How do apprenticeships work?
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study.
As an apprentice you’ll:
- be an employee earning a wage and getting holiday pay
- work alongside experienced staff
- gain job-specific skills
- get time for training and study related to your role (at least 20% of your normal working hours)
When is the best time to apply for an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are advertised all year round, so its possible to apply for an apprenticeship at any time during the year. Some employment sectors can recruit at certain times of year, so speak with a local training provider for advice about the sector you’re interested in.
What age can you start an apprenticeship?
To start an apprenticeship, you need to be 16 or over. There is no upper age limit.
What qualification levels are available?
There are various levels of apprenticeship, depending on the current skills and qualifications an apprentice has.
- Intermediate apprenticeship (level 2) – Equivalent to 5 GCSE passes
- Advanced apprenticeship (level 3) – Equivalent to 2 A-level passes
- Higher apprenticeship (level 4, 5, 6 and 7) – Equivalent to a foundation degree and above
- Degree apprenticeship (6 and 7) – Equivalent to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree
How long do apprenticeships last?
Apprenticeships take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on their level.
Apprenticeships can last form one to five years depending on the type and level you are studying.
Are there entry requirements?
The entry requirements and skills needed will depend on the role you apply for and any previous experience you have.
Employers can set their own entry requirements for apprenticeships. The qualifications they ask for vary from none at all through to A levels or equivalent, depending on the career and the level of apprenticeship.
How much do apprentices get paid?
The minimum wage for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour. This rate applies to those under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year of an apprenticeship. Apprentices aged 19 or over, and those who have completed their first year, must be paid at least the minimum wage for their age. Wages will depend on the employer, the sector and level of apprenticeship and also location.
How many hours do apprentices work?
You will be expected to work for a minimum of 30 hours per week, which includes the time you spend with the training provider.
Do I get extra support on an apprenticeship?
As well as being supported by the employer in the workplace, you will have an assessor from the training provider who will support the apprentice including their training plan and qualification schedule. The assessor monitors the apprentice’s progress and visits them in the workplace.
How many different apprenticeships are there?
Apprenticeships are available in most sectors, from engineering and construction to business, sport and media. If you are unsure which sector is right for you, it is a good idea to get some advice from a careers adviser. You can contact the National Careers Service for advice. Keep an open mind and explore apprenticeships that you might not have considered, also think about what is available in your local area if you don’t want to move away.
What happens if I don’t have English and Maths GCSE?
If you don’t have any GCSEs in English and Maths you will normally need to complete functional skills qualifications as part of your apprenticeship programme.
How do I find an apprenticeship?
You can use the ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ site on gov.uk to search for live vacancies. This website is also an application site so you can search and apply all in one place. You can also contact local training providers or check their websites or contact an employer who you are interested in working with. Apprenticeships are also advertised on general job sites and websites like UCAS are useful for searching for higher and degree apprenticeships.
Someone has asked about plumbing and electrician apprenticeships, ‘are there many vacancies at the moment, where can we look’?
If you search on the ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ website, you can use your postcode to see what is available locally to you. You can use a keyword or browse by sector. You can also contact training providers who offer this apprenticeship who can offer you advice on vacancies and also contact local employers who you might want to work for to see if they could offer you an apprenticeship
How does a degree apprenticeship work?
Higher and degree apprenticeships are available at levels 4 to 7. They work in the same way as other apprenticeships in that they combine work with study. They include a work-based, academic or combined qualification or a professional qualification relevant to the industry.
Do we get half terms as the apprentice, just like students?
An apprentice is an employee and will have the same employee rights as anyone else. Apprentices will have a contract of employment and holiday pay. The apprentice will therefore decide when to take their paid leave each year in agreement with their employer, rather than having half term holidays like full time students