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Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships give you practical on-the-job experience, essential learning tools and all-important qualifications that will last you a lifetime, wherever tomorrow takes you. An apprenticeship is a real job.

If you’re unsure of what to do now you’ve finished school or college, or you’re a professional looking to re-qualify or upskill, an apprenticeship could be for you. As a paid job opportunity, apprenticeships give you practical on-the-job experience, essential learning tools and all-important qualifications that’ll last you a lifetime, wherever tomorrow takes you.

While navigating the world of apprenticeships might make you feel like your first time playing crazy golf, don’t worry. We’re here to give you the run down that’ll send your neon yellow ball flying through the crazy golf windmill, or to put it simply, get you into the apprenticeship of your dreams. So, if you’re ready to get out into the working world (on back into the working world), get paid and get more qualifications, then check out apprenticeships!

Whether you’re just starting on the career ladder, or looking for a new opportunity, there are a huge range of levels that could be suited to you. As an apprentice, you’ll spend 80% of your time with your employer and 20% of your time working towards your apprenticeship qualifications. These are most commonly offered to you by a training provider, university or college. At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll have:

  • Work Experience — You’ll have a real job with real responsibilities. Whether you’re an engineer, lawyer or business administrator you’ll be a valued member of the team, the same as anyone who isn’t doing an apprenticeship.
  • Mentor — You’ll get a workplace mentor who’ll have loads of industry experience to support you through your job and qualification – basically they’ll be the Gandalf to your Bilbo Baggins.
  • Qualification – No matter the level you’re working for, you’ll finish your opportunity with qualifications including those that are both practical and theoretical. These can be at a variety of levels, whether that’s the equivalent of GCSEs through to a master’s degree!
  • Workplace skills – You’ll be working alongside experienced people, supporting them, and learning as you go. You’ll learn soft skills like writing professional emails, being involved in meetings and how to engage in an office environment!

As we like to keep saying, an apprenticeship is a very real job. They have the same responsibilities attached to any other role and employers across the world respect them. That’ll give your mum something to brag to everyone at the next Christmas party. In fact, when surveyed employers believed apprentices were 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.

With the help from GetMyFirstJob an apprenticeship will grant you a national qualification, with a network of support available to give you all the help you need to do well.

Apprenticeships range anywhere from a Level 2, the equivalent of GCSEs to a Level 7, the equivalent to a master’s degree. You can work your way through them like you’re Mario trying to save Princess Peach, or simply start from whichever you most qualify for to upskill in your career. You may still be wondering what qualifications you’ll exactly gain with each, but in a nutshell:

Level 2 (Intermediate) Apprenticeships
Level 2 Apprenticeships are the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at 9 to 4 (or A* - C on the old grading scale). You could gain something such as a Level 2 NVQ or BTEC Diploma and Certificate.

Level 3 (Advanced) Apprenticeships
Level 3 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to 2 good A-Level passes. You could gain something such as a Level 3 NVQ or BTEC Diploma and Certificate.

Level 4 (Higher) Apprenticeships
Level 4 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a HNC, CertHE, Level 4 NVQ, BTEC or first year of university.

Level 5 (Higher) Apprenticeships
Level 5 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a DipHE, HND, Level 5 NVQ, Level 5 BTEC, foundation degree or second year of university.

Level 6 (Higher or Degree) Apprenticeships
Level 6 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a BA or BSc Degree, Graduate Certificate, Level 6 NVQ or Level 6 BTEC.

Level 7 (Higher or Professional) Apprenticeships
Level 7 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a Meng, MA, MSc, Level 7 NVQ, PGCSE or Postgraduate Certificate.

Working at least 30 hours a week, you’ll gain most of the training you need in the workplace. You’ll also go to college, university, a training provider or learn online to gain the vital skills and qualifications for your role.

All of your training will be designed with your new employer – it’s in your employers’ interest to help you succeed after all! So, just sit back and relax in the knowledge that you’re learning the right stuff to get you ahead. An apprenticeship is a great way to enjoy a successful start in work, and more importantly, life.

Every apprenticeship is different but each one is varied, stimulating and challenging. There are over 617 types of apprenticeships you can do at hundreds of different employers, with hundreds more in development. Discover the apprenticeship that's right for you.

Not just limited to picking up skills and gaining the qualifications you want, you'll also blossom in confidence and with the chance to learn while earning.

Considering an Apprenticeship?

There are lots of benefits to apprenticeships, here are our top 5:

  • Paid Training
    Not only will your organisation (or the Government) pay for all of your training, but you’ll be paid to do it. That means you could actually get paid to get your degree and have no debt!
  • Range of career opportunities
    There are over 500 different apprenticeships to choose from, in a range of industries. Whether you’re interested in law, marketing, construction or engineering, you’ll find something up your street!
  • Earn & learn
    As an apprentice, the minimum you’ll earn is £4.15 an hour, but we’ve seen some apprentices earn over £25,000 a year! You could also get other employee benefits like gym memberships, paid holiday and sick pay.
  • Great career prospects
    Employers think apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications. In fact, many large employers train their graduates and apprentices together!
  • Learn on the job
    There’s only so much you can learn when you just do a qualification. As an apprentice, you’ll also get to learn on the job - whether that’s designing amazing graphics, chopping vegetables or building engines!

FAQ

Why should I choose an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a great option for starting your career, particularly as an alternative to university. Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to complete a qualification that interests you, as well as developing on-the-job skills to further your career – an excellent combination.

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

To find the apprenticeship for you, simply search on GetMyFirstJob for the best opportunities. You can filter by industries, location, level, salary and when the vacancy was added to uncover the best role to suit your ambitions. It’ll only take a few clicks – even easier than that next UberEats delivery!

How much do I get paid?

You’ll be paid a salary when you do an apprenticeship. This includes your employer paying you when you’re working, studying and also when you’re on holiday! You’ll be entitled to National Minimum Wage for apprenticeships which is £4.30 in the first year of your apprenticeship regardless of your age. For example, an apprentice in the first year of an apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £4.30, no matter if they’re 16, 18, 43 or 72.

After the first year, you’ll be entitled to the Minimum Wage for your age group. That means an apprentice aged 22 who has completed the first year of their apprenticeship is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £8.36, meanwhile if you’re only 17 you’ll be entitled to £4.62.

We’ve put it in this table to help you understand what you’ll be paid:

  23+ 21 – 22 20 Under 19
Rate per hour in the first year of apprenticeship £4.30 £4.30 £4.30 £4.30
Rate after the first year of apprenticeship (as of April 2021) £8.91 £8.36 £6.56 £4.62

Many apprentices pay much more than minimum wage – we’ve seen apprenticeship wages as high as £36,000 in the past! Very nice, we’re even a little jealous!

How long do they last?

The minimum duration of an apprenticeship is 12 months. This allows you the time to get your qualification and the industry experience required for your End Point Assessment (the final sign off for your apprenticeship).

Apprenticeships at a higher level, such as degree apprenticeships, can last up to 6 years – you'll have a lot more coursework, but it worth it in the end! Apprenticeships also tend to last longer in industries such as law or building surveying, or if you're working towards chartered status and qualifications.

What is apprenticeship training?

As an apprentice, you'll spend 20% of your training working towards a qualification that you can apply to your day-to-day job. It depends on your provider and employer on what you'll be doing. You could study at work, at home in the next room over from your Nan watching Homes Under the Hammer or go to college or university to get your qualification alongside other hard-working apprentices. Some apprenticeships even involve you spending weeks away at a time doing block release. This is when you spend time only working on your qualification and not spending time at work.

What types of Apprenticeships are there?

Level 2 (Intermediate) Apprenticeships
Level 2 Apprenticeships are the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at 9 to 4 (or A* - C on the old grading scale). You could gain something such as a Level 2 NVQ or BTEC Diploma and Certificate.

Level 3 (Advanced) Apprenticeships
Level 3 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to 2 good A-Level passes. You could gain something such as a Level 3 NVQ or BTEC Diploma and Certificate.

Level 4 (Higher) Apprenticeships
Level 4 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a HNC, CertHE, Level 4 NVQ, BTEC or first year of university.

Level 5 (Higher) Apprenticeships
Level 5 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a DipHE, HND, Level 5 NVQ, Level 5 BTEC, foundation degree or second year of university.

Level 6 (Higher or Degree) Apprenticeships
Level 6 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a BA or BSc Degree, Graduate Certificate, Level 6 NVQ or Level 6 BTEC.

Level 7 (Higher or Professional) Apprenticeships
Level 7 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to a Meng, MA, MSc, Level 7 NVQ, PGCSE or Postgraduate Certificate.

What’s the difference between a Level 6 (Higher) Apprenticeship and a Level 6 (Degree) Apprenticeship ?

Though these may sound similar, they are actually very different from each other. Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

A Level 6 ‘Higher’ apprenticeship is part of the broad spectrum of academic and vocational qualifications from a Level 4, all the way up to a Level 7 – a Level 6 is just one of these. These tend to be shorter than a degree apprenticeship as they normally only take around a year to complete. Through this apprenticeship, you’ll get a Bachelor’s degree level qualification but this won’t be a degree.

However, a degree apprenticeship will enable you to achieve a full bachelor’s degree as part of the programme. These are highly competitive as they’re a relatively new type of apprenticeship which is still being developed by employers, universities and professional bodies.

What’s after an apprenticeship?

What you choose to do after your apprenticeship is really up to you – the options are endless! Many employers will ask you to stay after your apprenticeship as you already know the ins and outs of the business – often this comes with a pay rise too. When you complete your apprenticeship, you can choose to move to another organisation, or even move onto a higher-level course to further develop your skills.

Once you've started your apprenticeship you don't have to stay in employment, you still have the option to go to university or even take a gap year!

When do apprenticeships start?

Excluding degree apprenticeships, which tend to begin in September, January or March along with when most university courses start, apprenticeships start throughout the year so there are always opportunities available. If you want to find an apprenticeship you just have to search them online. At GetMyFirstJob, we are always uploading new and exciting opportunities to suit any ambition. Check them out here!

Bigger companies that recruit apprentices do have key hiring periods and will recruit well in advance. For instance, you may find a vacancy in March with a September start date. That means it’s good to start looking for opportunities well in advance. Check any potential employer websites or our employer bios to be sure as they'll all have different methods – you don’t want to be missing out!

Progression in apprenticeships

Opportunities for progression in an apprenticeship can be vast. In any size organisation you can quickly find yourself doing more duties; in smaller companies, this tends to be trying out lots of things you may not get the opportunity to in larger organisations. Whereas, in larger organisations, it’s often more likely that you could move into a senior or manager opportunity.

As you progress in your training and with the employer you can be given more responsibility. When you work your way up through the levels of an apprenticeship, you may even be given the chance to get a degree!

Some organisations also do rotations within the company which will give you an understanding and experience in loads of business areas. Think of RuPaul testing out her new drag queens – they want someone who has it all and can be the next drag superstar: comedic timing, acting ability and a great look. Just like these contestants you’ll have to be an All-Star. This makes progression a lot easier as you can really get to grips with the entirety of the business you work in.

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Your first steps into the world of work for Apprenticeships, Degree Apprenticeships, Work Experience & Graduate Jobs