In support of National Apprenticeship Week, 3rd to 9th February, we’re firing up conversation around apprenticeships. This year’s theme is ‘Look Beyond’, encouraging people to look beyond outdated stereotypes surrounding apprenticeships and celebrate the diversity of opportunity and value that they bring. We get lots of questions about what apprenticeships actually involve. So here are answers to 5 common apprenticeship questions.
1) What does it cost to do an apprenticeship?
You won’t have to pay anything as an apprentice. Apprenticeships are funded by the government/contributions from your employer.
So, you’ll be earning a qualification you don’t have to pay for, and earning a wage while you learn!
2) What does earn while you learn actually mean?
When choosing an apprenticeship, the learning part means you’ll be given time to work towards a recognised qualification, like people who are in school or college. But the main difference is that you’ll also have a real job, and earn a wage.
Rates of pay can vary like in any job, but the current national minimum wage for apprentices who are in their first year (and/or aged 16-18), is currently £4.15 per hour.
Remember this is only a minimum wage though. Apprentices aged 19+ are also eligible for the general National Minimum Wage after their first year, which is higher than the apprenticeship rate.
3) Can I train for a job in any career area?
You might be surprised to see the wealth of apprenticeships available, not just in hands-on skilled trades, but also a huge range of career areas, such as: business and accounting, supporting teaching and learning in schools, IT, engineering, pharmacy services, dental nursing, sport, and many more!
There are even degree-level apprenticeships.
A small number of careers don’t currently offer apprenticeship routes, such as if you want to become a surgeon or a psychiatrist, but most career sectors are now accessible through an apprenticeship.
If you’re not sure about your future career, we suggest you contact a training provider such as Nottingham College for advice.
4) How do I get an apprenticeship?
It’s actually pretty straightforward, but it can seem confusing because there are quite a few ways you can get a place on an apprenticeship, a bit like there are different ways to get jobs. You’ll need to put the effort in, as you’re going to be employed in a real job, but there is help and advice out there!
For example, at Nottingham College we advertise vacancies on our website, and we have a dedicated apprenticeship team to help with CV writing, applications, interviews, and even finding vacancies in the first place!
5) Are apprenticeships just for young people?
The short answer is no! In fact, there is only a lower age limit – you’ll need to be 16 or over by the time you want to start. You can register your interest and even apply while you’re still at school though.
For example, if you’re taking your GCSEs this year and would like to start an apprenticeship when you get your results, you can start searching for vacancies now. You’ll just need to be 16 or over by the time you’d be starting the apprenticeship.
There are also plenty of opportunities for adults, and apprenticeships start throughout the year!