Apprenticeships Explained

An apprenticeship is commonly viewed as an alternative educational pathway for young people, however, apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16.

They offer a route into industry, as well as the opportunity to change career path or enhance career progression through completing apprenticeships of increasing levels.

We detail key information about apprenticeships including how they work, how much apprentices get paid, and the varying apprenticeship levels below.

Understanding apprenticeships

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What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job combined with learning and assessment, resulting in a qualification. Apprenticeships allow individuals to earn while they learn and develop practical skills in the workplace.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship? 

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for an apprenticeship.

How long do apprenticeships last? 

An apprenticeship will last a minimum of one year. As apprenticeships differ in subject and level, some apprenticeships are longer than others. When applying for an apprenticeship, the duration of the apprenticeship will be made clear.

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 do apprenticeships work?

Apprenticeships work by merging on-the-job work with off-the-job training. On-the-job work is time spent in the workplace, developing skills and knowledge. Off-the-job training is learning developed outside of working responsibilities. This training will be undertaken at the workplace, training provider, college or online.

80% of time will be spent on-the-job, and the remaining 20% off-the-job. For an apprentice working 5 days a week, this equates to 1 day off-the-job training a week. It should be noted that this doesn’t mean you will always be away from the workplace for the full day, it may be spread over a week, or as block with the training provider depending on the type of apprenticeship.

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

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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