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FAQs

How do I apply?

To apply for any PROCAT course, please fill in the application by clicking here. 

After I have applied, what is the next step?

Once you have completed and submitted the application form, your details will then be passed on to the PROCAT Recruitment team. They will review your application and contact you within 14 days to discuss your options and invite you to attend an interview at the college.

What grades do I need for what courses?

Grade boundaries vary from one course to the next but as a general rule; each level of study has a basic minimum entry, unless specified.*

  • Level 1 - Requires a minimum of GCSE grades E in mathematics and English.
  • Level 2 - Requires a minimum of GCSE grades D in mathematics and English.                                             Completion of Level 1 is advantageous.
  • Level 3 - Requires a minimum of 5 x GCSE grades A*-C, including mathematics and English.                    Completion of Level 2 is advantageous.
  • Level 4 - Requires a minimum of 5 x GCSE grades A*-C, including mathematics and English as well as completion of a Level 3 course OR 3 x A*-C grade A levels in STEM related subjects.

*Minimum entry requirements vary from each faculty and each course - please refer to individual course pages for more information.

What happens if I don’t get my grades?

If you don’t quite achieve your predicted grades, or the grades that you need for your course, simply contact us as there may be other options available to you.

One of our course tutors or a member of our recruitment team can discuss your options with you.  These may include changing course, taking functional skills, or resitting any GCSEs if needed.

How do I become an apprentice?

To become an apprentice there are three main routes*:

  1. PROCAT has very good relationships with many local employers, and as apprenticeship opportunities arise, our Apprentice Advisors will seek students at the college or applicants, to take up those opportunities. Most apprentices at PROCAT are matched with employers in this way.
  2. You may already know of an employer who will take you on as an apprentice, or you may apply directly to an employer for an apprenticeship.
  3. You can view our apprenticeship vacancies page and apply online.

*In all cases entry requirements for the programme must be met.

What happens if I can’t find an apprenticeship?

If you are unable to find an apprenticeship, there are other course options available. PROCAT runs further education courses related to all trades that apprenticeships are offered in.

These courses, as well as providing a qualification, offer students the chance to develop skills in their chosen area and improve employability, with a view to helping find an apprenticeship or employment by the end of the course.

What if I start my course and change my mind?

If you are unsure about what course you want to do and think that you’ve made the wrong decision, it is possible to change courses.

Speak to the Student Support Officer at your campus and they will be able to give you all the information, advice and guidance to help you make your choice.

Please note that it is important to do this as soon as possible as the further into your course you are, the more difficult it becomes to change over.

Do I have to pay for my course?

The Government provides a full grant for further education courses and apprenticeships if you are under 19 at the start of the course. 

For students aged 19 and over starting an apprenticeship, the Government only pays a partial grant. Although students do not have to pay for their course, their employer is expected to contribute towards the cost of training. For more information about these costs, speak to one of PROCAT’s Apprentice Training Advisors.

What is the minimum wage for apprentices?

Apprentices aged 16 to 18, and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year receive a minimum of £3.40 per hour.

Apprentices aged 19 or over and who and are past their first year are entitled to the minimum wage for their age band:

  • Up to 21 years old: £5.30
  • From 21-24 years old: £6.70
  • 25 years and over : £7.20

Please see our Employer’s Guide to Apprenticeships for more information.

How does an apprenticeship work?

An apprenticeship is made up of an NVQ, Functional Skills (Maths and English) and a Technical Certificate specific to the industry. The apprenticeship aims to enhance your skills and knowledge for that sector.

NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification. The standards for NVQs are set by the Sector Skills Council for the industry. As a national qualification, it is recognised by all employers as evidence that you are competent in meeting the national standards. NVQs are achieved through assessment and training in the workplace.

An apprenticeship is a coming together of the apprentice, an employer, and the college. During the period of the apprenticeship, in addition to work experience gained with the employer, the apprentice will undertake a qualification specific to their job. Their competency at work will be assessed by an Assessor from college, who is also often their tutor, and, in some instances, there is also a requirement to continue to study English and Mathematics.

Most apprenticeships with PROCAT are day-release, meaning that students work four days per week, and are released to study at college one day per week. However, some are on a block release programme, meaning that students work every day for 5 or 6 weeks, for example, and then spend a full week or two in college after that.

Do I have to do maths and English at college?

If you haven’t achieved GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in maths and English then you must study at college to reach this level. If you achieved a D grade in maths or English and undertake a Further Education course, you must study GCSE in that subject at college with the aim of achieving a C grade at the end of your studies. For those with lower grades, you will study towards Functional Skills in maths and English.

Can you find me an apprenticeship or do I have to find my own?

PROCAT can help you find an apprenticeship. Applicants that wish to secure an apprenticeship are encouraged not just to rely on the college, but to actively seek their own apprenticeship placement. You can do this by contacting employers, to see if they would be willing to support you, or by applying for current vacancies on our website.

If you are unable to find an apprenticeship, enrolling in a Further Education course with the college will not only give you valuable qualifications, but our Apprentice Training Advisors will help to match you to a suitable company with an apprenticeship vacancy.

We also have apprenticeship vacancies available to search here on our current apprenticeship vacancies page. 

How must I be?

PROCAT has courses suitable for anyone aged 16 and upwards.

When does my course start?

Courses generally start in early/mid-September but there can be other start dates during the year.

If you have accepted a course offer with PROCAT, you will receive a letter to inform you of your course start date closer to the time. You will need to attend enrolment and induction prior to starting.

I came to the college last year, do I still need to enrol?

Yes, every time you start a new course with the college you need to enrol. You will also need to bring all the relevant documentation with you as listed in your enrolment letter.

Is there a bus a service that goes straight to the college?

Please view our locations page for a breakdown of how to get to each campus via different modes of transport.

Can I park in the college car park?

Student parking is available at all sites, although is very limited in Basildon, due to the lack of space. Students wishing to obtain a parking permit should complete the car parking form (available from Student Services) and return it with a copy of valid insurance.

What time does the college day start and finish?

Each course and faculty have different start times and finishes. This information will be provided to you on your course induction.

When are the term times?

Please view our important dates page to see a calendar showing term times.

Do you have taster days?

Yes. Any taster days and other college events will be listed here on our events page where you can register your interest.

What materials do I need to purchase for my course?

Generally, course materials are provided by the college. However, should you require any specific materials for your course, you will be informed at enrolment and induction what these are and where to get them from.

When is the next Open Evening?

Open Evening dates can be found on the events page on the PROCAT website.

I want to understand more about apprenticeships, where do I go?

All the information you need about apprenticeships can be found here. For more specific information about the apprenticeships PROCAT offers, click here.

Or you can call our customer services team on 0800 389 3589 for more information.

Is there any financial support available for college?

Financial support is available through the college for Further Education students, in certain circumstances, through a bursary. This is not available to apprentices, due to the fact they are in paid employment.

Bursaries are in place so that the college can support students who would find it difficult to attend due to the extra costs involved. As a college, we focus our support around travel costs. There are two categories of bursary; guaranteed and discretionary:

The college has a policy in place regarding bursaries, however, there is no entitlement. Each application will be assessed and allocated funds subject to meeting minimum college standards. Eligibility is based on age (under 19), residency, and household income.

To be eligible for a Discretionary Bursary, you need to have a household income below £20,187 per year (although there is discretion within this amount). Discretionary Bursaries are awarded on an individual basis. Parents/carers are required to supply evidence of all household income.

Guaranteed Bursaries are in place for those who are Looked After Children/ In the Leaving Care system / in receipt of Income Support /Universal credit in their own name.  Payment is a fixed sum.  

No other funds are available as financial support for other things i.e. living costs. There is also an allocation for a free college meal which may be allocated to those students whose families are in receipt of universal benefits. A meal allowance is allocated up to a limit of £2.41 per day but is not paid in cash.

Please visit our funding information page here for more information. 

 

Our brand new rail engineering course is one of a few still with spaces for September!: procat.ac.uk/news/new-rail-…twitter.com/i/web/status/8…