An Introduction to ApprenticeshipsPosted: 1st of March 2016 by
Back in the Middle Ages, apprenticeships saw children as young as ten start years of training under the eye of a master craftsman who would teach practical skills such as carpentry, blacksmithing, or fletching (making arrows). With few people getting any formal education at all, the apprenticeship trained these young people in different trades and crafts, lasting around seven years or until mastery was achieved, allowing necessary skills to pass from one generation to the next. While times have certainly changed, this basic concept of passing down skills and experience remains one of the under-pinning tenets behind apprenticeships. However, an apprenticeship in 2016 can offer much more than those of 1016!
Apprenticeships are available in over 170 different industries with many of the more traditional trades being joined by those in everything from accountancy to customer services, I.T., law, and more. With apprenticeships still offering the same hands-on experience, coupled with some classroom-based study, but will also provide a recognised qualification to prove you know your stuff.
Good apprentices offer a number of positives to employers – such as being enthusiastic and organised and so are sought after by businesses. Employers are keen on apprentices who have been able to prove they are trained for a particular role with all the necessary skills (see more of what makes a good apprentice here).
While there is the supported training element to an apprenticeship, in many other ways it is like a regular job – including offering a wage.
Apprenticeship pay averages about £210 per week and there is an apprenticeship minimum wage too. While this is not as much as you could expect to earn once qualified, there is also the fact that your tuition is all paid for – unlike for university students who are paying up to £9000 per year on tuition fees alone (You can see more about university compared to apprenticeships here).
While the apprentices of yesteryear may have expected to learn their trade over the course of seven years or more, today’s apprenticeships last for a period of between 1 and 4 years, depending on their level and complexity. Apprenticeships can often lead to further opportunities to study higher qualifications, including degree apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships start at level 2 (which is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at A*-C) and go up to Level 7 (which is equivalent to a master’s degree), so it is worth making sure you apply for the one to suit you. However, it is not just about the qualification, as apprenticeships have also been shown to be a great way into work - 90% of apprentices stay in work after finishing their training.
You have to be over 16 to apply for an apprenticeship, and you can’t already have a degree, HND, Level 4 or equivalent qualification. This means that they are perfect for those leaving school or college. In many ways applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for a normal job, although employers will understand that you are joining them to learn as well as work.
Entry requirements vary across different apprenticeship levels, but as the government has pledged to increase apprenticeship uptake to 3 million by 2020, there is every chance that there will be one out there to suit you!
You can search for apprenticeship vacancies right here on NotGoingToUni to get an idea of what is available or even apply for one today!
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