In 2016/17, 92% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved as a result to completing an apprenticeship. There's plenty of confusion around apprenticeships, particularly on who they are for? What qualifications they give you? What careers an apprenticeship can lead to? This blog should clear up some confusion, and as a result many of you may consider not Just Learning… But Earning too!
What is an apprenticeship?
In an apprenticeship programme you get the best of both worlds and come out the other side work-ready and qualified. Apprenticeships allow you to combine work and study by mixing on-the-job training with classroom learning. Through employment the apprentice experiences a job while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week either at a college or a training centre.
As a result, an apprentice would have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in their chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level. Apprentices in every role follow an approved study programme, which means they'll gain a nationally-recognised qualification at the end of the apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship V University – SUCCESS STORIES
Louisa Troughtons story - Despite graduating with a first-class degree, Louisa Troughton, 30, from London, drifted between temping jobs before landing a costume apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House.
“Having a degree doesn’t guarantee you a good job, as I found out when I graduated with a first in bookbinding from the London College of Printing ten years ago. I did find it hard to acquire work in my chosen field – very few publishing companies use old-fashioned binding techniques. For the next nine years I drifted between temping positions. I felt disappointed that years of study hadn’t equipped me better.
I’ve always loved dressmaking. At college in 2011, I saw a poster for a costume apprenticeship at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, run with the college (you leave with a level-three apprenticeship in costume and tailoring). Going back to uni to do a costume degree wasn’t an option because I would have needed a loan, whereas here I’m paid to learn (£6.47 an hour for a 40-hour week), and my college fees at Newham, where I study two days a week, are also covered by the scheme.
On my first day I expected to be pressing clothes - I was asked to make a waistcoat. When I saw it being worn in the final rehearsal I was terrified in case it fell apart. A year on, I was asked to make another waistcoat – it took half the time and I realised how much my confidence has grown.”
April Long story - 19, from Manchester, dropped out from university after a term to become one of the UK’s first law apprentices.
“I only chose a geography degree at Manchester Metropolitan University because I felt pushed into the university route at school. When I started the course, I realised I had little chance of a job at the end of it. So, I left after a term and sought apprenticeships, because earning while learning made more sense than being in debt as a student.
I won a place at Slater Heelis Solicitors in Manchester last March I was thrilled as it meant I was one of the UK’s first legal apprentices. The apprenticeship is initially a year long, but can be extended for up to seven years, at the end of which you’re a qualified solicitor. If you do a degree in law, you must complete at least two further years of on-the-job training before being fully qualified to practise, so that’s five years compared to my seven – but I’m already getting paid and getting a foot in the door.”
How common are apprenticeships
There are many apprentice job vacancies available, 271,700 people successfully completed an apprenticeship in 2015/16, up 10,800 on the previous year. In 2016/17, there were 491,300 apprenticeship starts in England. 912,200 people were participating in an apprenticeship in 2016/17, 12,800 more than in the year before.
Apprenticeship pay package
The minimum pay for an apprentice is £3.30 an hour, with a minimum of 30 hours. That means the apprentice will earn at least £99. The apprentice is entitled to at least 20 days paid holiday per year, too – plus bank holidays! However, many employers pay their apprentices much more. On this subject, BPP apprenticeships said, 'the majority of our apprentices are paid significantly more than the national minimum, and it increases in line with experiences and qualifications gained.'
What industries take on apprentices?
Most job sectors offer apprenticeship opportunities in the UK, with a wide range of specific roles on offer within each. These include:
· Construction apprenticeships in roles to do with building and construction jobs
· Engineering apprenticeships in roles such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering jobs
· Healthcare apprenticeships in roles such as dental nurse, nursing and youth work, as well as NHS apprenticeships
· IT apprenticeships in roles such as information security and software development
· Law apprenticeships offered at paralegal, legal executive or solicitor level
· Media apprenticeships in roles such as journalism, live events and costume design
What you waiting for? Zoekyourself a fantastic apprenticeship programme!