Be The Apprentice

Anonymous - Posted: 13th of April 2011

So, the idea of an apprenticeship has caught your attention and you've found some courses which you think look interesting – but what's it like to actually be an apprentice?

As a UK apprentice you'll be earning yourself a wage while learning a trade with a real business. Whether it's construction or animal care, you'll be working under experienced staff to learn the skills necessary to do the job for real.

Of course as an apprentice the day-to-day tasks you will be asked to do will depend on what course you choose, but all apprenticeships are structured programmes where you work towards specific goals while your progress and development is monitored.

Apprentices usually spend most of their time studying on the job, but can also expect to spend some time training at a college in the area, or with a specialise training organisation. The amount of time you spend away from the workplace will again depend on the apprenticeship you choose.

On some courses, you might spend one day a week away from your employer, whereas others might see you away for a few days in a row to complete a block of training. You'll likely meet lots of other like-minded people on the same training course as you, so you'll be able to share insights and experiences along the way.

How long does an apprenticeship take?

Apprenticeships usually take between 12 months and four years to complete, depending on the subject and the level of study. During that time, you'll be working towards work-based qualifications like National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) specific to your field. Your employer will provide all the support you might need along the way.

You'll start earning from day one, and though the rates of pay vary from one apprenticeship to another, the minimum pay is £2.50 per hour. Your rate of pay will depend on the industry you go into and the level you are working at.

Beginning an apprenticeship can be very exciting as it may be your first foray into the world of work. This means you'll be responsible for yourself and have other people depending on you. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16 and not in full-time employment.

You can expect your employer to treat you as they would any other employee, but that also means you'll get benefits like paid holidays just like your colleagues.

It will be your job to make sure you are managing your workload and studies as best you can to make sure you are giving your best efforts at work and still meeting your study deadlines. This means you'll be developing your organisational and time management skills alongside your work skills.

Why else would you want to become an apprentice?

UK employers recognise that apprentices have not only been using the skills they have been learning on the job, but have also been disciplined enough to balance their studies with their day jobs.

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