Frequently asked questions - Apprenticeships

  • What is an apprenticeship?

    Apprenticeships are paid jobs which allow you to earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain skills and gain valuable work experience, all while you are studying a nationally recognised qualification.

  • How long do apprenticeships last?

    Apprenticeships vary in duration. They can take between one and five years to complete, all depending on the level of apprenticeship, your ability and the industry sector. Generally Level 2 apprenticeships will take a year and a Level 7 can take up to five years. 

    The longest apprenticeship is currently a Level 6 degree apprenticeship in civil engineering. 

  • How much will I earn?

    The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices is £3.90 per hour. The apprentice NMW applies to all apprentices aged under 19 and over and in their first year of their apprenticeship.

    Apprentices aged 25 and over, and not in the first year of the apprenticeship, will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

    However, many apprentices are paid much more. We encourage individuals to look at the pay in more detail when applying for an apprenticeship.

    For example, an aerospace engineering apprentice at BAE Systems UK can earn £23,550 per year. A higher accountancy apprentice can earn over £13,000 per year. A software engineer apprentice can earn around £14,500 per year.

  • What are the entry requirements for apprenticeships?

    The entry requirements vary from one apprenticeship to another. It depends on the organisation, the role, the sector and your experiences. We recommend applicants to look closely when applying for an apprenticeship.

  • Are they all to do with engineering? What kind of apprenticeships are there?

    No, it's not just engineering. You can work in many industries from tourism, construction, health & social care, law, fashion and much more. There are over 1,500 job roles available across a range of industries and there are more in development. 

  • Can you do university with an apprenticeship?

    You can go to university by doing an apprenticeship and get a full degree and even a master's degree. By doing a degree apprenticeship, you'll save money because your employer will pay the tuition fees and you will be earning at the same time. Financially, you are better off with a degree apprenticeship.

  • What should you do when/if you get rejected?

    Like any unsuccessful job application, it is recommend that you ask the employer for feedback. This way you can improve your application and interview skills in the future. You can also continue to apply for other vacancies and do practice your interview skills. 

  • What can an apprenticeship lead to?

    While there is no guarantee, the majority of apprentices do stay with the same employer. After your apprenticeship, if you have performed to an adequate level, you may receive a job offer with the employer and stay with the employer. Government research shows the majority of apprentices (95%) stay in employment - with 68% staying with the same employer.

    However, even if you leave the organisation at the end, you are in a better place and are more employable.

    Depending on the employer, you could even continue to the next apprenticeship level.

    Source: Apprenticeships evaluation 2017: learners, DfE, 2017 
  • When can I apply for an apprenticeship?

    Some organisations recruit during specific periods (i.e. start of January or September). We recommend that you look carefully when applying to specific employers. Generally, apprenticeships are like regular jobs, you can apply for apprenticeships at any time. 

  • What are the hours like?

    Working hours differ from one apprenticeship to another. They depend on the industry and the employer. Apprenticeships are designed to be full time. Working between 30-40 hours a week. Generally, you will be working from 9am - 5pm. However, some employers allow for flexible working hours.

  • If I leave sixth form/college/university, can I do an apprenticeship?

    As long as you meet the requirements of the apprenticeship you are applying for you can apply. But remember that different companies have different requirements.

  • Can I do an apprenticeship if I already have a degree?

    You can do an apprenticeship even if you already have a degree. You'll just have to prove that you will be learning new skills.

    For example, if you graduated with a sports degree, you are able to do an apprenticeship in Business Administration because it is a different industry and you will be learning new skills.

  • What are apprenticeship frameworks and standards?

    Apprenticeships have two different formats; frameworks and standards.

    Frameworks are developed by sector bodies to assess apprenticeships. Assessments are ongoing for example in Business Administration every module is assessed after submitting. You'll work on one module and move on to the next. Frameworks are qualification-led and not focused on occupation, this may lead to further training.

    On the other hand, Standards are designed by employers know as 'trailblazers". These are occupation led, not qualification led and are often linked to professional registration bodies. In terms of assessment, standard incorporate an end point assessment. This is the final test to complete your apprenticeship. 

    Currently, the government are transitioning from frameworks to standards and expect to complete the full transition by late 2020. After this date, there will be no more apprenticeship frameworks. 

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