Apprenticeships

Please note:

Applications are now closed. Our next application round will be open 12 July - 16 August 2021.

All applications must be submitted online using our online application form. Before you apply, please read our Apprenticeship Application Guidance below and if you are unsure about applying or have any questions please contact us.

APPRENTICESHIP APPLICATION GUIDANCE

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) offers apprenticeship funding of up to £12,000 for the training and education of aspiring craftspeople. We provide these opportunities to sustain vital skills in traditional and contemporary crafts and contribute to excellence in the British craft industry.

We welcome applications from all talented craftspeople, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or nationality; and particularly encourage those with protected characteristics that are under-represented in the craft sector to apply.

 

ABOUT THE APPRENTICESHIP

Who can apply?

Applications for a QEST Apprenticeship are a joint application from an organisation/master and an individual – the apprentice.

  • QEST’s focus is on developing the skills of the apprentice. However, the Apprenticeship must be to the benefit of both the apprentice and the organisation to whom they are apprenticed; that is, employing an apprentice will enable that business to flourish and grow
  • The apprentice must be aged 18 or older, (with no upper age limit); and living and working permanently in the UK;
  • They must already have:
    - a certain level of skill – a potential for excellence – i.e. already practicing and not a total novice
    - a long-term commitment to their craft where they might stay with the organisation that they are apprenticed to; and/or have an aspiration to set up on their own - eventually i.e. to contribute to the British craft sector
    - already been employed (or working with) the master/company for a minimum of six months, ideally one year.
  • QEST Apprenticeship funding is focused on supporting sole-traders and micro-businesses (according to the definition by Companies House: turning over less than £632,000, has £316,000 or less on its balance sheet, and has less than 10 employees).
  • There must be a demonstration of genuine financial need from the employer; that is without QEST funding they would not be able to take on an apprentice;  and also that they are not able to access funds from any other scheme, including the government scheme.

What we fund?

We offer funding of up to £12,000, for a maximum of a three-year apprenticeship. This should contribute towards the apprentice’s salary (at least minimum wage).

We want to support excellence in British craftsmanship, so we are looking for people planning to become an established craftsperson and stay in the UK to contribute to the British craft sector.

We encourage applications from a broad range of crafts and are excited by contemporary craftsmanship and innovative applications of traditional craft techniques. To see the types of craft we have funded, please look at the Directory page of our website.

QEST cannot fund:

  • Repeat applications from organisations, i.e. when QEST has previously supported an apprentice within that organisation
  • Anything that is not related to craft
  • Business start-up/support costs
  • Loss of income

WRITING YOUR APPLICATION

Our application process is competitive and we cannot fund every application we receive. With this in mind, here are some tips.

As a general rule, try to be as clear and concise as possible:

The application form has 3 parts:

  • For the apprentice to complete: Apprenticeship Summary, About the Apprentice, Apprenticeship Future Plans, Career History, Equal Opportunities
  • For the employer to complete: About The Employer, Training Plan, Declaration
  • For both apprentice and employer to complete: Images and References,

The headings below will give you advice on how to answer key sections of the application form.

Section 1: The Apprentice’s answers

Apprenticeship Summary

Briefly state the overall purpose of the apprenticeship, what skills the apprentice will learn and how you and the employer/master will work together.

This question is your first opportunity to let us know what your apprenticeship will entail. Think of it as an outline for your application. You should clearly explain what you would like to learn during your apprenticeship, in no more than one paragraph.

Apprenticeship Future Plans

Describe how your apprenticeship will positively contribute to the UK Craft Sector (2,000 characters max)

We would like to know how your apprenticeship will enable you to contribute to the UK craft sector. This question gives you a chance to display any knowledge you have about your chosen craft field. Think about gaps in the market or an area of your craft that is currently overlooked. Try to explain how this apprenticeship will help you to fill these gaps.

What do you hope to gain from the apprenticeship (such as skills, work experience etc)? (2,000 characters max)

Let us know what your short – medium term goals are. More specifically: what do you want to achieve during the apprenticeship and what would you like to do once you have completed the Apprenticeship. You are more than welcome to use a list or bullet points.

What are your long term career plans? (2,000 characters max)

Tell us about your long term goals; they should be clear and realistic. Explain why you would like to complete this apprenticeship and how your career will develop as a result of your training.

Qualifications

Will request your relevant qualifications.

Career History

Asks you to list previous employment, you should only include past work experience you consider relevant. You may also want to include volunteer work, awards, commissions or residencies.

Section 2: The Employer’s answers

About The Employer

Company’s Financial Details

The company must be able to demonstrate a sound, viable business and the ability, therefore, to support an apprentice over the period of the Apprenticeship; and not rely solely on QEST funding.

Explain why you would like to hire an apprentice and why you need QEST funding in order to do so.

Employer Summary of Apprentice

Tell us about your working relationship and your shared and individual goals. Let us know why this applicant would be a great fit for this apprenticeship.

Training Plan

Discuss and set clear and realistic training goals. These should be similar to what the apprentice has written in answer to the question: What do you hope to gain from the apprenticeship?

  • There must be a detailed training plan for the entirety of the Apprenticeship; you must be able to demonstrate appropriate assessment, and recording (evidence) of the progress of the apprentice. You will be required to report regularly (minimum of every six months) to QEST in order for funds to be paid.

Section 3: The Apprentice and Employer’s answers

 Images and Reference

This section gives you both an opportunity to show off your existing skills. We want to see images of the employer and the apprentice’s work.

The apprentice will be asked to upload 1 image of themselves and 5 images of their work so far. This can be completed work or current projects, which demonstrate their progress throughout their training. Make sure the images attached are high-quality and highlight the full range of the apprentice’s skillset.

You will also be asked to include a pdf copy of the company’s most recent accounts, to demonstrate the company is solvent.

HOW WE ASSESS YOUR APPLICATION

All applications are reviewed by a group of experienced Skills Assessors who work in specific craft sectors. All applications go through a three-stage process, culminating with a short-list for interview.

When we assess your application, we will consider:

  • Existing skills and understanding of the craft. (The apprentice should already have a certain level of skill with a potential for excellence);
  • Commitment to the Apprenticeship. (We are looking for a strong working relationship between the apprentice and the company/master; with a long-term commitment to their chosen craft);
  • Training Plan. (There must be a detailed training plan for the entirety of the Apprenticeship, with clear milestones and outputs; and assessment criteria);
  • Finances. (The employer must have a sound, viable business and be able to demonstrate a genuine financial need for requesting funds from QEST).

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU APPLY?

We will be in touch approximately two months after applications close to let you know the outcome of your submission. If positive, you will be invited for an interview at the QEST office in London.

You will be notified as to whether your application has been successful within two weeks of your interview.

Your future with QEST

Successful applicants and their employers will be invited to the QEST & RWHA Annual Luncheon in early June to showcase their craft, meet fellow QEST Scholars and Apprentices, network with QEST donors and supporters and celebrate becoming a QEST Apprentice.

Now part of the QEST family, you will continue to receive occasional news updates and invitations from QEST to participate in events and projects, which may include: scholar socials, opportunities to showcase/demonstrate/exhibit, business skills workshops and networking events with QEST supporters & Royal Warrant holding companies.

You will be featured on our website and in our magazine as an alumni of QEST, and are encouraged to continue to share your news with QEST for possible inclusion in future magazines and on our social media platforms.

For more information, browse the Stories section of our website.

NEXT STEPS

We are open for applications twice a year, in January and July.

Please note:

  • For applications made in January/February, successful applicants will be informed of the award in May. For applications made in July/August, successful applicants will be informed of the award in November.
  • If your application is unsuccessful and you did not reach interview, you may reapply in the next round.
  • If you reach the interview stage and are unsuccessful, we ask that you wait a year from the date of your application to reapply.

If you are still unsure about applying or have any questions, please contact us. The QEST team are more than happy to answer queries and support any access needs you may have.