What Is An Apprenticeship?Posted: 3rd of June 2015 by
Apprenticeships are big news in politics with pledges to ensure there are quality opportunities for school-leavers and those leaving sixth form college without going on to university. While university remains a popular destination for many, apprenticeship uptake has also been steadily on the rise. However, there is still a lot of confusion as to exactly what an apprenticeship is, and what you can expect to get out of it. This includes notions that apprenticeships are for those who are not ‘clever enough’ to get into university and that they are only for people who want to go into manual roles. There is also confusion as to how to apply for an apprenticeship, especially when compared to more academic routes. The first thing to understand is what an apprenticeship actually is.
At the most basic level, an apprenticeship is like a regular job where you are also given structured training over a set period of time. There are different levels of apprenticeship that require different qualifications to apply for them, but ultimately, an apprenticeship will offer you vocational training as you work for an employer and also often receive set time out to study in a classroom environment. Unlike with a university degree, you will also be paid while you learn.
Pay rates for apprentices are not generally comparable for those offered to fully-qualified employees, which can sometimes lead to complaints that an apprenticeship is just cheap labour for employers. However, this is not the case, as an apprenticeship should really be considered to be training with a wage, rather than a job with some training attached!
An apprentice will receive a qualification once the course is completed, with many going on to employment with their training provider – with a wage comparable with other full-time employees. In fact, statistics show that those who complete apprenticeships are likely to earn more than their recent university graduate peers, or those who didn’t do any training at all!
When it comes to choosing an apprenticeship, the options are far wider than you might imagine. It isn’t all just manual work as some might believe (although there are plenty of high-quality apprenticeships in this area too!). In fact, a growing number of businesses are recognising the benefits of training and offering real workplace experience to young people, and a recent survey by Kaplan showed that 7% of employers in 2014 said they didn’t intend to recruit any university graduates at all!
The final real distinction between an apprenticeship and an academic route like university is that it is not just about grades. When you apply to university, you will generally be given an offer with the premise that if you get the grades you are in. An apprenticeship is more like applying for a regular job. You will need to fend off the competition just as you would for getting any other job, so be prepared to work on an application, and maybe even attend an interview.
The application process may seem a bit off-putting for some, but the fact is that an apprenticeship application could offer you a real head-start in the workplace, and even university students will have to apply for a job eventually!
While these are the basics of apprenticeships in 2015, we have plenty more information about apprenticeships across the website – you might, for example, want to see these other blog posts:
When you are looking for an apprenticeship, or your first job, it’s probable that most of your attention will be focused on landing the role. ...
Applying for an apprenticeship can be a very competitive process and many organisations use video interviews as an initial screening process. Most...