The College of West Anglia

Developing Skills Through Learning

The College of West Anglia is one of the largest training providers of education and training in the region. We work with hundreds of employers across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and support them with their training needs by offering apprenticeships, bespoke courses, commercial training and sub-contracts with our training partners.

Courses available for employers

We have a number of courses available for employers and employees. To see our variety of courses, click on button below. If you are looking for something more bespoke, contact us with your requirements.


Are you considering taking on an apprentice? We work with hundreds of employers across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that employers ask, for your reference.


An apprenticeship is ‘work based learning’; on-the-job training, leading to nationally recognised qualifications developed by industry. Students attend college, usually on a day-release basis to receive additional training, or are given assignments and visited by college staff for practical observations.


Skills shortages are still one of the biggest threats to UK business. Apprenticeships can help businesses across all industries by offering a route to harness fresh talent. If you have trained staff with the right skills for the job, they can do a wider range of tasks and take on new responsibilities – this can help to reduce skill shortages, minimise staff turnover and workplace accidents, and increase productivity.

Taking on an apprentice is cost effective because your employee can learn while they are working, and the government contributes to the costs of learning.


Employers have a vital role in the support of the learner. As an employer of a learner on an apprenticeship you will be expected to provide a period of induction within the first week. You will also need to:

  • Organise work experience and on-the-job training for the learner, appropriate to the qualification stated in the agreement and to provide suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training to enable the learner to undertake the task given
  • Support the process of NVQ and technical certificates as well as key skill development, where appropriate, and, where possible, organise work experience in the context of technical certificates and key skills to achieve within agreed timescales as identified in the Individual Learning Plan
  • Nominate a named work based assessor or recorder (where applicable) and allocate sufficient time to carry out appropriate responsibilities
  • Provide opportunities for the learner to demonstrate competence in specific tasks.
  • Provide an assessment of the learner’s progress on a regular basis
  • Help the learner collect evidence in the work they have done
  • Allow access to college assessors and training advisors to support progress towards the NVQ, through work based assessment and reviews, as required

Like all employees, apprentices must receive a wage relevant to the job that they are doing. There is also the cost of the supervision, support and mentoring that you will need to put in place to support them. The cost of training for 16-18 year old apprentices is fully funded by the government, however, if the apprentice is 19 or over an employer contribution is expected, please contact us for further details.

From 1st August 2013, if an apprentice is aged 24 or older, and wishing to study a level 3 qualification as part of an advanced level apprenticeship (ALA), fees will be payable.The employer must also supply PPE (personal protection equipment) where relevant, and ensure that the learner is covered by their employer liability insurance.


Our job is to ensure that the training fits the apprentices’ personal requirements, offers the skills needed for the job and satisfies national standards. We are also able to offer them personal and learning support. When you take on an apprentice we will appoint a training advisor who will work with you to make sure that the training is well planned. Once the apprentice begins, they will follow their progress (including regular three-way reviews with the employer and learner) and deal with any issues that may arise.


No; employers can take on as many apprentices as they can support.


Most of the time is spent in the workplace, with additional training taking place at college, either on a day or block release basis. More and more courses are delivered solely in the workplace, with college attendance only necessary for functional skills delivery.


We offer apprenticeships (level 2) and advanced apprenticeships (level 3) in a variety of subjects.


Our apprenticeships range from 1-4 years depending on the level and subject.


Changes to apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are changing to further benefit employers, apprentices and the economy. The English Apprenticeships 2020 vision document outlines the Government’s plan to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships to reach commitment of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.


There are a number of changes planned to apprenticeship delivery in the UK, including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy from April 2017, which will help make apprenticeship funding more sustainable and improve the technical and professional skills of the workforce.


From April 2017, employers operating within the UK, in any sector, with a pay bill of more than £3million per year, on which there is a liability to pay secondary Class 1 NICs, will be asked to pay the apprenticeship levy.

0.5% of an employer’s pay bill, on which there is a liability to pay secondary Class 1 NICs, will be collected monthly via PAYE. Employers (subject to connected companies rules) will have an allowance of £15,000, which means that the levy is only applicable on pay bill over £3 million.

Example 1: Levy paying employer

Employer of 250 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000 would pay:

  • Pay bill: 250 x £20,000 = £5,000,000
  • Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000
  • Allowance: £25,000 – £15,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment

Example 2: Non-levy paying employer

Employer of 100 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000 would pay:

  • Pay bill: 100 x £20,000 = £2,000,000
  • Levy sum: 0.5% x £2,000,000 = £10,000
  • Allowance: £10,000 – £15,000 = £0 annual levy payment

Individual employers’ funding for apprenticeship training in England will then be made available to them via the digital apprenticeship service. Employers will be able to use their levy funds to pay for training and assessment for apprentices in England.


Whether you pay the levy or not, the digital apprenticeship service will help you to:

  • Select an apprenticeship framework or standard
  • Choose the training provider or providers you want to deliver the training
  • Choose an assessment organisation
  • Advertise and recruit to apprenticeship vacancies

More information about the levy has been published here.


Employers with a pay bill of less than £3 million will not pay the levy. The government will provide financial support for non-levy paying employers to take on apprenticeships, but these employers will be expected to make a small financial contribution to the cost of training and assessment in partnership with Government.

For a relatively small contribution, smaller employers can get significant benefits from employing apprentices. Research shows that many employers are able to recoup the cost of training within 1 or 2 years of training finishing and 82% of employers were satisfied with the programme and 70% reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service. Asking non-levied employers to pay a contribution towards the cost of apprenticeship training is only fair when larger employers are contributing towards the cost of their apprenticeships. It also helps put employers in the driving seat for influencing their choices and interacting with their training providers.

If employers do not pay the levy, they will not need a digital apprenticeship service account to pay the training provider, such as CWA, in April 2017. Non levy paying employers will agree a price and pay their co-investment to the training provider directly. Government will also pay its contribution to the provider directly.


Full details from the Government can be downloaded here.

Or feel free to email us on and we will get back to you.


Work Experience

We pride ourselves on making our students work-ready through our links with employers in the region. Work experience is an essential taster of the world of work. For many of our students, this will be their first opportunity to work in a real environment with adults.

We are always looking for employers who can offer work experience placements for our students so if you think you could offer a placement, please contact us on 01553 761 144.


Whilst CWA can’t offer financial incentives for taking on work experience placements, there are many benefits for your business such as:

  • Offering your current staff professional development opportunities, by allowing them to mentor a student on placement
  • ‘Try before you buy’ – many employers use work experience placements as an opportunity to ‘try out’ a student before offering them employment or an apprenticeship
  • Employers we work with can be featured on our website, promoting your business and showcasing your commitment to helping future generations to the wider community

As with anything, there will be some paperwork to be completed, but we will keep it to a minimum. If you have not offered work experience before we will:

  • Undertake a workplace risk assessment to ensure our students are placed in a safe environment
  • Copy your Employers Liability Insurance (this is a mandatory requirement)
  • Talk to you about the process of work experience, talking about what our students will expect, what you can expect from them, and gaining details of what work the student will be doing on placement
  • Ask you to provide feedback on the student

Placements can last for different amounts of time, depending on the programme the student is studying and the employer; some work experience placements last a few days, whilst some are up to two weeks. Some of our study programmes are designed for the student to attend a placement for one day a week for a few months.

Students should be treated as one of your employees during the placement; however it is important to remember that some of our students are as young as 16 years old and may require reassurance and greater supervision. If any student has informed us that they have medical issues we will discuss this with you prior to the placement.


We want our students to enjoy a high quality placement that is valuable in helping them gain experience in their chosen career area, however, we appreciate there is a limit to what they may be able to do in some environments, such as construction, engineering and electrical workplaces. In such cases, students may watch and learn, rather than partaking in work.

We make sure our students have realistic expectations for their placement; we know they will often be given tasks that they think might not be relevant. Students are required to complete a log book when on placement, so that they can log the skills and experiences they have had for future use on a CV. We always remind our students that employees of all ages and abilities make tea and that this is not a reflection on them!


You can see some of the employers we work with on these maps.


Interested in offering a work experience placement?

Please contact us on 01553 761 144 we will get back to you with more information.

Our Facilities

The training factory at CWA creates the perfect ‘downtime’ location for a wide range of electrical and mechanical training tasks. Part of a multi-million pound investment in engineering technology at the College of West Anglia, King’s Lynn. The reality is a dedicated facility which includes production plant with the sole function of providing ‘real’ learning and skills training. With capability to provide hands on training and assessment for line operators, single and multi-skilled engineers, in both mechanical and electrical principles, the reality is here – availability now.

The reality of our factory:

  • ‘Downtime’ is king. Time is valuable, not expensive
  • Machine principles are understood
  • Maintenance skills are developed
  • Faults are identified, causes analysed
  • Fluid power works
  • PLCs are programmed and re-programmed
  • The robot waits for fresh instructions

A factory where the only thing missing is production pressure, such a unique place exists… and it exists for you in Norfolk.

How can we help?

Our team works with organisations and individuals throughout Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to provide flexible, affordable training in a range of skills and professions. Developing a clear understanding of your business needs is our starting point and if you already know your needs we can tailor programmes to suit your requirements.

You can contact our team on 01553 815 600, via email on or you can fill in this form.