Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes that give you the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification while working and earning.
Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of careers including many different sectors and industries. The various schemes will help you gain the right skills and experience that you need for that specific job role. Gaining an apprenticeship qualification is a good option because you get on-the-job experience.
Our guide aims to explain the basics of apprenticeships and how they could benefit you.
One of the main benefits of an apprenticeship is that you earn while you learn. Your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage, if not more. On average, apprentices earn £170 per week. In addition to your wage, you will receive at least 20 days paid holiday per year.
Employers like to employ apprentices for a number of different reasons. Firstly, apprentices are new talent that can bring new skills and are also eager to learn and this is proven to make them more motivated in the work place.
While carrying out your apprenticeship you’ll be working alongside experienced staff who will help you to gain key skills, which will also help you when you're looking to secure a permanent job after completing your qualification.
All apprentices generally work for 30 hours per week and most of that time will be training that takes place on the job. The rest of the training would usually take place at college, where you will have to attend one day per week. You will be paid a wage for this day as normal and all training is fully funded by the government.
Depending on the level of study and the career path, apprenticeships can take between 1 and 4 years to complete. They are available to people aged 16 or over, who are eligible to work in England and who are not in full-time education.
An Intermediate Apprenticeship is equivalent to five good GCSE passes which include work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 2, Key Skills and in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.
An Advance Apprenticeship is equivalent to two A-level passes which include work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 3, Key Skills and in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.
Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 and in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a foundation degree.
If you are offered an apprenticeship always check that it is a real scheme (with training and qualifications) as some employers may mis-use the term to attract interest to job with poorer pay and conditions.
Of course, apprenticeship jobs aren’t just for school-leavers. They are also suitable for people who are already in employment but wish to learn new skills or perhaps make a career change. Apprenticeship qualifications would also be ideal for those who are looking to return to work, perhaps after taking time out to be a stay-at-home parent.
Choosing a career can be a daunting task but an apprenticeship scheme could help point you in the right direction, giving you chance to learn and earn at the same time. Take a look and see if there is an apprenticeship in the area you'd like to work in. You never know where it may take you!