Understanding Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is often seen as an alternative to Sixth Form, College and Higher Education, however apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16.

They are a viable way to step into a career, change career path or enhance career progression through completing apprenticeships of increasing levels as you develop.

Below we detail key information about apprenticeships, including how they work, how much apprentices get paid and the different apprenticeship levels.

Understanding Apprenticeships

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What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a genuine job combined with learning and assessment, that results in a qualification. It is a way for individuals to earn while they learn and develop practical skills in the workplace.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship? 

It is a misconception that apprenticeships are only available to young people. In fact, apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16.

How long do apprenticeships last? 

The duration of an apprenticeship depends on the type of apprenticeship. Apprenticeships vary in subject and level, which dictate apprenticeship length. However, all apprenticeships will last a minimum of one year.

How much do apprentices get paid?

Apprentices aged under 19, or over 19 and on the first year on apprenticeship are paid the minimum apprenticeship wage of £4.30 an hour. This is increasing to £4.81 in April 2022. Further information can be found here.

Apprentices over 19 and not in the first year of their apprenticeship will receive the national minimum wage for their age.

These are the minimum rates an apprentice will receive, and many employers choose to pay more.

How does an apprenticeship work?

An apprenticeship works by merging on-the-job work with off-the-job training. On-the-job work is time spent developing skills and knowledge in the workplace. Off-the-job training is learning carried out outside of any working responsibilities. This training will take place at the workplace, training provider, college or online.

80% of time will be spent completing on-the-job work, and the remaining 20% on off-the-job training. For an apprentice working 5 days a week, this equates to 1 day of off-the-job training a week but doesn’t always mean you will be away from the workplace for a full day, it maybe spread over a week, as block with the training provider, its dependent upon the apprenticeship you are undertaking.

The combination allows apprentices to gain practical skills and knowledge, directly relevant to their job role, benefitting both themselves and the employer.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

It is a misconception that apprenticeships are only available to young people. In fact, apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16.

How long do apprenticeships last?

The duration of an apprenticeship depends on the type of apprenticeship. Apprenticeships vary in subject and level, which dictate apprenticeship length. However, all apprenticeships will last a minimum of one year.

How much do apprentices get paid?

Apprentices aged under 19, or over 19 and on the first year on apprenticeship are paid the minimum apprenticeship wage of £4.30 an hour. This is increasing to £4.81 in April 2022.

Apprentices over 19 and not in the first year of their apprenticeship will receive the national minimum wage for their age.

These are the minimum rates an apprentice will receive, and many employers choose to pay more.

Apprenticeship Levels

Apprenticeships are available at different levels to suit different needs. They have relevant entry requirements and equivalent educational values. The table below illustrates the Apprenticeship Levels:

  Equivalent Qualification   Entry Requirements Typical Length
Level 2 Apprenticeships (Intermediate)   5 GCSE's at 4 and above None or few 12 – 18 months
Level 3 Apprenticeships (Advanced)   2 A-levels at a Pass Typically, 5 GCSE’s or an appropriate Level 2 apprenticeship 12-24 months
Level 4-7 Apprenticeships (Higher)   Foundation degree and above A-levels or equivalent 3-5 years
Level 6-7 Apprenticeships (Degree)   Bachelors or Masters Degree At least 2 A-levels or equivalent 3-7 years

Finding Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship opportunities can also be found at the following websites:

GOV.UK Find an Apprenticeship Service

Midlands Opportunities

Apprentices that have been made redundant

Apprentices that have been made redundant should contact their training provider. Training providers will help apprentices find employers and continue with apprenticeships and end-point assessments. The Education and Skills Funding Agency will fund training for at least 12 weeks to allow apprentices to find a new employer.

Apprentices can continue their apprenticeship regardless of whether they find a new employer if:

  • They have less than 6 months training remaining, or
  • They have completed 75% or more of their training

To learn more, click here

Applying for Apprenticeships

Applying for an apprenticeship is simple. The majority of apprenticeship applications will go through the GOV.UK Find an Apprenticeship Service or Midlands Opportunities. To apply for a position, you will first need to create an account. Once created, the account will be used to apply for vacancies and monitor application progress.

To apply for apprenticeships, candidates will need to create a CV and cover letter, illustrating skills and passion for the role.

 

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