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What Are Modern Apprenticeships?13th April 2011, 13:10
It can sometimes seem like going to university is the only real way to learn the skills you need to get a good job, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern apprenticeships are a fantastic way to combine academic study, on the job training and real world experience in your chosen field.
But what is a modern apprenticeship? What do modern apprenticeships involve? And who are they for? Here’s a look at all those questions and a few others.
First, a history lesson. Apprenticeships have been around in one form or another since the 13th Century and gained popularity in the 1500s. It used to be that the parents or guardian of a child would pay a craftsman to take on their son or daughter for as much as nine years.
In the 17th Century, apprenticeships began to provide training for poorer, illegitimate and orphaned children, giving those from disadvantaged backgrounds access to training.
Apprenticeships went through many changes through the centuries until the government began to see them as a vital way to make sure the country didn’t face skill shortages.
In 1994 the government introduced the modern apprenticeship (now known simply as apprenticeships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) with the aim of creating a high-calibre workforce. They do this by funding employers to take on apprentices, who are paid to train.
Apprenticeships are nationally recognised training programmes which mix on the job training in a real workplace with learning in a college or other training institution. Essentially, they are set of qualifications also referred to as a framework developed by Sector Skills Councils.
For many apprentices this means learning the theory behind their trade on a day-release basis, which they can then take back into the workplace to put into practice. Apprentices work under the guidance of their employer to develop these skills, and their progress is monitored along the way.
Apprentices must be paid at least £2.50 an hour (though many earn more) and must work at least 16 hours a week. The amount an apprentice earns and the time they spend in the workplace depends entirely on the industry in which they are training.
Modern apprenticeships can take anywhere between 12 months and four years to complete, during which time apprentices study towards work-based qualifications like National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) relevant to their jobs.
The Modern apprenticeship is open to anyone aged 16-years-old and above, the only condition is that you must not be in full-time education. Each apprenticeship will have its own entry requirements depending on the job and level of study.