This is an exciting time for Apprenticeships! Never before have there been so many different types of Apprenticeships available across such a large number of industries, meaning that young people have a real choice about how they continue to learn and improve their skills. Simon Waugh, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service
Apprenticeships are for people who want to make things happen. An Apprenticeship enables you to learn skills in a work environment – and also earn whilst you do so. From August 2009, apprentices will be paid a minimum of £95 per week.
From April this year, for the first time there is an organisation specifically responsible for Apprenticeships called the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). The NAS is dedicated to increasing the range and choice of Apprenticeships available for learners and employers. The NAS works both with people who want to be apprentices and employers who want to find apprentices to work in their businesses. To make this process easier there is now an online vacancy matching system in place that matches employers with would-be apprentices. All you have to do is register via the website and you can search for an Apprenticeship in your area.
If you would like further information about Apprenticeships then please visit the website – apprenticeships.org.uk – and see how you could make things happen!
If you are aged 16 to 24 and want a job that guarantees excellent training, an Apprenticeship could be for you. Apprentices learn on the job - developing skills and knowledge, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.
Learn while you earn
To give yourself the best career prospects, you need to carry on developing your skills throughout your working life. Apprenticeships give you the chance to learn and gain nationally recognised qualifications while receiving a weekly wage.
There are more than 180 different Apprenticeships to choose from, in over 80 industry sectors. These include accountancy, business administration, construction and food and drink manufacturing.
Within each sector, you can choose between doing an Apprenticeship or an Advanced Apprenticeship. Which option is right for you will depend on your interests, your experience and opportunities in your area.
How long does an Apprenticeship last?
Different Apprenticeships take different amounts of time to complete. Most last between 12 and 24 months, though some take up to five years. The exact time it takes will depend on the profession you choose, your ability and your employer’s needs.
The time you spend studying can be anything from 100 to 1,000 hours, depending on your occupation.
Is an Apprenticeship right for you?
First you’ll need to decide which career suits you best. Next, you’ll have to judge whether you can juggle working for an employer and getting on-the-job training one day, then studying for a qualification at a college (for example) the next.
Who can apply
There are no set entry requirements for Apprenticeships. However, for some more technical Apprenticeships you may need GCSE grades A*-C in maths, English and science.
To qualify, you need to be:
- living in England
- not in full-time education
- aged between 16 and 24
Money and holidays
If you are a trainee
If you start as a trainee, you will go on something called a ‘Programme Led Apprenticeship’ and will be able to apply for an Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
However, if you are currently a trainee and started before 10 April 2006, you will continue to receive a training allowance of at least £40 a week.
Programme Led Apprenticeships are designed to lead you towards an Apprenticeship where you are employed.
If you are employed
If you start or progress to an Apprenticeship as an employee (an ‘Employer led Apprenticeship’) you will receive an income of at least £80 a week. In fact, most apprentices are paid more than this.
You’ll get at least one and a half days’ paid holiday for every month of your training. On top of that you’ll get bank holidays.
All Apprenticeships (and Advanced Apprenticeships) lead to the following qualifications:
- a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 2 or Level 3
- Key Skills qualifications such as working in teams, problem solving, communication and using new technology
- (in most cases) a Technical Certificate such as BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award
- other qualifications or requirements needed for particular occupations
The qualifications you gain as an apprentice can also help you to get into higher education.