AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk is a website for school and college students, with jobs, advice and information on apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and sponsored degrees. It also includes news and features about school leaver options, and produces careers advice material for schools and colleges. Below, they give us their advice on choosing an apprenticeship.
There has never been a better time to start an apprenticeship, say AllAboutSchoolLeavers. The government is planning to invest a further £1billlion in apprenticeship programmes by the year 2020, with a large proportion of this going towards higher level or degree level apprenticeships.
Doing an apprenticeship at college could be a beneficial alternative to traditional routes like university. Read on to find out which option is right for you.
Being paid to study
Apprentices are paid as regular employers, and if you’re aged between 16 and 18, the government will cover the full cost of your learning element. For those aged under 19, or aged over 19 and in the first year of their apprenticeship, the minimum wage will be £3.50 an hour from April 2017. For those aged 19 or over, and who are no longer in their first year, the usual national minimum wage applies. In 2017 this is £5.50 for 18-20 year olds, £7.05 for 21-24 year olds and £7.50 for 25+ year olds.
However, many employers pay their apprentices more than the minimum, and – according to government figures – 46% of former apprentices receive a pay rise after completing their apprenticeship.
Enviable work experience
You will gain more practical, work-based experience during your apprenticeship compared to classroom-based learning programmes, which could put you at an advantage. You’ll learn to cope well in a workplace environment and could gain hands-on experience in things like team-work, leadership and problem solving as well as learning the practical skills essential to your chosen profession.
Studying at any age
Apprenticeships are also a great opportunity for those looking to make a change in career, as there is no upper age limit on the programmes. However, the costs do change, so this is something you need to consider. If you’re over 19 or over you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your training, but you could also be eligible for financial assistance through an Advanced Learner Loan.
Levels of apprenticeships
- An Intermediate Apprenticeship is the equivalent to 5 good GCSE passes, giving apprentices the opportunity to gain a practical, work-based qualification such as an NVQ Level 3 or a knowledge-based qualification like a BTEC.
- Advanced Apprenticeships give a qualification equivalent to two A Level passes, such as an NVQ Level 3 or BTEC. You will need the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes, or another Level 2 qualification such as a completed Intermediate Apprenticeship, to apply.
- Higher Apprenticeships offer Level 4 qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 or a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation degree. A new Degree Apprenticeship has now also been introduced, through which you gain a university-level degree.
Industries offering apprenticeships
Currently there are apprenticeships available in 1,500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries; everything from advertising, journalism and youth work, to environmental engineering and the legal profession. There have even been 4,300 starts on new apprenticeships in occupations such as Software Developing and Aerospace Engineering.
If you’re not sure what industry you want to move into, try AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ Career Test – the results will suggest industry sectors that best suit your personality; then you can research different career options available in those industries, and look at apprenticeship opportunities in these careers.