What is an Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain a qualification through work-based learning for those who think they know what career or industry they would like to work in. Apprenticeships can transform the way employers do business and enhance the experience people have as they enter the world of work. Apprenticeships include an industry relevant professional qualification and take between one and four years to complete through a combination of work-based assessment visits, workshops, reviews and classroom type lessons. Mixing the classroom teaching with vocational experience will give you a good start to your working life. The ultimate goal for the apprentices is to progress into a permanent contract, higher level Apprenticeship or University level qualification.
What are the advantages of this career path?
One of the biggest attractions of an apprenticeship is to ‘earn while you learn’. Apprenticeships have previously been under scrutiny for low pay, but it is worth keeping in mind not to compare apprenticeship wages with those of skilled workers. Consider an apprenticeship somewhere between an academic course and full-time work – rather than taking a loan out to study for a degree, you will have no debt if you go through the apprenticeship route and are being paid to learn new skills. So you’ll earn a salary in a real job while studying towards a relevant qualification. If you’re 16 or over, you can apply for an apprenticeship. You might spend 3-4 days per week on the job and the other 1-2 days studying or you might work for a few weeks at a time then have a few weeks of studying. You could be assigned time to complete learning online. You would work for at least 30 hours per week, but your hours would be determined by your employer. Most employers ask for at least GCSE grade 9-4 in English and maths GCSE (or an equivalent Level 2).
The minimum wage for apprentices is set to £3.70 per hour. However, there are opportunities in a range of sectors that pay as much as £300 a week – and employers pay more if it means attracting the right student. Apprentices will also gain a pay increase as they progress through the apprenticeship levels and widen their skillset. Levels are divided into Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3), Higher (Level 4-7) and Degree (Level 6-7). You should get a minimum of 20 days paid holiday per year.
If you don’t have the entry qualifications for an apprenticeship, you could re-sit your exams or apply for a traineeship. A traineeship is an educational training programme that includes a work experience placement to help you prepare for an apprenticeship or work. Traineeships – can last up to 6 months and provide you with literacy numeracy support as well as the chance to gain work experience. If you feel you are not ready for an apprenticeship it can provide confidence and employability skills to move forward. For more information visit; www.gov.uk/find-traineeship
Taking an apprenticeship will inspire, teach and train you to play your part in the skilled workforce that will carry the economy into the 21st Century. There are many personal awards to gain too. At a time when there is intense competition for places, an apprenticeship will help you to get a foot in the door of the all-important first rung of the career ladder. An apprenticeship can offer you amazing opportunities to shine in a job you enjoy.
You can search for vacancies online using:
- Search for apprenticeship vacancies, you can register and apply on www.apprenticeships.gov.uk you can also create an account and monitor your application.
- Get the Indeed App – www.Indeed.co.uk – search indeed for apprenticeship vacancies whilst you’re on the go.
- Higher and Degree Apprenticeships – check www.ucas.com as well as www.apprenticeships.gov.uk and university websites.
- Visit www.getmyfirstjob.co.uk to gain access to vacancies, sign-up for FREE information and resources.
- Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a job, you really need to sell yourself, your skills abilities and personal attributes that make you the perfect candidate.
- You will also need a back-up plan just in case you are not successful, consider a college course as an alternative route to your career goal.
- Keep applying and never give up, be positive and motivated!
- See a Careers Adviser or Training Provider for support if required.
By Sarfraz Ahmed