Hi bc. First, standard safe practice is always turn tx on first and off last. I guess you're kind of doing that because you're turning the plane on with the switch after the tx, but just remember in the future, most planes are on when the battery gets plugged in. I could see how the new Apprentice could create a bar habit.
It sounds like your esc is getting power from the battery but maybe not your rx. The esc doesn't have a light but the rx does. If the light on the rx comes on solid, it should be ok and is sensing the tx. Is the rx light on at all? If it's flashing, it could mean different things depending on the rate of flash. A fast blinking means it's in bind mode. (You removed the bind plug, right? ) I don't know if you can get a slow flash at power up off the top of my head. Have to check the rx manual for that.
If the rx light is not coming on at all, it's not getting power. Possibly a bad switch. First thing though, have you messed with any connectors recently? Make sure they are plugged in with correct polarity.
Hope something there helps. Good luck and let us know how it goes.