There is already a lot of information on the internet about Apprenticeships. It is a good idea to spend some time understanding how these 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 you’ll need to show determination, aptitude and commitment.
To start an apprenticeship you must be 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):  provides you with the skills and qualifications for your chosen career and allow entry (if desired) to an Advanced Apprenticeship.  To be accepted you 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, you should have five GCSEs (grade A*-C) or have completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship. This will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need for your 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, you 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. You can learn while you earn and in a way that is best suited to you. As an apprentice you:

  • 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 its 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 almost none are over 24.

You’ll also find it hard to get an apprenticeship if you already hold a Level 4 qualification or if you have lived in the UK for less than 3 years

How much do  Apprentices get paid?

The National Minimum Wage for an Apprentice is dependent on your age and the hourly rates are listed below for you;

  • 16-17 –  £4.05 per hour
  • 18-20 –  £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 also find your own employer to employ you as an Apprentice
  • This could be with a family or friends business, or a local business where you would be interested in working
  • You can phone, email and walk in to give in a copy of your CV to show you are interested. Many companies will get a lot of CVs emailed to them, so calling ahead and visiting the company will increase your chances of being successful
  • This is a good way to create 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

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:

The NHS low income scheme
Apprentices NUS discount card:

Myth Busting Apprenticeships

There are a lot of misconceptions about Apprentices and we’ve produced this handy guide to help you sort out truth from fiction.

Myth: “Aren’t Apprenticeships just for young people?”
Busted: Not true! Apprenticeships are relevant for anyone over the age of 16 looking to improve their skills and progress their career.

Myth: “Apprenticeships are only for new workers.”
Busted: Not true! Apprenticeships can also be used as a tool to help existing employees to improve their skills and progress in their career.

Myth: “We haven’t got the time to run Apprenticeships!”
Busted: Not true! We can help you to define and deliver an apprenticeship plan that will fit around you.

Myth: “Apprenticeships don’t really add value to businesses.”
Busted: Not true! There’s loads of evidence about the positive impact of Apprenticeships on retention, productivity and overall business performance. 76% of employers say that using Apprenticeships make them a more productive work place. Furthermore, 75% of employers reported that Apprenticeships have improved the quality of their products and services.

Myth: “Apprenticeships are too expensive.”
Busted: Not true! We can help you to access funding to support the cost of training your apprentices.  If you’re an employer with pay roll of less than £3m then government will contribute 90% towards the costs of training. Employers who have a pay roll in excess of £3m will pay into an Apprenticeship levy which will be charged at 0.5% and collected by the inland revenue on a monthly basis which is used to pay for your training.

Myth: “Apprentices only have limited potential – otherwise they’d be at university.”
Busted: Not true! Apprenticeships are just a different way of enabling people to develop the skills they need to progress in their chosen occupation. There are currently 100 degree and higher apprenticeships available with more being developed.

Myth: “If I recruit and train an Apprentice, they’ll just leave for more money somewhere else when they’ve
finished their Apprenticeship.”
Busted: Not true! After finishing 77% of apprentices stay with their employer.

Myth: “The process of recruiting an Apprentice is too complicated.”
Busted: Not true! We’re here to help you recruit, as well as train, apprentices that will be great for your business. We’re experts in how best to engage and attract candidates to apprenticeship vacancies, not least given our students which gives us ready access to insight about what works best.