What is an Apprenticeship in England?
Apprenticeships are programmes designed by Sector Skills Councils and employers that provide learners with the skills and knowledge required to pursue a career within a particular sector. We offer three levels of Apprenticeships:
An Apprenticeship is essentially a set of qualifications called a ‘framework.’ Most Apprenticeship frameworks follow a standard format that is made up of knowledge qualifications, workplace competency and skills in English, maths and ICT.
The length of an Apprenticeship varies depending on prior skills levels of the apprentice, the qualification being obtained and requirements of the sector. Generally, Apprenticeships take between one and two years to complete.
You can start an Apprenticeship at any time of year. You will need to be employed for a minimum of 30 working hours per week.
Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2)
This is equivalent to five good GCSE passes.
Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3)
This is equivalent to two A-level passes
Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4/5)
These are equivalent to Higher Education qualifications e.g. Foundation Degree
Learner of the Year
Benefits of an Apprenticeship
Kicking off your career with an Apprenticeship is a great way to get a head start in the field you want to work in.
You’ll get first-hand knowledge of how the industry works, plus be able to see whether or not it’s really what you want to pursue as a career. There are plenty of other reasons why you should apply for one when you leave school or college, and it’s always a good idea to talk to a teacher or careers advisor about the best route into your dream job, but here are some points to persuade you into checking out the opportunities available where you live:
Learn while you earn: An Apprenticeships enable you to start working and earn a decent wage while you learn key skills and gain the qualifications that future employers want. You’ll probably start out on the National Minimum Wage or another standard rate of pay for Apprenticeships in your industry. But, as your skills progress, your employer may up your paycheque as well. This not only helps out your bank account, but gives you an extra incentive to do well in your Apprenticeship.
Support: One of the largest advantages of getting the qualifications you need in your field, while being able to put the skills you learn into practise at the same time, is that someone will always be on-hand to show you how things are done. If you have any questions about techniques, terminology or anything related to the industry, you can instantly ask your manager. Asking questions, taking on more responsibility and trying new things will help you get better in your Apprenticeship.
Paid holidays: While on your Apprenticeship, you’ll be treated like a regular employee of the company in that you’ll get a certain amount of paid holiday per year in addition to bank holidays. Your entitlement may vary depending on your employment and training agreement, but by law you are entitled to at least 20 days. You may also be able to take some time off for study leave in addition to your usual paid leave, but this is up to your employer and depends on the type of job you have.
Good career prospects: Your Apprenticeship will be very rewarding, even if at times it may seem demanding. Once you have finished your Apprenticeship, you’ll have a world of options open to you. You may be able to carry on working in the same place, or look for a similar job in a different company. Having industry experience is very important when getting your first job, so being able to show that you’ve got that plus qualifications will give you a huge advantage over other applicants.
Also, your Apprenticeship may have showed you other interests that you never knew you had, so think about going to University or getting another qualification. Or, take some time out to think about your next step, and look into taking a gap year -you can work abroad, volunteer or just travel.