The jobs market, as you will have heard or experienced, is tough these days. More people are competing for fewer job vacancies, making it more important than ever to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
So what are employers looking for? Qualifications, sure, but when you're competing against other well qualified candidates you'll want to give yourself the edge, and a Higher Apprenticeship could help.
What are they?
Higher apprenticeships are similar to Intermediate and Advanced level apprenticeships except that they involve gaining qualifications at degree level. While gaining work experience with a major employer you work towards a level 4 or 5 qualification. These qualifications are classed as higher education and are highly regarded by many employers as they have been designed by employers and (in some cases) are partly taught by them.
In some cases you can work towards an academic qualification like a foundation degree. Some of the UK's most established and respected companies offer these types of courses. For example, Rolls Royce say:
“If you can demonstrate the right commitment and enthusiasm for a career in a leading edge engineering environment, our Higher Apprenticeship will see you benefit from:
- On- and off-the-job practical training, using one of the largest and most professional training providers in the country
- Training and experience on world class technologies and processes
- NVQ Level 4 in Engineering Leadership
- Key Skills level 3.
- A competitive salary
- The opportunity to work alongside some of the best engineers in the world
- Opportunities for progression within our Engineering function or in a variety of other functional disciplines
- Continuous professional development towards Chartered status.
In doing so, it will allow you to develop academically to at least foundation degree level, with opportunities for honours and higher.
To join our Higher Apprenticeship programme, you will need one of the following:
- Minimum three A Levels, grades A-C (including Maths and Physics/Chemistry)
- BTEC National Diploma in science/engineering related subject - grade at least a Merit
- Equivalent qualifications.
We'll also be looking for evidence of team skills, as well as a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for developing a career in engineering.”
What do they offer me?
Individuals benefit from doing an Apprenticeship because they ‘earn while they learn’, getting paid a wage; while also gaining recognised qualifications and work experience through being employed.
While the average gross weekly pay for apprentices in England is £200, London Economics calculated that the lifetime benefit of achieving a Level 2 (Intermediate) Apprenticeship was extra earnings of between £48,000 and £74,000. The equivalent figure for a Level 3 (Advanced) Apprenticeship was between £77,000 and £117,000.
Still under development
The Government announced in June 2012 support for the development of a further 4,230 new Higher Apprenticeships in sectors that include aviation, low carbon engineering, legal services and space engineering. We will also see the first ever Apprenticeship at Master’s degree level with the development of an Accountancy Apprenticeship that will give the apprentice chartered status within the profession.
They claim that “ For individual learners, Higher Apprenticeships give unique access to employment opportunities and the chance to develop valuable high level professional skills.”
With 14 new “frameworks” having been launched in 2012 already, Apprenticeships range from traditional subjects such as Nursing, IT, Horticulture and Electric Vehicle Engineering through to new industries such as Life Science, Fisheries Management, Legal Services and Health (Informatics).
Higher apprenticeship frameworks currently being developed include:
- Facilities Management
- Higher Apprenticeship pathway for commercial airline pilots
- Engineering Environmental Technologies
- Human Resource Management
- Employment Related Services
- Retail Management
- the Public Relations Industry
- Legal Services
- Accounting and Professional Services
- Hospitality Management
- Social Care
- Creative Industries with pathways in Advertising, Creative & Digital
Media and Fashion & Textiles
- Project Management
- Systems Operations and Management (Waste Management/Water)
- Utilities Network Management (Water)
- Utilities Engineering Operations (Power)
- Providing Financial Services – pathways in Insurance and Banking
- Sustainable Built Environment
- Energy Engineering
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Civil Engineering
- Building Services and Engineering
- Space Engineering
- Science and Engineering Research and Development
Want to know more?
- Look for related Jobs and Courses
- Find case studies of school leavers who have taken this route.
- Read one of our free careers resource magazines.
- Get help! Visit our careers advice forum or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further reading >>