Apprenticeships are designed to help you to gain hands on experience within an industry and learn new practical skills, while earning a qualification and receiving a living wage. They take one to five years to complete and are open to anyone over the age of 16, who is not enrolled in full-time education.
- What is an apprenticeship?
- What would I Learn?
- Wages for Apprentices
- Apprentice benefits
- Where to find out more?
What is an apprenticeship?
Don’t assume that you’re too old to do an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships for over 25s are increasingly common and it might be the perfect way for you to change career.
- Is open to anyone over the age of 16, not enrolled in full-time education
- Available in over 170 industries, including aerospace, finance and fashion
- Takes from one to five years to complete depending on: age, skills and sector
- Combines practical ‘on the job’ training with academic study towards earning a work-based, qualification
- Is often offered as an equivalent to GCSE’s, A-Levels or a foundation degree
- Helps you to improve your job prospects
There are three types of apprenticeships:
- Foundation Apprenticeship
- Higher Apprenticeship
They all require different levels of qualifications. Be sure to check before applying.
What would I Learn?
Every apprentice follows an approved programme of study, designed for the job they’re training for.
Your employer will decide the structure of your training, however apprenticeships generally combine:
- A detailed training plan
- Regular progress reviews
- Practical training on the job
- Theoretical study at a college
- Assessment testing at a training facility
- Mentoring and support throughout your apprenticeship
By the end of the course, you should’ve gained the qualifications, skills and experience required by potential employers within the field.
How many hours would I work a week?
Apprentices should work for a minimum of 30 hours a week and a maximum of 40.
Time spent off the job at a college or in training, is included.
In exceptional circumstances, for example where apprentices have caring responsibilities, part-time apprenticeships can be agreed by your employer, at a minimum of 16 hours per week.
Wages for Apprentices
One of the main benefits of doing an apprenticeship is that you can earn a wage while you work and study.
An apprentice’s salary, depends on various factors:
- The type of apprenticeship you apply for
- Your age, experience and existing qualifications
- The sector you’re working in, for example engineering, retail or finance
There is a minimum wage for all young people enrolled on apprenticeships.
How much you receive, depends on your age and how long you’ve been doing the apprenticeship:
- If you’re aged 16-18, or in your first year and aged over 19, you’ll earn at least £3.40 per hour.
- If you’ve completed your first year and are aged over 19, you’ll earn at least the National Minimum Wage, which varies depending on your age.
Some employers might choose to pay you more than the National Minimum Wage.
Research shows that your earnings increase in line with your current level of academic qualifications.
Compared to someone without any qualifications:
- An apprentice gains on-the-job skills and training, while earning a living wage
- A third of apprentices get a promotion within a year of finishing their apprenticeship
Apprentices can earn £150,000 more than their peers over the duration of their working lives, without an apprenticeship
(Source: UCAS, 2016)
Apprentices working more than 33 hours a week, are entitled to the same benefits as everyone else in the workplace.
- Tax Credits
- Sick pay entitlement
- At least 20 days paid holiday a year
- Statutory Maternity/Paternity Pay and maternity/paternity leave
Where to find out more?
- England: GOV.UK
- Scotland: apprenticeships.scot
- Wales: Careers Wales
- Northern Ireland: The NI Directopens in new window