Deciding which route to take to start your dream career can be tricky. With an apprenticeship, not only will you be earning a wage, but you can work towards a qualification without tuition fees; and you will be gaining valuable work experience. With National Apprenticeship Week taking place this week, we decided to look into the benefits of doing an apprenticeship.
What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships combine on-the-job practical training for a minimum of 30 hours a week with study towards a relevant work-based nationally recognised qualification (usually one day a week but this can vary depending on the employer i.e. it could be in block release). Study takes place at a college (or university or other training provider) or even sometimes in the workplace or online. Assessment generally involves a combination of assignments, practical exercises and exams.
The benefits of doing an apprenticeship
- You’ll get free training, paid for by your employer and the Government.
- You’ll be earning while you’re learning.
- You can choose from a range of apprentice jobs from a huge variety of industries and organisations.
- If you’re looking for a career change, an apprenticeship is a great way to re-train.
- You’ll develop new skills and gain valuable hands-on experience in your chosen occupation.
Who can do an apprenticeship?
You may be under the impression that you can only do an apprenticeship instead of A-levels (or equivalent), but you can still do an apprenticeship afterwards! In fact, this means you can potentially be accepted straight onto a higher level apprenticeship (depending on the industry).
As long as you’re aged 16 or over, spend at least 50% of your working hours in England and aren’t in full-time education then you can apply for an apprenticeship.
If you’re aged 16 to 18, the minimum wage you will earn is £3.90 an hour. If you’re 19 or over and have completed your first year then your are entitled to the national minimum wage according to your age.
How long does an apprenticeship take to complete?
Depending on which industry and level you choose and your previous experience, an apprenticeship can take between one and six years to complete. The levels are:
Intermediate (Level 2)
Equivalent to five GCSE passes (grades A* to C).
Advanced (Level 3)
Equivalent to two A-level passes.
Higher (Levels 4 to 7)
Equivalent to a foundation degree and above (levels 6 and 7 are also considered to be degree apprenticeships as they equate to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree). This is why apprenticeships are increasingly becoming a viable alternative to university — particularly as you will have no fees as the training is funded by the government and employer!
What is National Apprenticeship Week?
Now in its 13th year, National Apprenticeship Week is a scheme coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service to celebrate the benefits apprenticeships have for young people, employers and the economy.
From the 3rd to the 9th February, there will be a number of events to get involved with in the apprentice community. The theme for 2020 is ‘Look Beyond’ to raise awareness of the variety of career opportunities that are available through apprenticeships and the value they bring to the country and to challenge outdated stereotypes surrounding apprenticeships.