Why be an apprentice?
Apprenticeships give aspiring professionals the real world experience they need to get the edge in business. Gain fantastic experience in the working world and show employers that you can hit the ground running.
For many, the apprenticeship route is an obvious choice. For others, it might not be the path they expected to follow. Some haven’t considered the opportunities and benefits that come as part and parcel of being an apprentice.
Earn while you learn
As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills.
Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. If you live in England and are 16 years-old and over, and not in full-time education, then you can apply to be an apprentice.
Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £2.68 per hour; however, many apprentices earn significantly more.
Apprentices do real jobs for real employers. So you’re paid while you learn. If you are entering work for the first time, you will start earning from day one of your Apprenticeship. There is no set rate of pay for apprentices, however all employed apprentices must receive the minimum salary level outlined above. However, the average wage per week for an apprentice is now around £170 and in some job roles around £210 per week.
As your skills develop, your pay will increase accordingly. You may also get additional money for essential books, clothing or equipment, or to help you with a disability. As an apprentice, you will also receive the same benefits as other employees such as pension contributions and leisure facilities.
Finally, research shows that apprentices earn, on average, over £100,000 more throughout their lifetime than other employees.
Don’t rack up debt
Those who started university in England in 2012 could well face a debt of £60,000 by the time they graduate.
Whereas those who embark on an apprenticeship don’t face this fear of massive debt.
In fact, there aren’t any tuition fees for apprenticeships to pay – and the salary you earn whilst you do your apprenticeship provides you with money to live on, rather than racking up large debts in order to survive.
Practical and relevant experience and training
Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well.
There are targets and checks to make sure that your employer is supporting you and you are making progress.
As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation.
You can complete this off-the-job training on day release or over a number of days in a block. The amount of time you spend varies according to your Apprenticeship.
It could be anything from one day every other fortnight to two days every week. So all the things you study will be useful in your job and help you succeed in your future career.
Build up your CV with relevant experience
You can earn while you learn, and learn in a way that is best suited to you – through hands-on experience on the job. Key benefits of being an apprentice include;
- earning a salary
- getting paid holidays
- receiving training
- gaining qualifications
- learning job-specific skills
Learn on the job
Apprentices learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money all at the same time.
You work towards a work-based qualification such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and other nationally recognised qualifications.
Employers all over the country recognise and value Apprenticeships as they show that you’ve been trained in the skills they need.
Apprenticeships typically take between one and four years to complete, depending on the type of Apprenticeship and the level. The length of time taken will depend on the ability of the individual apprentice and the employer’s requirements.
Get a recognised and relevant qualification
Apprenticeships are increasingly recognised as the gold standard for work-based training.
There are over 85,000 employers offering Apprenticeships in more than 130,000 locations; there are almost 200 Apprenticeships suitable for hundreds of job roles. There are three levels of Apprenticeship available:
1 – Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
- Intermediate apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.
- These provide the skills you need for your chosen career and allow entry to an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
2 – Advanced Level Apprenticeships
- Advanced level apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 3, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC.
- To start this programme, you should ideally have five GCSEs (grade C or above) or have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
3 – Higher Apprenticeships
- Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation degree.
All Apprenticeships must include the following elements:
- A competencies qualification which must be achieved by the apprentice to qualify for an Apprenticeship certificate, and which is the qualification required to demonstrate competence in performing the skill, trade or occupation to which the framework relates
- A technical knowledge qualification which is the qualification required to demonstrate achievement of the technical skills, knowledge and understanding of theoretical concepts and knowledge and understanding of the industry and its market relevant to the skill, trade or occupation to which the framework relates. Sometimes an Apprenticeship framework may have an integrated qualification which combines competence and technical knowledge elements in which each element is separately assessed.
- Either Functional Skills (e.g. working in teams, problem-solving, communication and using new technology) or Functional Skills (e.g. Maths and English) qualifications or a GCSE with enhanced content (e.g. Maths and English).
NWSA are funding specialists and always have an option available to you to ensure you and your employer do not pay towards your Apprenticeship
Perfect start to your career
Kick-start your career and make yourself more employable.
Employers have reported that they prefer having the choice of training an apprentice and developing them within their company, rather than taking on a graduate with only classroom-based skills. There’s the potential to get a head-start in your career, and the only limit is your ambition.