Recent increases in university tuition fees mean that more and more young people are looking to Apprenticeships, and employers are often keen to take apprentices on in order to fill specific skills gaps or adapt to new opportunities and technologies. Over 220,000 workplaces are offering Apprenticeships and over 2 million apprentices have started since 2010.
Job candidates who have trained through an Apprenticeship, in one of over 700 different job roles, receive £117,000 more than a non-apprentice over their working life.
Employability research conducted with 500 companies, by ICM Research on behalf of the government, revealed that employers rate apprentices’ skills and experience way above candidates who have followed other career paths.
Higher Apprenticeships were ranked top by survey respondents, who said they were 25% more employable than those with other qualifications. Lower level Apprenticeships also scored highly as employers said people with these skills and experience were 15% more employable than other comparable candidates.
What does an Apprenticeship involve?
Apprenticeships are training programmes in the workplace, where employees work alongside experienced staff to gain specific skills, whilst also receiving training from a training provider, such as a college.
Apprenticeships provide the perfect route for learning practical, on-the-job skills, as well as furthering your education and gaining a formal qualification, all while earning a salary.
Apprentices are paid at a rate negotiated with the employer, and this will be stated in the terms and conditions of employment. The wage must comply with the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices, which is currently £3.30 an hour, for Apprentices under the age of 19, or those who are aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.
Apprenticeship programmes usually last between 12 and 48 months and consist of:
- Training for a number of qualifications (the Apprenticeship Framework including Literacy and Numeracy).
- Workplace training and assessment.
- Day- or block-release attendance at College.
Once on the Apprenticeship programme, a Training Officer, who will co-ordinate training and liaise between the Apprentice, employer, and the College, will be allocated. The Training Officer, and at an appropriate time an NVQ Assessor, will visit the workplace to monitor progress.
On completion of their programme, apprentices will have the skills, knowledge and confidence to perform the role in any part of the sector. Grading will be applied to the end point assessment, and a pass will demonstrate full competency and will test both theoretical and practical elements.