How do I apply?

To apply for any PROCAT course, please fill in the application by clicking the apply now button in the top left corner of the page. This will take you through to the South Essex College website where you will be able to apply.

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 Recuitment 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 3 or E in mathematics and English.
  • Level 2 - Requires a minimum of GCSE grades 3/4 or D in mathematics and English.                Completion of Level 1 is advantageous.
  • Level 3 - Requires a minimum of GCSE grades 4/5 or C in 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.

It is important that you have the skills to be successful. You may be able to show that you have the appropriate skill levels in other ways.

One of our course tutors or a member of our recruitment team can discuss your options with you, these may include changing course or even taking functional skills and resitting any GCSE's 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. The majority of 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 take a look at 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 course.

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. So if you are under 19 you do not have to pay anything towards the cost of training.

For students aged 19 and over starting an apprenticeship the Government only pays a partial grant and although students do not have to pay for their course, it is expected that their employer make a contribution 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 £3.70 per hour. This will rise to £3.90 in April 2019.

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

  • Up to 21 years old: £5.80
  • From 21-24 years old: £7.38
  • 25 years and over : £7.83

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 aimed to enhance your skills and knowledge for that sector.

Historically Apprenticeships have been made up of frameworks, developed by sector skills councils to meet business needs. A framework covered a host of qualifications, skills and competencies which could then be applied to a variety of job roles within a specific sector/occupation. Apprentices have been internally assessed by their training provider on an ongoing basis throughout their apprenticeship and dependent upon the framework, there may have been some additional end testing involved.

Under the reform frameworks will be replaced by “standards”. This comprises of a two page document detailing the generic skills, competencies, behaviours and attitudes required by an individual to carry out a job role supported by a more detailed assessment plan as to how these will be achieved. The requirements of the standard may or may not be qualification-based but the standard itself and the achievement of the standard will be independently assessed at the end of the programme.

The standards are being written by employer groups, made up of large employers through to SMEs, in order to get a cohesive standard that meets sector needs.

An apprenticeship is a partnership 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 cases 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 will have to study at college to reach this level. If you achieved a D grade in maths or English and undertake a Further Education course, you will have to 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 to 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 by contacting employers to see if they would be willing to support them 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 also 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 old do I have to be?

PROCAT has courses suitable for anyone aged 16 upwards.

When does my course start?

Courses generally start 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 close 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 locations for a breakdown of how to get to each campus by different modes of transport.

Can I park in the college car park?

Student parking is available at all sites though it 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.

Bursary is in place so that the college is able to support students, from their allocated funds, who would find it difficult to come to college because of the extra costs involved. As a college we focus our support around travel costs. There are two categories guaranteed and discretionary:

The college has a policy in place with regard to Bursary 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 £30,000 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.