Apprenticeships offer you the chance to earn while you learn. You can start in almost any industry as an apprentice – from hairdressing to mechanics, engineering to accounting.
Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged 16 or above who is not in full-time education. You’ll receive a training programme that combines paid work with professional training, which will lead to a job-related qualification. Typically you will have one day a week that is dedicated to learning.
You progress through various levels as you complete your training, with salaries increasing on the completion of each level. They tend to be divided into four apprenticeship levels:
- Intermediate (level 2)
- Advanced (level 3)
- Higher (level 4, 5, 6 and 7)
- Degree (level 6 and 7)
You don’t necessarily have to complete all the levels listed above, it will depend upon the apprenticeship that you apply for.
No matter what level you’re working at, an apprenticeship means that you won’t have to pay a penny towards your tuition. If you’re between 16-18 years old the government will cover the whole of your costs, and if you’re older then it will be split between the government and your employer.
These programmes are perfect for school leavers who don’t want to continue in formal education and would rather learn through practical experience. It’s a great move if you know the type of career and industry you want to work in already.
While apprenticeships are usually marketed to school-leavers, there is actually no upper age limit for apprenticeships. It may be a bit more difficult, however, to get government funding if you’re over 25. Even if you’re a university graduate you can apply to an apprenticeship scheme, as long as your degree is not related to the apprenticeship you’re applying for.
In short, to apply for adults apprenticeships, you must meet four simple criteria:
- Not be in full-time education
- Be 16 or over
- Live in England
- Do not possess a related higher education qualification
The budget recently announced that the minimum apprenticeship wage will increase in April 2019 from £3.70 to £3.90, the biggest increase across all other minimum wage groups, so there really is no better time to begin your apprenticeships search.