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 I get paid as an Apprentice?

The National Minimum Wage for an Apprentice is £3.40 an hour if you are 18 or under.
If you are aged 19 or over and in your first year of an apprenticeship; the National Minimum Wage for an Apprentice is £3.40 an hour, rising to the National Minimum Age for your age after the first year.

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 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 City College Coventry 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 .Gov Apprenticeship 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: