What is an Apprenticeship?

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you'll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.

 

It can take between one and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is and your previous experience. It’s funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.

To become an apprentice, you must:

  • be 16 or over

  • not already be in full-time education

  • live in England

You can start an apprenticeship whether you’re starting your career, want a change or you're upskilling in your current job. You can have a previous qualification like a degree and still start an apprenticeship.

If you don’t live in England, check out apprenticeship options in ScotlandWales, or Northern Ireland.

As an apprentice you’ll:

  • learn and train for a specific job

  • get paid and receive holiday leave 

  • get hands-on experience in a real job

  • study for at least 20% of your working hours - usually at a college, university or with a training provider 

  • complete assessments during and at the end of your apprenticeship

  • be on a career path with lots of future potential

Levels of an apprenticeship

Each apprenticeship has a level and an equivalent education level. You can start an apprenticeship at any level. 

Depending on the level, some apprenticeships may:

  • require previous qualifications such as an English or maths GCSE

  • give extra training in the English or maths skills needed so you’re at the right level

At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent education level. For example, if you complete a level 3 apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent of an A level.

What you'll earn

What you earn will depend on the industry, location and type of apprenticeship you choose.

If you're aged 16 to 18 or in the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the apprentice rate.

If you're 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

This is the minimum you’ll earn - many employers pay a lot more and offer their apprentices a competitive salary. 

What it costs 

Apprenticeships are funded from contributions made by the government and your employer. This means you will not have any student loans or tuition fees.

You'll just need to cover the cost of your day-to-day expenses, such as lunch and travel.

If you're 16 to 24 and a care leaver, you'll receive a £1,000 bursary payment to support you in the first year of your apprenticeship.

All content correct at time of publishing. Taken from www.apprenticeships.gov.uk