Faced with a competitive job market and ever-increasing student debt more people are looking at other ways to find a rewarding career.
Apprenticeships could be the answer. They’re available in 1500 job roles and cover more than 170 industries, often leading to vocational qualifications equivalent to an academic degree as well as better job prospects.
So, in honour of National Apprenticeships Week, we answer five questions about how they work, including what financial help is available while you’re an apprentice.
Why should I do an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship combines being in education and having a job. You will receive both a salary and on-the-job training, where you learn practical skills, as well as academic tuition at college.
And they’re not just for younger people. Apprenticeships for the over-25s are becoming more common and are seen as a great way for people to change career, or retrain following redundancy.
What kind of salary could I get?
The key advantage of apprenticeships over college and university is you gain practical skills and a qualification while earning some money.
For 16 to 18-year-olds or people in the first year of an apprenticeship, the minimum wage is £3.40 per hour, but some will pay the National Minimum Wage (which rises to £7.50 in April).
What would my working week look like?
Most apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete. You’ll be working 30 to 40 hours a week, both on the job and in college.
However, some part-time apprenticeships are available under special circumstances.
What are my longer-term earning prospects?
Very good. In fact, a third of apprentices get a promotion within a year of finishing their apprenticeships, according to UCAS.
Over their working lives, apprentices can earn £150,000 more than their peers who didn’t complete an apprenticeship.
Are there any other benefits?
Being an apprentice means you are also eligible for certain in-work benefits, including tax credits, sick-pay, paid holiday and parental leave.
You can even get an NUS Apprentice Extra card, that gets you a wide range of discounts including on rail travel. Some apprenticeships even exempt you from Council Tax.
There are also loans available to help with tuition fees if you are taking an advanced or higher apprenticeship.