How Long Does it Take?
There’s no set time to complete an Apprenticeship as they vary widely in content and size but all apprenticeships must be at least 12 months long
Different types of apprenticeships take different amounts of time to complete, depending on the level, industry sector and employer. Typically, an apprenticeship takes between one and five years to complete.
There are lots of benefits to doing an Apprenticeship, but here are the big ones:
From 1 October 2016 The National Minimum Wage is £3.40 per hour for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age (£5.55 per hour for those aged 18 to 20; £6.95 for those aged 21 to 24; and £7.20 for those aged 25 and over). Many employers will pay you more as you develop your skills – the average apprentice takes home around £170 per week.
Research shows that apprentices earn, on average, around £77,000 more over their lifetime than other employees, and this figure rises to £117,000 for those who have completed an Advanced Level apprenticeship – you’ll also be more employable than those who leave education without these qualifications.
You’ll get at least 20 days of paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.
From April 2017 the minimum wage for apprentices will rise to £3.50 per hour.
While you’re on an apprenticeship, your employer pays you a salary and supports you in your training. You must be paid for your normal working hours (minimum 30 per week) and for the training that’s part of your apprenticeship.
Financial help is available and you won’t have to pay any fees. If you’re between 16 and 18, the Government will pay the full cost of your training (if you’re over 19, your employer may be expected to contribute to your training costs). The funding you’re eligible to receive depends entirely on your circumstances, your employer and the type of apprenticeship. Don’t worry – your employer will work with you to try and support your individual requirements.
If you are aged over 24 and starting an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship, you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your training and this could be done through an Advanced Learner Loan. You may also be eligible for money from the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund if you need help with some costs while studying, eg childcare, travel or trips related to your course.
For further details visit www.gov.uk/advanced-learning-loans/overview.
As an apprentice you will receive the same benefits as other employees in the company – this may include pension contributions and subsidised canteen and leisure facilities. You may also be entitled to additional money for essential books, clothing or equipment, or to help you with a disability. You’ll get paid holidays too.
On many apprenticeships you’ll gain nationally recognised qualifications that will be valid for any employer. That means you can change jobs and take your skills and qualifications with you.
Most apprenticeships include the following elements:
• A competencies qualification, which you’ll need to achieve to qualify for your apprenticeship certificate. This qualification shows that you are competent in performing the skill, trade or occupation your apprenticeship requires.
• A technical knowledge qualification to show you have the necessary technical skills, knowledge and understanding of theoretical concepts as well as knowledge and understanding of the relevant industry and its market.
• Either Key Skills (e.g. team-working, problem-solving, communication and using new technology) or Functional Skills to help you achieve a good standard of literacy and numeracy.
There are four levels of apprenticeship:
• Intermediate-level apprenticeship (Level 2)
Working towards work-based qualifications such as a Level 2, competence qualification, as well as Functional skills and in most cases a relevant knowledge-based qualification. The qualifications you receive are equivalent to five GCSEs at grades A–C.
• Advanced-level apprenticeship (Level 3)
You can expect to gain a work-based qualification such as a Level 3 competence qualification, as well as Functional skills and (in most cases) a relevant knowledge-based qualification. These qualifications are equivalent to two A-levels.
• Higher Apprenticeship (Levels 4 to 7)
You’ll work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 competence qualification and perhaps a learning-based qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.
• Degree Apprenticeship (Levels 6 and 7)
You can even achieve a degree-level qualification through an apprenticeship. Degree Apprenticeships are helping to build the high-level technical skills needed for the jobs of the future.
The Government is committed to expanding the number, range and quality of apprenticeships that offer training to degree level. All apprenticeships that are available at Higher and Degree level are flagged throughout the Guide.
With an Apprenticeship under your belt, employers will know that you’ve got the skills and training needed to do the job and they’ll be more likely to hire you. Taking an Apprenticeship doesn’t restrict you to one specific job role. During your training you’ll pick up a number of skills that will make you more attractive to other employers, from basic skills like teamwork and health and safety awareness, to more specialised capabilities that will help you progress through the industry.
What Can I do Next?
When you complete an apprenticeship, you’ll be able to prove to any employer that you have the required skills, qualifications and dedication to do the job.
There’s also the opportunity to progress on to further education, either part-time or full-time, with your employer’s help and support.
An apprenticeship will give you an edge in the job market, as well as a great sense of personal satisfaction.
An apprenticeship will increase your chances of gaining a good rate of pay and being promoted. According to a BIS report, one-third (32%) of all apprentices receive a promotion within a year of finishing their apprenticeship. And three-quarters (75%) of those in work report taking on more responsibility in their job.
In the long term, you could also proceed to higher education – there are many apprentices who go on to complete degrees.
There are no set entry requirements for apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over 16 living in England, and not currently in full-time education.
Entry requirements are flexible because Apprenticeships are not just based on academic achievement. Employers value your enthusiasm for work and desire to learn, so your practical skills and interest in your chosen area are very important.
HOW TO GET ONTO A SCHEME
In order to apply you need to be:
- Able to show that you’ve fully researched the area of work you want to do, and you’re the right person for the job
- Aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you
- Prepared for further study
- Realistic about the amount of work you may have to do
- Happy to work both as part of a team and an individual
- Able to use your own initiative
Apprenticeships can be demanding, but very rewarding. It’s not just a question of seeing what’s out there and then selecting your career path. It helps if you’re focused enough to know what you want to do before you apply.
General Questions About Becoming an Apprentice
Am I eligible for an apprenticeship?
If you’re over 16, living in England and not in full-time education then you’re eligible to become an apprentice. Employers will have different requirements.
How much do apprentices earn?
From 2017 all employed apprentices must receive a wage of no less than £3.50 per hour. However, recent research found that apprentices earn an average of £170 per week.
How long does an apprenticeship last?
Your apprenticeship will last as long as it takes for you to learn how to do the job. This varies by sector – generally, apprenticeships last between one and five years.
Does it cost anything to do an apprenticeship?
No. On an apprenticeship, you’ll be the one earning a salary while doing your training. Getting paid to learn – that’s one of the best reasons to do an apprenticeship.
Can I do an apprenticeship if I’ve already got a job?
Yes, you can become an apprentice where you work now. Ask your employer to visit www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice for more information.
When can I start?
You can apply for an apprenticeship at any time of year – it all depends on when the employer has a vacancy.
Will I get holidays?
Yes. Just like most other employees, you’ll get at least 20 days of paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.