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What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job with training which allows young people to earn while they learn, while gaining a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete and cover 1,500 job roles in a wide range of industries, from engineering to accountancy, public relations to veterinary nursing.

Apprentice applicants must be 16 or over. An apprenticeship will train your child for a job or sector, therefore they need to know that this is a job area for them.

There are apprenticeships at different levels, including up to degree level through a Higher Apprenticeship or a Degree Apprenticeship.

Levels of Apprenticeships:

  • Apprenticeship (Level 2)
  • Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3)
  • Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4 and above)
  • New Degree Apprenticeships (Level 4 to 6)

Apprenticeships include:

  • A nationally recognised vocational qualification;
  • Functional skills (e.g. literacy, numeracy and ICT);
  • A technical certificate such as a BTEC or City & Guilds (relevant to the specific apprenticeship);
  • Other professional qualifications or requirements as specified by the particular job.

Careerpilot has more information about the following:

What do apprentices earn?

The minimum wage for apprentices as from April 1st 2017 is £3.70 per hour, which is £136.90 a week, but many employers pay more than this. This is dependant on the sector, region and apprenticeship level e.g. some Higher Apprenticeships can pay as much as £300 – £500 per week.

On an apprenticeship, young people will be treated like a regular employee of the company and will get a certain amount of paid holiday per year in addition to bank holidays. Their entitlement may vary depending on their employment and training agreement, but by law they are entitled to at least 20 days.

They may also be able to take some time off for study leave in addition to their usual paid leave, but this is up to their employer and depends on the type of job they have.

Why should my son or daughter choose to do one?

There has never been a better time to consider an apprenticeship. Apprentices can ‘get in and go far’ at some of Britain’s biggest and brightest companies, gaining the skills and knowledge they need to succeed – in some cases up to degree level – while working and earning. Apprenticeships are available in 170 industries, with Higher Apprenticeships available in 40 different subjects (and counting!).

The benefits of an apprenticeship

  • Apprenticeships enable young people to start working and earning a decent wage while they learn key skills and gain the qualifications that future employers want.
  • They will get first-hand knowledge of how the industry works, plus be able to see whether or not it's really what they want to pursue as a career.
  • Apprenticeships result in increased future earning potential. Their salary increases when they complete their training and those completing a Higher Apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.
  • Proper workplace supervision and support is available to guide apprentices. If an apprentice has any questions about techniques, terminology or anything related to the industry, they can instantly ask their manager or mentor. Asking questions, taking on more responsibility and trying new things will help young people improve their skills.
  • Apprenticeships are very rewarding and offer excellent progression opportunities even if at times they may seem demanding. Once young people have finished their apprenticeship, they may be able to carry on working in the same place, or look for a similar job in a different company. Having industry experience is very important when getting the first job, so being able to show that they have got that, plus qualifications will give them a huge advantage over other applicants.

Many successful careers start with an apprenticeship. On completion, 90% of apprentices stay in employment with 71% staying with the same employer.

Alternative routes to a degree without the associated costs

With the growth of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, young people with a job or sector in mind now have a real alternative to traditional university study, with the opportunity to move their career forward, gain professional skills, status and accreditation – all while in a job and earning a salary.

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships offer an exciting new way to enter professional careers and gain valuable work experience while achieving a degree-level qualification.

Today there are 75 Higher and Degree Apprenticeships available, including foundation degrees, HNDs and full honours degrees. These cover more than 100 different job roles, ranging from legal services to banking and engineering, with many more in development.

Why should your child choose an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are for young people:

  • Who want to learn practically, in the workplace;
  • Who are keen to start working towards a career, yet want to continue gaining qualifications, sometimes to degree level;
  • Who are keen to be earning whilst learning.

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