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What Is An Apprenticeship: So… what is an apprenticeship?!

11/07/2016 Sophie

Upon leaving school, you are forced to make a decision between carrying on your education and entering the world of work. Some people will know exactly what they want to do and won’t think twice about making their choice.

However, if you are unsure or uncertain about employment or education, this can be a rather daunting dilemma. Thankfully, there is an alternative…

Previously reserved for blue-collar industries such as construction or manual labour trades like bricklaying, apprenticeships are now a viable option for almost every occupation. But what is an apprenticeship?

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship will provide you with the experience, skills, and knowledge to perform a particular job while earning an income at the same time. Employers will pay you to carry out certain duties, which you progressively learn how to do via on-the-job mentorship, classroom-based teaching, and other types of training.

What are the typical entry requirements?

  • Level 2 Apprenticeships (Intermediate): Some GCSE subjects at grades A-C
  • Level 3 Apprenticeships (Advanced): Five GCSEs including English, Science, and Maths or a Level 2 Apprenticeship.
  • Level 4 Apprenticeships (Higher): Minimum of two A-Levels or a Level 3 Apprenticeship.

What are the qualifications you can receive?

  • Intermediate (Entry Level): Typically NVQ Level 2, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification like a BTEC
  • Advanced (Supervisor Level): Typically NVQ Level 3, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate like a BTEC
  • Higher (Manager Level): Typically NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification like a Foundation degree

Where can you work with an apprenticeship?

Regardless of whether you want to pursue a career in animal care of financial services, there are more than 190 different
professions to choose from with an apprenticeship. Multinational organisations with apprenticeship training schemes include Rolls Royce, Barclays, and Siemens.

Where will you learn with an apprenticeship?

The nature of training will depend on your employer. A typical scenario is spending four days with your employer and then one day at college. However, some organisations will do a ‘block release’ where you attend college for two or three weeks at a time. Larger organisations may also have their own training centres instead of sending you to college. Digital Futures apprenticeships offer the later option, in house training with lectures and industry experts.

How long do apprenticeships last?

Again, this depends on your employer, the type of profession you are training for, and the level of the apprenticeship. Also, the length of time taken to complete training will depend on your own ability. But generally speaking, apprenticeships can last from one to four years.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

  • Money: Research shows that apprentices earn, on average, around £73,000 more over their lifetime than other employees
  • Qualifications: Nationally recognised qualifications that will be valid for any employer
  • Training: Paid-for training to learn the skills and knowledge required to pursue a specific profession
  • Free: The employer is responsible for paying your wages, while government funded agencies cover the cost of training
  • Lifestyle: You can still live the life of a student but have more money to spend on the evenings and weekend

Where can you find out more?

Visit the apprenticeships section of the Digital Futures website for more information about what an apprenticeship entails and whether it is right for you.