As an apprentice you will:
- work towards a relevant qualification
- develop your key skills
- get practical experience through work.
There are different levels of apprenticeship. The level that you start at will be determined by your experience and qualifications and what is available locally.
Apprenticeship – no set requirements but some GCSEs at D or above are often expected. You will be employed, earn a wage and work towards a Level 2 qualification.
Advanced Apprenticeship – usually requires four GCSEs A*- C. You will be employed, earn a wage and work towards a Level 3 qualification.
Higher Apprenticeships – you will be employed, earn a wage and work towards a Level 4 qualification or higher. Some Higher Apprenticeships can lead to degree-level study.
Degree Apprenticeships – require A levels or equivalent allow you to combine practical, workplace training with a university degree. Can lead to a Level 6 qualification or higher
Apprenticeships involve being employed full-time and you may be released on certain days to go to college or training may be in the workplace.
There may be traineeships or pre-apprenticeships courses available in your area. These provide personalised learning and employment programmes and individual career planning supported by employers. Successful students may have the opportunity to progress to a Level 2 apprenticeship.
There is a National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices and currently all apprentices will be paid a minimum of £3.30 per hour. However, as you progress, your wages may increase and research has found that apprentices earn an average of £170 per week.
The apprentice NMW applies to all 16 to 18 year olds and to those aged 19 and over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.
If the apprentice reaches 19 and has completed the first year of their Apprenticeship their employer must pay them at least the full NMW rate for those aged 18 to 20.
You can search for apprenticeships on www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship and apply online.
There is also an app called AV Search which you can download from Google Play or iTunes.
Not ready for an apprenticeship?
You could start a traineeship which will last from 6 weeks up to 6 months.
- improve your English and maths
- get help with job hunting, applying for jobs and going for interviews
- do a work experience placement to give you useful skills
National Insurance Number
This should arrive automatically in the post just before your 16th birthday. You need your National Insurance number to start apprenticeships and work with training.
If it doesn’t arrive, you can telephone 0300 200 3502 for help. Lines are open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Why is work experience important?
Work experience is a great introduction to the world of work. Whatever you do, even if you don’t feel you are doing anything important, can help you later on. You will learn a lot of skills like the importance of timekeeping, how you should behave in the workplace, how you should dress and present yourself, how to get on with people of all ages. You will also learn about health and safety at work. You may also get an idea of the skills that you need to get on in the workplace. It’ll help you identify your own skills and perhaps even highlight the areas that you might want to work on.
Some work experience placements might even give you the opportunity to take on some really interesting and challenging responsibilities. Also young people are more likely to be successful in their job hunt if they have done some good work experience. You might not use your work experience straight away but it might become useful in the future, even after a degree.
Work experience is very good for getting contacts and networking. This again might help you later on.
Work experience is a perfect way to sample some of the career options out there. You’ll get to speak to employees and ask them questions. It’s a way of exploring different jobs without actually committing to anything. You may well come across jobs that you have never heard of and they might be just the job for you.