Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. As an employee, you can earn as you learn and you gain practical skills from the workplace. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Anyone living in England, over 16 years-old and not in full-time education can apply.
Typically an apprentice works 4 or 5 days a week full time for an employer and takes between 1 – 4 years to complete depending on the level of Apprenticeship, the apprentices' ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £4.55 per hour; however, many apprentices earn significantly more.
The majority of time is spent in the workplace and is supported by a mentor. The remaining learning is delivered by a learning provider which could be a specialist provider or a Further Education College
There are more than 250 different types of Apprenticeships available offering over 1400 job roles. These include:
Business I Health & Social Care I Hospitality I Construction I Dental Nursing I Hairdressing
There are three levels of Apprenticeship available:
1 Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 2 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
2 Advanced Level Apprenticeships
Apprentices work towards work-based learning such as a Level 3 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge based qualification.
3 Higher Apprenticeships
Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree or a Degree.
Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years-old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. You just need to be living in England and not taking part in full-time education.
There may be different entry requirements depending on the Apprenticeship and the industry sector. However competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you. You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.
No set entry requirements for most Apprenticeships but most colleges ask for GCSE or equivalent in line with standard entry requirements.
More employers look for relevant work experience in the sector.
Apprenticeships such as engineering or construction require C grades in Maths or Science GCSE.
Apprenticeship vacancies are advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website all year round.
Large organisations such as BMW, BT and British Gas advertise on their websites and recruit at set times each year.
Further information about Apprenticeships visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Name: Louisa Fenocchi
Subjects studied: physics, chemistry and maths
Year I left UHS: 2018
Name of organisation and job title: Apprentice Economist at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Apprenticeship type: Degree
Why I chose the apprenticeship route: I wanted to get a degree (without the debt!) and experience in a professional environment - I’ve already learnt so many new skills. The salary was also a massive incentive and I am now saving for my own home and hope to be on the property ladder within the next few years.
My apprenticeship in 3 words: Fast paced, empowering and challenging!
Advice for students thinking of applying for an apprenticeship: Just apply! You don’t lose out on anything by applying. Research the different apprenticeships on offer - there are so many. most degrees you would study at university now have an apprenticeship equivalent. Prepare and do your best in every step of the selection process. Good luck!
Name: Charlotte Byrne
Subjects studied (sixth form): Economics, English Language, Health and Social Care, EPQ
Year you left UHS: 2018
Name of organisation and current role title: Mace Group, Apprentice Cost Consultant
Apprenticeship type: Degree Apprenticeship, Quantity Surveying BSc
Why you chose the apprenticeship route: I chose the apprenticeship route as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study at University as I saw a full-time degree as a big commitment. I had always enjoyed having part time jobs and the idea of attending University full-time made me feel although I wouldn’t be able to have a day job like I wanted to. I’ve never been the type of person that enjoyed sitting at a desk all day and I knew that full-time study would require this. By completing my degree part-time, over 5 years still allows me to have a degree, but I get to learn on the job. I complete University coursework and exam revision over a couple of hours after my working day every few weeks, it almost feels like I don’t actually attend a University. There is of course opportunities to get more involved with the University social life, I just choose not to as the social life at my work is much greater (perks of working in construction!).
Sum up your apprenticeship in 3 words: Constant learning and evolving.
Advice for students thinking of applying for an apprenticeship: I didn’t apply for a Quantity Surveyor role because I was interested in the career, I didn’t really know what it entailed when I applied. I just knew that I wanted to do a degree apprenticeship that allowed me to have the day to day responsibilities and ability to get a degree. However, I would suggest you find a subject you are interested in then see if there is an apprenticeship which allows you to study it and have a day job. This will allow you to have the work experience most Undergraduates don’t have when they graduate and make you more appealing to Employers.
Name: Georgia Mannion
Subjects studied (sixth form): Business, Sociology and Psychology
Year you left UHS: 2019
Name of organisation and current role title: UNICEF UK – Front Of House Apprentice
Apprenticeship type: Degree or School Leaver : Level 4 Business Administration
Why you chose the apprenticeship route: I always knew University wasn’t for me, I knew I wanted to experience the real working world, whilst still studying for a qualification and earning an amazing salary! And securing this apprenticeship with UNICEF, a huge company has really allowed me to do this!
Sum up your apprenticeship in 3 words: Life-changing, Rewarding and Exciting.
Advice for students thinking of applying for an apprenticeship: It’s not the “easy option out” compared to university, as some may think , you have to work just as hard as you are having to juggle a full time job with your assignments. You have to be prepared for the interview process as there are so many candidates, BUT it is probably the most rewarding feeling when you get the job!
If you told me this time last year whilst sitting my A Levels that I would be working for a company as huge as UNICEF UK earning this amount of money at 19 I would not have believed you. I applied to so many and in the end you will get there. You have to be determined and focused and never give up!
Name: Kate Shelton
Subjects studied (sixth form): Biology, Sociology, Psychology (WC)
Year you left UHS: 2019
Name of organisation and current role title: Civil Service, Assistant Economist at the Ministry of Justice
Apprenticeship type: Degree apprenticeship (Economics)
Why you chose the apprenticeship route: I know i would work well being able to put my knowledge to the test in a work setting, so that was my first appeal. Also employ-ability was a big thing for me, i was aware that getting a jo after being at University was hard and you would need something to stand out to get those competitive jobs, and 4 years work experience would make me stand out above others. Plus, the thought of getting a salary and degree alongside each other seem to good to pass up when i got offered a place after a long application process .
Sum up your apprenticeship in 3 words: Rewarding, stimulating, fast paced
Advice for students thinking of applying for an apprenticeship: There are thousands of them available so really use the application process to ensure that apprenticeship is for you. Also, degree apprenticeships are not an 'easy' route to get a free degree, you're essentially studying at a normal university but also have a full time job Monday-Friday. So do be prepared to put the work in and you will get the most out of it.