About UK apprenticeships
Apprenticeships offer you the chance to earn while you learn. You can start in almost any industry as an apprentice – from hairdressing to mechanics, engineering to accounting.
Who can do an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged 16 or above who is not in full-time education. You'll receive a training programme that combines paid work with professional training, which will lead to a job-related qualification. Typically you'll have one day a week that's dedicated to learning.
You progress through various levels as you complete your training, with salaries increasing on the completion of each level. They tend to be divided into four apprenticeship levels:
- Intermediate (level 2)
- Advanced (level 3)
- Higher (level 4, 5, 6 and 7)
- Degree (level 6 and 7)
You don't necessarily have to complete all the levels listed above, it will depend upon the apprenticeship that you apply for.
Are apprenticeships good for school leavers?
Apprenticeships are perfect for school leavers who don't want to continue in formal education and would rather learn through practical experience. It's a great move if you know the type of career and industry you want to work in already.
No matter what level you're working at, an apprenticeship means that you won't have to pay a penny towards your tuition. If you're between 16-18 years old the government will cover the whole of your costs, and if you're older then it will be split between the government and your employer.
Apprenticeship age limit
There is actually no formal age limit for an apprenticeship, but apprenticeships for 16 year olds who have just finished their GCSEs are the most common.
Most apprenticeships are targeted to young adults aged 16-24. Typically there is more funding available for this age group.
Adult apprenticeships are aimed at those who are over 25, but there are fewer of them due to it being more difficult to get funding from the government for these programmes.
Even if you're a university graduate you can apply to an apprenticeship scheme, as long as your degree is not related to the apprenticeship you're applying for.
What are the criteria to apply for an apprenticeship?
In short, to apply for adults apprenticeships, you must meet four simple criteria:
- Not be in full-time education
- Be 16 or over
- Live in England
- Do not possess a related higher education qualification
The minimum apprenticeship wage has risen from £3.90 to £4.15, the biggest increase across all other minimum wage groups, so there really is no better time to begin your apprenticeships search.