- about working for an employer and learning while you earn
- available throughout the UK in more than 180 different job areas but remember that not all job areas will be available locally
- very competitive - you must be clear about the job you want and apply for it in a similar way to applying for a job.
Apprenticeship pay rates
There is an apprenticeship minimum wage rate which came into effect in October 2010. This guarantees an apprentice a minimum wage of '2.50 per hour and applies to:
- Apprentices under 19
- Apprentices aged 19 and over, but in the first year of their apprenticeship.
Some employers will pay more than the legal minimum rates especially after the first year.
For more information on the National Minimum Wage you can go online. You can also call the pay and work rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.
On an apprenticeship you will work towards several qualifications:
- A National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). NVQs are based around a specific area of work and include practical skills and work-based assessment. You will take the type of NVQ that's about the job you are doing - at level 2 on an apprenticeship or at level 3 on an Advanced Apprenticeship.
- Functional skills qualifications in English, maths and ICT - the core bits of these subjects that are regarded as essential for workers, by all employers.
- You may also study for a technical certificate. These are vocational qualifications, such as Level 3 BTEC and City & Guilds awards, which teach the technical skills and theory you need for your job.
What is an Advanced Apprenticeship?
Most Advanced Apprenticeships offer you qualifications up to NVQ level 3 and so usually have level 2 entry requirements. For example, an Advanced Apprenticeship in engineering at technician level may require four or five GCSEs at grades A-C or equivalent qualifications such as a Higher Diploma, or an NVQ level 2.
A few Advanced Apprenticeships offer qualifications up to NVQ level 4 and so may require you to have entry qualifications at Advanced level or level 3 - such as A levels, Advanced level Diploma, or NVQ level 3.
How about Higher Apprenticeships?
There are some pilots taking place of Higher Apprenticeships for 18+ leavers or for those progressing from Advanced Apprenticeships. These are available in IT, engineering, and purchasing and supply and include qualifications at level 4 either an NVQ level 4 or a Foundation Degree. Higher Apprenticeships will require you to have entry qualifications at Advanced level or level 3 - such as A levels, Advanced level Diploma, or NVQ level 3.
Apprenticeship application tips
Go online and use the Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service, which allows you to search, apply, and then manage, applications for Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships offered by employers anywhere in England. If you would like help to use this site your Connexions Personal Adviser will be able to offer you support.
It's also a good idea to read the candidate guide - this guide gives you lots of help to apply for an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships (like other jobs with training) - attract lots of interest and competition and the employer and/or training provider will make a decision about you based on your personal qualities and skills. So it's a good idea to improve your job application skills.
What can I do after an apprenticeship?
- Advanced Apprenticeships- if you are on an apprenticeship at level 2 (Higher level) you may be able to move on to an Advanced Apprenticeship at level 3 (Advanced level) once you have completed level 2.
- Higher Apprenticeships - if you are on an Advanced Apprenticeship at level 3 you may be able to move on to a Higher Apprenticeship at level 4 once you have completed level 3.
- Education - if you have achieved qualifications at level 3 (Advanced level) you may be able to move on to a higher education course, for example a foundation degree or an honours degree. Some employers may continue to fund your studies right up to this level.
- Jobs - The majority of apprentices continue working for the company they trained with and may be able to work towards promotion through the company to a higher level. Because you will have worked towards work-based qualifications at a high level you will also be able to move to another company if you need to, to progress your career.