Getting an Apprenticeship
Getting an apprenticeship is one way to help you discover what you want to do in your professional life as it gives you practical hands on experience in the working environment allowing you to see if this really is what you want to do. Once you have decided the field you want to be an apprentice in, you need to know how to go about getting an apprenticeship within that field. Below are some helpful hints for anyone thinking of an apprenticeship.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is getting out into the world of work, whilst being taught new skills, gaining a qualification, and getting paid! If you have left secondary school and want to stay in education but want a more "practical" approach to learning then maybe an apprenticeship is the right path for you.
What are the options?
Being an apprenticeship requires time and dedication, you will have to juggle work and study over a long period of time, so its best to choose something you are really passionate about.
Apprenticeships cover a wide range of job sectors including;
- Administration and professional
- Customer service, retailing and wholesaling
- Finance, insurance and real estate
- Food and drink
- Health and beauty
- Health, care and public services
- Media and printing
- Recreation and travel
So do some research and make sure you find the right apprenticeship for you.
How long does an apprenticeship last?
Apprenticeships have no fixed length or assessment period and are designed so that each individual apprentice can work at their own pace but the average time is 1-4 years.
The course structure
The structure of your apprenticeship will be designed with you, your employer and your tutor, this will enable you to learn the skills you will need to do the job well. Throughout the duration of the apprenticeship work will be set by your college, study time will be set by your employer to ensure completion of the work allocated.
Will I get paid?
There is no set rate of pay for an apprentice, but the minimum wage is no less than £95 per week. Recent studies have shown that the average apprentice is earning £170 a week.
Who can apply for an apprenticeship?
You must be 16 or over to apply for a full-time apprenticeship. The entry requirements will depend on the apprenticeship you decide. There are three levels available:
- Level 1 - 5 GCSEs at grades D-G
- Level 2 - 5 GCSEs at grades A-C
- Level 3 - 2 A-levels/1 vocational A-level
- Level 4/5 - HNC, HND and degree level
Depending on your grades in GCSE Maths and English, you may need to take a literacy and numeracy test.
Once you have completed your apprenticeship there are options open for you. An NVQ can count as UCAS points and you may decide you want to carry on studying so a degree may be something to consider. Find out if the company you did your apprentice for willing to take you on as a permanent employee.
Why should I take on an apprentice? - An Employers point of view
Getting an apprentice is a great way of tackling skill shortages; you will be able to train an employee to an agreed standard. Apprenticeship programs can also help reduce the high cost of training inexperienced workers.
So if you are interested in getting an apprenticeship go down to your local job centre or college and discuss your options, they can point you in the right direction and help find the placement thatís right for you.
Further information on Government Employment Schemes
The government have a range of schemes for voluntary and compulsory employment schemes, full details can be found at the adviceguide.org website.