What are apprenticeships?
An apprenticeship allows your child to combine practical training in a job with studying. He or she will work alongside experienced staff, gain job-specific skills, earn a wage and study (usually 1 day a week) towards a relevant qualification.
Your child will work at least 30 hours a week in your chosen profession for a minimum duration of 12 months, however, apprenticeships can take up to four years to complete depending on the level, your ability and the industry sector.
Common apprenticeship areas include: agriculture; arts and media; business and administration; construction; education; engineering; health care; ICT; leisure and tourism; and retail. They cover over 170 industries and 1,500 job roles.
You can start an Apprenticeship when you are over 16 and not in full-time education. Your child will have to meet certain criteria to apply for an apprenticeship and your qualifications needed will depend on the level of apprenticeship you apply for.
All apprenticeships lead to a nationally recognised qualification approved by Ofqual and are respected by employers around the world.
The types of qualifications your child will gain and the level of apprenticeship he or she can apply for depend on the country you live in (for more information, please see the qualifications tab above), however the types of qualifications you might gain include:
- National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) at levels 2, 3, 4 or 5
- Functional Skills qualifications such as English, maths or ICT
- a technical certificate such as a BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award
- knowledge-based qualifications such as a Higher National Certificate (HNC), a Higher National Diploma (HND) or Foundation Degree
As an apprentice, your child will be entitled to the minimum wage (although he or she may be paid more) which currently stands at £2.68 per hour for those between 16-18 and those aged 19 in their first year. He or she will also be entitled to holiday pay and bank holidays.
Why Choose the Apprenticeship Route?
There has never been a better time to be an apprentice. Apprenticeships offer you a chance to learn in a real job, gain and qualification and work in an industry.
At any one time, there are up to 20,000 apprenticeships available on Apprenticeships.org.uk and they are becoming ever more popular. In the academic year of 2012-13, more than half a million apprentices began their training.
Additionally, apprentices' opportunities for career progression are increasing with the expansion of Higher Apprenticeships. Equivalent to degrees, more of these specialised and highly skilled apprenticeships are being offered each year, giving your child the chance to continue his or her professional development.
Another benefit of an apprenticeship is the ability to stay in work once you've completed it - 85% of apprentices stay in employment and two thirds remain with the same employer. Research from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills showed that a third of former apprentices had received a promotion within a year of finishing, and of those in work, three quarters reported taking on more responsibility in their jobs.
Employers view qualified apprentices as 15% more employable than those with other qualifications, and long-term research shows that the lifetime benefit of undertaking an Intermediate Apprenticeship is extra earnings of between £48,000 and £74,000, and an Advanced Apprenticeship between £77,000 and £117,000. This figure rises to £150,000+ for a Higher Apprenticeship, comparable to university graduates.
Finding an Apprenticeship
Finding an apprenticehip is similar to looking for a job, and your child will need to:
- register for apprenticeship opportunities on general job websites and those specialised in apprenticeship vacancies
- contact your local college or training provider to speak to them about their apprenticeship opportunities
- if they are recieving benefits, they can speak to your adviser at the Jobcentre plus
- visite employer's websites and looking for vacancies. If they don't have a vacancy, but they would like to work with them they could contact them directly to ask whether they have any apprenticeships lined up and whether they can keep you informed
The government's apprenticeships.org.uk also offers the opportunity to search and apply for positions in a variety of industry sectors - you can also search through an app for the iPhone and Android. It is also important to remember that apprenticeships may only be available with local firms, so your son or daughter needs to check with job websites for specific areas, such as Manchester.