An Apprenticeship is a real job with training so an apprentice can earn while they learn and pick up recognised qualifications as they go. Anyone that lives in England, are over 16 and not in full time education can apply for apprenticeship. They take between one and four years to complete depending on the level, and cover 1,500 job roles in a wide range of industries, from things like Information Technology to Childcare, Business Management to Health and Social Care. As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications and Apprenticeship Standards.
For the national minimum wage rates click here; however, many apprentices earn significantly more.
Key benefits of being an apprentice
Who are they for?
Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged 16 and above, whether you are just leaving school, seeking to start a new career or are moving into a new role with your existing employer that requires new skills.
There may be different entry requirements depending on the apprenticeship and the industry sector. However, competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you. You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.
Apprenticeships are designed with the help of employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that enables apprentices to gain the skills required to succeed in their career. Frequent targets and reviews ensure that they receive the support they need and make steady progress.
Employment will normally be for a minimum 30 hours per week but can be more or less. In circumstances where there is a recognised reason why the apprenticeship needs to be for fewer hours, this will be allowed as long as it does not fall below a minimum of 16 hours per week. When this occurs the length of the apprenticeship will then be extended in order to allow sufficient time for the apprentice to gain the required experience and skills.
An apprenticeship is a job with a formal programme of training. As set out in ‘English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision’, and since underpinned in legislation, off-the-job training is one of the essential components of a quality apprenticeship.
To attract government funding a 20% minimum threshold has been set. This is the minimum amount of time that should be spent on occupational off-the-job training during an apprenticeship. This applies to both apprenticeship frameworks and to apprenticeship standards at all levels.
All apprenticeship standards have been developed under the guidance that they must require at least one year of full time employment, with off-the-job training accounting for at least 20% of the apprentice’s normal working hours over this period. By normal working hours we mean paid hours excluding overtime. This direction helps trailblazer groups, who design the new standards, to predict a typical duration for someone who requires the full content of the apprenticeship.
On-the-job training is training that an apprentice receives in order to be able to do the job that they are employed for. It doesn't apply to the knowledge and skills that you learn outside of the apprenticeship. An example of on-the-job training would be performing different tasks at work and learning from them.
As an employee you will be in your place of employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The structured learning will be organised in agreement between you and your Training Provider. So all the things you study will be useful in your job and help you succeed in your future career.
Earn while you learn
If you are entering work for the first time, you will start earning from day one of your apprenticeship.
There is no set rate of pay for apprentices, however all employed apprentices must receive the apprenticeship minimum wage, which can be found on the Government website by clicking here. However, the average wage per week for an apprentice is now around £340 and in some job roles significantly more.
Finally, research shows that apprentices earn, on average, over £117,000 more throughout their lifetime than other employees.