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:
||21 – 22
|Rate per hour in the first year of apprenticeship
|Rate after the first year of apprenticeship (as of April 2021)
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.