Is an Apprenticeship for me?

If you have made the decision that a university education is not for you, but are torn between entering the world of employment and continuing to learn in some capacity, then an Apprenticeship could be perfect.

Apprenticeships may still be viewed as out dated or old fashioned schemes; certainly, research conducted in 2013 by AAT, the professional body for accounting technicians, suggested misunderstandings and misconceptions. Of more than 1,000 members of a parenting website, 48% thought apprenticeships were more geared towards boys than girls, 32% believed they are for less academically able young people, and 81% of respondents were unaware that one of the qualifications available, the Higher Apprenticeship, is of university-level standard.

Put simply, an Apprenticeship is a real job with training, enabling individuals to earn while they learn and gain qualifications too, with some appealing end results. According to, 85% of people will stay in employment after finishing their Apprenticeship, with two thirds (64%) staying with the same employer. A third – 32% - of all former apprentices had received a promotion within 12 months of finishing. On top of that, employers think qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.

How do I apply for an Apprenticeship?

Anyone can apply for an apprenticeship providing they’re aged 16 years or over, are eligible to work in England, and are not in full time education. Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete depending on their level. There are three levels of Apprenticeship in England:

Intermediate is the equivalent to 5 GCSE passes
Advanced is the equivalent to 2 A level passes
Higher can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a Foundation Degree

As an Apprentice, you’ll be treated as an employee. You will work alongside experienced staff, gain job-specific skills, earn a wage, and study towards the qualification you have selected, perhaps for just one day a week. All apprenticeships should work a 30-hour week.

Individuals will be paid from the very start of their apprenticeship, and entitled to the National Minimum Wage, which is £2.68 per hour for those aged 16-18 and those aged 19 or over in their first year. Apprentices aged 19 or over who have completed their first year must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for their age. You’ll also have a holiday entitlement of at least 20 days, plus bank holidays.

What could I do?

You might be surprised. With over 150,000 employers offering Apprenticeships in more than 200,000 locations, and over 22,000 vacancies available online at any time, the options are plentiful.

The City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list is compiled annually and features businesses that were selected after displaying the highest standards of excellence in employing apprentices. Among the 100 employers were companies in the medical profession, insurance, banking and finance, technology, construction, digital media, grocery retail, motoring, even helicopter manufacturing – and more.

With opportunities in abundance, there’s no better time to seriously consider applying for an Apprenticeship. For more details, click here.

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