Common questions about apprenticeshipsPosted: 2nd of March 2015 by
It’s almost apprenticeship week and you’ll be hearing a lot about them – we appreciate that you’ll have lots of questions though, so here are a few short answers to some of the most common questions about apprenticeships.
What’s the difference between an apprenticeship, a job and a vocational qualification?
An apprenticeship is a job. You are employed (normally 4 days a week) whilst studying for a formal qualification, usually one day a week with a training provider. Apprenticeships combine on the job training with classroom based study (usually provided by a local college or training provider). You are paid a wage and you get holidays (although not as many as you do when you’re at school or college – because you are in a job!
The difference between an apprenticeship and a full-time job is that you are training at the same time and gaining qualifications that are relevant to the job that you are doing.
The difference between an apprenticeship and a full-time school, college or university course is that you are working. You're doing the job, learning the hands-on skills in a real setting and being paid to learn.
What are the different levels?
Apprenticeships are available at different levels: intermediate, advanced and higher.
Intermediate Apprenticeships are roughly equivalent to five good GCSE passes.
Advanced apprenticeships are equivalent to two A-level passes.
Higher apprenticeships are equivalent to the first stages of HE, for example a Foundation degree.
What if I don’t have my English and maths GCSEs at grade C or above?
On an apprenticeship you will have the opportunity to further improve your literacy and numeracy skills, including on some apprenticeships, re-taking your English and maths GCSEs or an equivalent qualification, such as Functional Skills if you haven’t achieved a grade C or above in them.
How long will my apprenticeship last?
Apprenticeships vary in length and can last anywhere between one and four years. They have to be a minimum of 12 months however.
Why would I do an apprenticeship?
People choose to do an apprenticeship rather than take an alternative route, such as a full-time vocational college or sixth form course or A-levels for a variety of reasons and gone are the days when the apprenticeship was considered the ‘fall-back’ choice.
Apprenticeships have come ‘into their own’ and are recognised as a genuine and equal alternative to full-time college courses and the university option.
For many, the fact that they get to ‘do the work’, applying their skills rather than learning about them in theory is what appeals to them and for others, it’s the urge to get out there and start their career, earning a wage as they learn that makes them choose an apprenticeship over full-time education and 86% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship, 67% with the same employer.
To find out more about apprenticeships check out our Apprenticeship Guide on our advice page.
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