What is an Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are work-based learning programmes that enable the apprentice to earn a wage whilst gaining on-the-job experience and skills that lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
An Apprenticeship is made up of a group of qualifications, called a framework, devised by employers. It includes an NVQ (competency element), a qualification such as a BTEC or City and Guilds (technical element) and qualifications in functional skills. These nationally recognised qualifications will give the apprentice transferable skills and the modular style of delivery enables the apprentice to achieve milestones throughout the Apprenticeship.
What are functional skills?
Functional Skills qualifications are a new set of qualifications in English, Mathematics & Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and are assessed at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2. Good functional skills underpin all educational and training choices. They have been designed in response to employers’ perceptions that many young people and adults are not achieving a firm enough grounding in basic skills.
So what is an apprentice?
Apprentices are employees within a company; they should receive a contract of employment; be paid a wage by the company and should receive the same benefits as other employees. Apprentices receive training for a specific job and gain recognised qualifications.
Who pays what?
The Government directly funds the learning organisation delivering the training, that can be a college or learning provider. Therefore for training a 16-18 year old apprentice, there is no cost. If you are aged 19 and over, your employer would be expected to make a contribution of up to 50% of your training costs
What is the choice available?
There are currently over 250 frameworks across 1,200 job roles, ranging from Accounting to Horticulture, Engineering to Teaching and Business Administration to Manufacturing, to name but a few.
How many levels are there and how long would it take me?
Apprenticeships, no matter what level, have no set duration – this will depend upon the ability of the apprentice and what the employer requires. The learning provider will conduct an initial assessment to advise you and your employer of your starting point.
Apprenticeships are offered at three levels
Intermediate Level Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 2) and on completion this is the equivalent to five A*- C GCSEs. On average this will take 12 to 15 months to complete. Advanced Level Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 3) and on completion this is equivalent to two A-Levels. This may take up to two years to complete.
Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 and in some cases a Foundation Degree, taking between three to four years to complete, but this does vary on the sector. An Apprenticeship is a recognised route to Higher Education.
I’m not sure what job or career I want – where can I go to find more out?
There is a lot of information and advice on the different types of Apprenticeships at http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Types-of-Apprenticeships.aspx
The Next Step website also has some very useful information on job profiles that may give you a better idea on a career. Check out https://nextstep.direct.gov.uk/planningyourcareer/jobprofiles for information on your ideal career – over 759 job profiles available or you could call 0800 100 900, and there is some great advice around creating your CV.
Where will my programme of learning take place?
Most of the apprentice’s time will be in employment, as most training takes place on the job. For the rest of the time, the apprentice will study for technical and functional skills qualifications at a local college or learning provider. Sometimes your training can be delivered at the workplace but away from the pressures of the workplace. Off-the-job training can be completed on day release or over a number of days in a block. This will depend upon the type of Apprenticeship and what the employer needs.
What will I be paid?
Apprentices who are under 19 or in their first year of their Apprenticeship will be paid a minimum wage of £2.60 an hour. However many apprentices earn more, with the average Apprenticeship wage standing at £170 per week.
Aren’t Apprenticeships for a certain type of person?
Not everybody learns best in a classroom. We’ve come across hundreds of apprentices who have gone on to be incredibly successful in their chosen careers. The real life work experience they gain as an apprentice is something that future employers really value.
Is an Apprenticeship an alternative to university?
Apprenticeships offer an invaluable opportunity to gain professional qualifications and training whilst also earning a wage. Employers welcome practical skills and experience when recruiting, so doing an Apprenticeship is a way to safeguard your future and increase employability. With Apprenticeships available in over 200 different job roles, career options are almost limitless.
What are my career prospects?
As an employee, apprentices can earn as they learn, and gain practical skills in the workplace. Apprenticeships provide opportunities for young people and adults to learn new skills that enhance career prospects and improve productivity.
According to research conducted by the University of Sheffield apprentices enjoy marked salary increase of around 22% following the completion of an Advanced Level Apprenticeship compared with the Intermediate Level Apprenticeship. Those with an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship earn on average around £73,000 more over a lifetime than those with other Level 2 qualifications or below and people with an Advanced Level Apprenticeship (Level 3) around £105,000 more over a lifetime.
How do I find an Apprenticeship?
To find out more about Apprenticeships go to www.apprenticeships.org.uk
This can give you access to:
Apprenticeship vacancies online to register and search for an Apprenticeship and apply for Apprenticeships online;
Alerts – you can register to receive Apprenticeship vacancy alerts;
Information, advice and guidance on Apprenticeships;
Information on the full range of Apprenticeships currently available;
Case studies from apprentices and employers;
Information on the customer-facing National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) which offers support and help to candidates, employers and learning providers.
* You can also find out about Apprenticeships from Jobcentre Plus and if you’re employed ask your employer about training and for them to contact the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 – our advisers are here to help them.