What should I do after school? Is an apprenticeship right for me? What are my options? These are just some of the dilemmas which anxious school leavers face year on year.

As a parent of a child in this situation, you’ll also have your own concerns. If your son or daughter is considering doing an apprenticeship, here are answers to common questions which may have crossed your mind:

What exactly is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with studying for a nationally recognised qualification. There are almost 200 different apprenticeship frameworks available, which cover nearly every career you could think of.

How long do they last for?

An apprenticeship can take between one and four years to complete, but this can vary depending on the level being undertaken and the apprentice’s ability. On average, an intermediate apprenticeship takes around 12 to 18 months and an advanced apprenticeship around 24 months.

What are the different levels of apprenticeships available?

Apprenticeships are available at a variety of different levels, starting from GCSE equivalent right through to master’s degree equivalent, as shown below:

Intermediate (level 2) – 5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C

Advanced (level 3) – 2 A level passes

Higher (level 4, 5, 6 and 7) – Foundation degree and above

Degree (level 6 and 7) – Bachelor’s or master’s degree

What’s the difference between a traineeship and an apprenticeship?

Traineeships are designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job but don’t have the appropriate skills or experience. For this reason, they are seen as ‘work preparation’ training and usually last between 6 weeks and 6 months. This kind of work placement is not normally paid, unlike an apprenticeship.

What are the age restrictions for apprenticeships and traineeships?

Traineeships are designed for young people aged 16 to 23, whereas apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16.

 What will my son or daughter be paid whilst doing an apprenticeship?

The minimum wage for apprentices is currently £3.50, however this can be more depending on factors such as age, experience, sector and region. The most up-to-date figures can be found on the Government website.

In contrast to an apprenticeship, there’s no requirement for employers to pay those doing a trainee ship. However, employers will normally support trainees with their expense costs, such as transport and meals.

Find out more about the apprenticeships we offer


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