There is a lot of information on the internet about Apprenticeships. It is a good idea to spend some time understanding how they work.
What is an Apprenticeship?
On an Apprenticeship young people study for qualifications at the same time as working. They divide their time between an employer and typically a FE college, although occasionally the Apprenticeship training is also delivered in the workplace.
Typically an employer will offer an Apprenticeship and young people apply in a similar way to a normal job. Competition is often strong so applicants will need to show determination, aptitude and commitment.
To start an Apprenticeship they must be aged 16 or over and not in full time education. There are three levels of apprenticeships starting with those designed for young people with average GCSE grades working up to those with A levels or an Advanced Diploma.
- Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2; equivalent to five good GCSE passes): This level provides the skills and qualifications needed for their chosen career and allow entry (if desired) to an Advanced Apprenticeship. To be accepted appllicants need to be enthusiastic, keen to learn and have a reasonable standard of education
- Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3; equivalent to two A-level passes): To start this programme, the applicant should have five GCSEs (at grade 4-9 or A*-C) or have completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship. This will provide the skills and qualifications needed for their career and allow entry (if desired) to a Higher Apprenticeship or degree level qualification
- Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4/5; equivalent to a Foundation Degree): To start this programme, applicants should have a Level 3 qualification (A-Levels, Advanced Diploma or International Baccalaureate) or have completed an Advanced Apprenticeship.
There are lots of benefits to doing an apprenticeship. Apprentices learn while they earn and they learn in a way that is best suited to them. As an apprentice they will:
- Earn a salary (though not usually the same as a full-time employee)
- Get paid holidays
- Are paid while attending college
- Receive training and gain qualifications
- Can potentially progress to degree level
Apprenticeship training can take between one and four years to complete, but the length of an apprenticeship depends on it’s level, the industry in question and the skills the Apprentice already has.
There is no official upper age limit but government policy means that Apprentices who start their training when they are 19 or older attract less funding to cover the training costs. In reality, this means that few Apprentices are aged over 19 and even less are over 24.
It is also harder to get an Apprenticeship if the applicant already holds a Level 4 qualification or if they have lived in the UK for less than 3 years. Although, the new Apprenticeship Levy means that Businesses are receiving more help towards the cost of funding an Apprentice at any age.
How much do Apprentices get paid?
The National Minimum Wage for an Apprentice is dependent on age. Apprentices in their first year of study or under the age of 19 are entitled to the apprentice rate:
|Age||Rate until April 2018|
|Apprentice||£3.50 per hour|
|19-20||£5.60 per hour|
|21-24||£7.05 per hour|
|25+||£7.50 per hour|
Some employers pay more than the minimum wage, but this is entirely their decision, they don’t have to.
What can I do to increase my son/daughter’s chances of getting an Apprenticeship?
- You can find your own employer to employ an Apprentice
- This could be with a family or friends business, or a local business
- Encourage them to phone, email and walk in to give in a copy of their CV to businesses to show interest. Many companies will get a lot of CVs emailed to them, so calling ahead and visiting the company will increase their chances of being successful
- Approaching companies in a professional manor creates a good first impression
If I find an employer, how can Coventry College help?
We can deliver Apprenticeships in a range of subjects, once you have found an employer come and speak to us. We can talk to the employer about what they need to do next and support them through the process of employing an Apprentice.
Finding out more
We offer an Advice shop where anyone can drop in for impartial advice on careers. If your daughter or son has a query about apprenticeships they can find out more from the GovApprenticeship webpage, ask a careers adviser who comes into their school or speak to a careers adviser from the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900. The National Careers Service also offer webchat, texts and other means of getting in touch as listed on their Contact an Adviser webpage for young people.
Important things to consider
Starting an apprenticeship can affect the families’ benefits.
- It’s counted as full time, paid employment as part of the household income
- Parents will no longer be able to claim Family Allowance if the apprentice is 19 and under
- Apprentices have to pay for their own sight tests, prescriptions and glasses although everyone under 18 still gets free dental treatment.
There is help available for apprentices on a low income, for example:
If you need any further information then please contact us here.