How does an apprenticeship work?
You would be employed to do a real job while you are studying for a formal qualification, you would usually be at college one day a week or a month and working full time the rest of the time. Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you would have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or to progress onto the next apprenticeship level.
The specifics of what you would learn during your apprenticeship depends on the role that you are training for. However, apprentices in every role follow an approved study programme, which means you would gain a nationally-recognised qualification at the end of your apprenticeship.
• Functional skills - GCSE level qualifications in English, Maths and IT.
• National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) - from level 2 (comparable to five GCSEs) up to level 5 (similar to a postgraduate degree).
• Technical certificates - such as BTEC, City and Guild Progression Award etc.
• Academic qualifications - including a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) foundation degree or the equivalent of a full Bachelors degree.
You will also be constantly developing your transferable skills, which are highly valued by employers. These include communication, teamwork, problem solving, as well as knowledge of IT and the application of numbers.
Pay rates and working hours
If you are either aged under 19 and an apprentice, or 19 or over and still in your first year as an apprentice, you will be entitled to the apprenticeship wage of £3.70 (from April 2018). Apprentices aged 19 or over and who have completed their first year will be able to claim the National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £5.90 per hour (for those aged 18-20) or £7.38 (21-24). The minimum wage rate is reviewed yearly each April.
This pay rate is stated as a guideline - some employers will pay you a higher wage. You are also entitled to sick pay and holiday.
Your working hours will vary depending on your employer, this is usually between 30 – 40 hours per week. Typically, you would work between 35 and 37.5 hours per week. The sector you are entering will determine your daily working hours; while most apprentices can expect to work a 9am-5.30pm day with an hour's break for lunch, those in hospitality or healthcare roles, for instance, should expect to work antisocial shifts.