APPRENTICESHIPS -All You Need to Know!

It’s National Apprenticeship Week!

It’s National Apprenticeship Week (3rd to 9th of Feb) and to celebrate this little-known fact we’ve put together some interesting facts about this rapidly changing form of training. Should you be doing an apprenticeship? Is it better than going to university? Read on and find out about,

  • What are apprenticeships? 
  • What different types are there?
  • How have they changed (Uni v Apprenticeships)?
  • Should you do one? 


Did you know 375,800 apprenticeships were started in 2017/18


What are Apprenticeships?

An apprenticeship is basically a job with training. Trainees are usually supported by an employer and a training provider. The latter makes sure the apprentice is covering the content appropriate to the industry while in the workplace. Apprentices usually receive some form of allowance or wage. Still, the amount will vary enormously from industry to industry and provider to provider. 

The length of training will depend on the type of apprenticeship undertaken, but they can last anything from one year onwards. Open to 16-year olds and over, apprenticeships are available in just about every occupational area you can think of – far too many to list here, but popular areas include Engineering, Construction trades, Hairdressing and Childcare to name a few.

Apprenticeships are in part now funded by a government levy which 0.5% of a company’s turn over (only applies to companies with a pay bill of over £3 Million per annum). 


Apprenticeships are now available at Degree, Postgraduate and even PhD level.


What are the main types of Apprenticeships?

There is a whole range of different types of apprenticeships out there covering lots of different levels. But for convenience, I’ve broken them down into four main types. 


main types of apprenticeship


 Intermediate Apprenticeships

Intermediate apprenticeships are ideal for those who have less than 5 GCSEs A-C or 9 to 4 grades. Progression onto further levels of training is a possibility. Successful completion of training at this level is the equivalent to NVQ Level 2.


Advanced Apprenticeships

For those with 5 GCSEs A-C grades at the start of their training or 9 to 4/A*, including English and maths. Progression can be onto further levels of training and qualifications. Successful completion of this level of training is the equivalent to two A levels.


Higher Apprenticeships

For those with good A level results, a Higher Apprenticeship may be an excellent option. Pay can be up to £25,000 per year at completion of training. Progression can include going onto full honours degree and beyond, as well as professional recognition for specific industries. An example of employers involved includes Rolls Royce, IBM, Deloitte and PwC.


The Degree Apprenticeship

This is a new level of apprenticeship introduced in March 2015. They are still relatively new, but they have been designed to be comparable to a traditional Hons degree from a conventional university. The costs of the training are met by the government and the employer. This means there is no university debt to pay back at the end of the course. Occupational sectors covered include IT, Business/Finance and Manufacturing to name a few. Companies involved include BT, Fujitsu, Ford, Glaxo and the Lloyds Banking Group while it seems that most universities now offer them at some level. 


How have they changed (Uni v Apprenticeships)?

The Intermediate and Advanced apprenticeship models have pretty much remained the same for several years. The significant changes have happened with the recent introduction of the Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and the launch of the Employer levy. 

One interesting debate has centred around the Higher and degree level training option. Basically, there is now an alternative to going to university to gain a Higher education level qualification. And it’s one that can save the student an awful lot of money, i.e. no tuition fees and therefore loans plus getting paid at the same time as they work and study. Furthermore, most employers will only take apprenticeships on if they’re pretty sure they will be a job for them once they successfully complete their studies. Unless you fail the programme you’re on, you’re almost guaranteed a role as well. 


Should you do an Apprenticeship?

That depends on you. What type of person are you? What type of career are you looking for? Unfortunately, you can’t enter into every industry or profession through apprenticeships. For example, if you want to become a doctor, you’ll still have to do the usual 5-year medical degree in most instances. 

But for many occupations, if you like the idea of working, training and earning an income at the same time, then an apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll get a minimum of 20 days holiday, but not the weeks and weeks of holidays students at college and university would get. Also, the nature of work could be different from what you’ve been used to. You will need to study while you’re working, perhaps in the evening and at weekends. However, most if not all schemes will build in some time during the working week for the apprentice to study. 

Lastly, there is also the issue of ‘how’ to get onto a higher or degree level scheme. Please don’t make the mistake of believing they’re an easy option rather than going to university. Most employers will look for similar A Level or BTEC grades for entry, perhaps even higher. Plus, one major criticism of these schemes has been that many of them have been ‘gifted’ to existing staff. In other words, firms have transferred their existing internal training programmes to the new apprenticeships instead. 


Apprenticeship Vacancies – Still Interested?

If you’re interested in finding out more about apprenticeships and where to find vacancies, then take a look at the government’s own apprenticeship vacancies list. See here for more details. For those in Scotland, you can contact Apprenticeships in Scotland. At the same time, potential apprentices in Wales can approach Careers Wales for more information.

But first, what type of career area would suit you in the first place. Without knowing this, it’ll be virtually impossible to choose the right kind of scheme for you. If you don’t have a clue what career would suit you and don’t know where to start, then Career Fancy can help. We’ll provide you with great career suggestions that are designed around you and your own unique circumstances and situation. See here how we can help. 

What career do you fancy?


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