Every month Not Going to Uni’s advisers answer hundreds of questions from visitors to our website covering almost every conceivable subject. There are three subjects that clearly concern our readers the most: Eligibility, Pay, and variations on Should I drop out of uni or college? Here's a summary of the most popular apprenticeship Questions and Answers.
Increasingly, all sorts of people are recognising the advantage of gaining vocational qualifications that involve real work experience and are well-respected by employers. However, there persists some confusion over who can actually do an apprenticeship. Typical questions we receive on this theme are: 'I'm over a certain age, can I do an apprenticeship', or 'I am a foreigner, can I do an apprenticeship?' or 'I have already done a foundation degree, am I allowed to apply for an apprenticeship?'
The short answer is: Anyone can do an apprenticeship.
The long answer is: Anyone can do an apprenticeship, but… it’s all about the funding.
The Age Factor
Whilst an apprenticeship can be done at any age, for those over the age of 24 the government grants (or subsidies) for employers and providers is greatly reduced:
16-18 years 100% of the cost
19-23 years 50% of the cost
24+ years Just a contribution*
Whilst would-be apprentices over 24 are eligible for ‘up to 40%’ government funding for their training, the precise contribution varies from training organisation to training organisation and is highly dependent on factors like location or industry sector. Basically, it’s a lot more work for providers or companies to organise, and even if they can find a grant it can be very small, so there is a significant disincentive there for taking on older trainees.
So, for older apprentices (above 24 years), we recommend two possible routes:
1. Seek sector specific financial support rather than general Government support. For example, construction apprentice providers can potentially access funding through the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) or the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), which offers grants to SMEs recruiting onto their schemes.
2. Apply for apprenticeships on the basis that you will self-fund the training fees by getting a 24 years+ Advanced Learning loan.
The Status Factor
For an English apprenticeship, the rules are:
- You must be 16 or over
- Living in England (the residency rule is that you must have been ordinarily resident for at least the previous three years before the start of the apprenticeship).
- Not in full-time education
The prior education factor
If you've finished a foundation degree or higher, the funding factor kicks-in again. An employer cannot gain government funding for taking on apprentices who have already reached a Level 5 qualification.
On Pay and Conditions
So many questions about this but actually the rules are quite clear:
- You are entitled to the National Minimum Wage
25 and over
21 to 24
19 to 20
From April 2017
* Apprentice rate applies to those aged under 19 OR those aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship
Example: An apprentice aged 22 who has completed the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £7.05
- You will be paid for your normal working hours (minimum 30 hours per week), any training that’s part of your apprenticeship (usually one day per week) and Holidays (at least 20 days per year plus bank holidays).
- Employers can choose to pay more (to encourage applications from the best candidates)
Whether to drop out of Uni or college and do an apprenticeship
Despite our name, we are not against people going on to University or college – our philosophy is all about showing the many fantastic options available to those who wish to pursue other paths into rewarding lives and careers.
That said, if you are really unhappy with your course then it seems obvious that you should either swap to a different course if this is possible or just withdraw.
If you do opt for the latter option then yes, you can try for an apprenticeship. Dropping out does not affect your eligibility for doing an apprenticeship, but remember the funding issue! If you are over 19 years you are not automatically eligible for 100% funding for the training fees so this would be something to check out with any training provider. It’s also worth noting that it would have to be either an advanced or higher apprenticeship if you have completed year one of a degree.
Ten Most Popular Questions to NotGoingToUni’s advisers
10.Can I get an apprenticeship after I finish my BTEC level 3?
9. How long does it take to hear back from an apprenticeship interview?
8. Transferring from the Open University
7. I want to make a career change but I’m 22 and it’s difficult at my age, help!
6. I’m looking for an apprenticeship in film and television production or possibly radio
5. When to apply for apprenticeships and which ones to apply for?
4. Could I drop out of uni and do an apprenticeship?
3. If I’m foreign can I still apply for a UK apprenticeship?
2. Almost too old for an apprenticeship and under-qualified for an internship. Is there anything you could recommend?
1. Should I drop out of sixth form and take an apprenticeship instead?
Check out the Advice section on our website for more answers to questions from our readers.