Finance and Business

Earning While Learning: The Ins and Outs of Apprenticeships

Are you contemplating your next steps after school? University isn't the only route. Apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity to earn, learn, and step into the professional world. Let's explore what apprenticeships entail, potential earnings, and essential considerations.

Understanding Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a practical approach to education. Spend four days a week working and one day studying, either at work, college, university, or online. You receive a wage, and the government and your employer foot the bill for your qualification.

Any employer can hire apprentices, offering roles that build the necessary knowledge and skills. The goal is to equip you for the job market while gaining practical experience.

Who Chooses Apprenticeships?

Students often opt for apprenticeships when they have a specific career in mind or seek to enhance their skills in an existing profession. Business and administration, construction, and health and science are among the popular choices.

Big names like the British military, BT, and Amazon are leading employers of apprentices. In England alone, there were 752,200 apprentices last year, with advanced apprenticeships (A-level standard) being the most sought-after.

Finding and Applying for Apprenticeships

How to apply for apprenticeships? Head to the employer's website if you have a specific workplace in mind. Various official websites in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland provide opportunities. Platforms like UCAS allow you to search for vacancies and apply.

Prepare for an interview and assessments before starting your apprenticeship. It's a competitive process, so showcasing your eagerness to learn and contribute is crucial.

Apprentice Wages

If you're under 19 or in your first year of apprenticeship at 19 or older, you're entitled to the apprentice rate. Currently at £5.28 per hour, it's set to rise to £6.40 on April 1. After the initial year, you'll earn at least the minimum wage.

Apprentices in England earned an average of £9.98 per hour in 2021, with pay increasing with the level of apprenticeship. The National Union of Students advocates for a minimum National Living Wage for all apprentices.

Pros and Cons of Apprenticeships

While apprenticeships offer a practical approach to learning, completion rates are around 53.4% in England, falling below the government's target. Personal reasons, including career changes and mental health issues, contribute to dropout rates.

Barriers such as low pay, limited availability, and individual application processes deter potential apprentices. Initiatives like the online apprentice support centre aim to address these issues, urging businesses to offer more opportunities.

Is an Apprenticeship Right for You?

Consider the long-term benefits. Will the qualification propel you in your desired career? Look into the apprenticeship's location, duration, and remuneration. During interviews, inquire about training opportunities and read reviews.

Apprenticeships are a viable and rewarding path for those seeking a hands-on learning experience. As initiatives strive to improve the system, the key is to research thoroughly, ask questions, and envision your future in the chosen industry. Apprenticeships open doors to a world of possibilities, offering a blend of education and real-world application.