Pathways to employment
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a structured, work-based training programme where you gain job-specific skills and on-the-job work experience while studying towards a nationally recognised qualification. You get paid to do a real job, work alongside experienced staff and get practical insight into the work place.
An apprenticeship is also a career option, a route into employment for school leavers and young people up to age 24 who are serious about pursuing a career but choose not to go to university because:
- It’s costly and even a good degree from a top university won’t necessarily guarantee a job upon graduation.
- They don’t have the grades to do the degree they want at a university of their choice
- They don’t want to be stuck with a hefty personal debt from 3-4 years at uni (average expenditure per academic year is £24,000 – more for London.)
And, apprenticeships can be an important route into sustainable employment.
What you could get
As an apprentice you’ll:
- Gain the skills and experience sought by employers in your chosen field
- Get a head start up the career ladder
- Earn while you learn. The minimum wage for first year apprentices is £3.30/hour and apprentices can earn £150-200/week or more.
- Start building a network of peers
- Avoid the cost of going to uni
There are three levels of apprenticeship available for young people aged 16 and over:
- Intermediate (equivalent to a level 2 or 5 GCSEs A* - C)
Works toward work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification. Programmes take between 12-18 months to complete.
- Advanced (equivalent to a level 3 or two A-level passes)
Works toward work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 3, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate. Programmes take between 15-24 months to complete.
- Higher (equivalent to a level 4, 5, 6 or Foundation degree or above)
Works toward work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree. Programmes can take up to three years to complete.
Apprenticeships work towards three types of qualification:
- Functional: training in skills in maths, English and ICT with a particular focus on problem-solving and ability to apply these skills effectively in real situations
- Technical: training in skills needed to accomplish specific mathematical, engineering, scientific or computer-related tasks
- Vocational: training in practical skills in a specific field of work, generally learned from hands-on experience
To be eligible for the programme, you must be:
- 16-24 years old
- Eligible to work in England and a resident of the European Union for at least three years
- Not in full-time education or educated to level 4 or above
Individual apprenticeship positions will have different requirements in terms of aptitude, skills, qualifications and experience.
Please note: Enthusiasm, commitment, initiative and reliability are always needed.
Traineeships are education and training programmes with work experience for young people who are motivated to get a job or apprenticeship but lack the skills and experience that employers are looking for.
The aim of traineeships is to help a young person become 'work ready'.