The opportunities to get an apprenticeship are also forever growing with Microsoft aiming to run 30,000 apprenticeships by 2020. In addition to this with new azure, and cloud qualifications coming to light there are so many interesting topics to cover. Having sat in on one of the Level 4 training sessions completed by Intequal, the content covered was almost identical to the content I have covered at university. The big difference, the apprentices were being paid to learn it! There really are no reasons for women to not be in the tech industry these days!

Why we rebranded to Intequal

As some of you will already know, we were previously known as The IT Skills Management Company, or ITSkillsman for short. During February 2017, we undertook the task of rebranding to Intequal.

There were many reasons for us rebranding, firstly it has allowed for us to have two websites. We can now target both our two main audiences in a more individual way. With a corporate site, containing detailed information into our apprenticeships, the levy, and the history of the company. This reaches out to our customers, partners, teachers, careers advisers, job centres, and parents of potential applicants.

The rebrand has also allowed us to unleash our fun side. Our new apprentice site is now more fun and interactive for users to navigate. With an integrated quiz to guide candidates towards a role most suited them.

Our aim is to make the process of becoming an apprentice or taking one on as efficient and timely as possible for any party involved. The rebrand was the perfect opportunity for us to consider feedback from previous candidates and employers, implementing this to improve the services we deliver.

Intequal was our fresh start and we would love for you to come and join us.