Apprenticeships are a popular choice in the UK. In 2019/2020, there were 719,000 apprentices in England. But it’s not always easy deciding if an apprenticeship is right for you. You need to think ahead and decide what you want to do in life. And what’s the best route to get you there? Should you go to university instead? Can you get the job you want without a degree? This is no easy task. And the answer will be completely unique to each individual.
In today’s blog, we’re talking everything apprenticeship. Let’s jump right in!
What are apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships are set periods of time where you enroll onto a course of study. But unlike regular study, you also work in the field at the same time. This allows you to earn while you learn. And you gain hands-on experience, developing your skills. Most apprenticeships last 12 months or more. But they can last up to four years depending on your area of study.
There are 4 different levels of apprenticeships: intermediate, advanced, higher and degree level.
Intermediate level (Level 2)
Intermediate apprenticeships are equal to 5 GCSEs grades A to C. The qualification could be an NVQ level 2 or a BTEC. Once completed, you can move onto the advanced level.
Advanced (Level 3)
If you already have 5 GCSEs grades A-C, you can jump straight into the advanced level. You’ll receive an NVQ level 3 or a BTEC qualification. Once completed, you’ll have the equivalent of 2 A levels.
Higher (Levels 4 and 5)
Higher apprenticeships take your skills even further. Once completed, you’ll receive either an NVQ level 4 , a foundation degree, a diploma or a HNC.
Degree (Levels 6 and 7)
There are jobs that require you to have a degree or equal. Degree level apprenticeships combine university study with work. This allows you to gain hands-on experience while learning. The government or your employer pays for the cost.
Who can do an apprenticeship?
Anybody can enroll onto an apprenticeship so long as you’re not in full-time study. There’s no age limit. In 2019, 47% of new apprentices were age 24 or over. The only requirement is that you’re at least 16 years old. If you’re aged between 16-18, the government will fund your apprenticeship. If you’re over 18, you may need to pay for part (or all) of your apprenticeship. But it’s also possible to find an employer who will fund part (or all) of your qualification.
Types of apprenticeships
People tend to think apprenticeships are just for blue collar work. But these days, there’s an apprenticeship for pretty much anything!
- Agriculture, horticulture and animal care
- Arts, media and publishing
- Business, administration and law
- Construction, planning and the built environment
- Education and training
- Engineering and manufacturing technologies
- Hair and beauty
- Health, public services and care
- Information and communication technology
- Leisure, travel and tourism
- Retail and commercial enterprise
- Science and mathematics
- Transport and logistics
How much do you earn?
The apprenticeship wage varies depending on your age. You’ll be entitled to a minimum wage, but many employers pay above the minimum.
If you’re aged 16-18, the national minimum wage for apprentices is currently £4.81 per hour.
If you’re aged 19 or over and in your first year of apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the national minimum wage for apprentices of £4.81 per hour.
If you’re aged 19 or over and in your second year of apprenticeship, you’re entitled to full national minimum wage.
Think the wage sounds low? Just remember, many employers choose to pay above the minimum wage!
Ready to earn while you learn?
Apprenticeships are a great alternative for many reasons. If you don’t want to pay the cost of university tuition fees, an apprenticeship could be a great route. And hey, heavy study isn’t for everyone. If you learn best through doing, apprenticeships are a fantastic route! One of the best places to find apprenticeships is on the government website.