Parent's Guide to Apprenticeships
An apprenticeship is a great way to gain both experience in the workplace and training. With the increase in university fees and the removal of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), it might be a better way for your child to gain qualifications.
What is an Apprenticeship?The Sector Skills Council has developed the apprenticeship into a "framework". This is a set of qualifications aimed at entering the workplace. This is generally comprised of three parts:
1. A National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) which is Level 2 for an apprenticeship and Level 3 for advanced apprenticeships.
2. A technical certificate.
3. Key transferable skills.
An Apprenticeship also includes a module on employment rights and responsibilities.
The student gains the practical experience from the employer, to test the skills learnt from the college or learning provider. Training can be in the workplace or a workshop or in the classroom, depending on the course and the learning provider.
The framework means that your child will get a range of qualifications as they progress through their education and training. The "framework" comprises of (1) skills; (2) competence and (3) a technical element.
Depending on the job that your child is employed in, these strands are sometimes accompanied by extra qualifications to give the most relevant skills and knowledge.
Types of ApprenticeshipsThere are over 1,000 apprentice job roles available, in a range of employment sectors. Many different types of apprenticeship are available from accountancy to engineering and veterinary nursing to mechanics, which generally fall into intermediate, advanced and higher level. Apprenticeships are available in all sectors and industries throughout England.
The advantages of an ApprenticeshipWorking on the job whilst training can:
- Pay more financially
- Help work more effectively
- Help to move up the ladder
- Give new challenges and experiences
- Existing skills and knowledge are recognised and can help you gain a qualification faster
- Give better job security
- Help to gain skills and knowledge which can be used across a range of jobs and industries
- Give additional support and advice
On average, over the course of their careers, apprentices earn £100,000 more than those without.
Additionally, if your child is keen on attending university then it is worth noting that some apprenticeships attract UCAS points or allow an apprentice to study for a Technical Certificate. At the end of the apprenticeship the student can carry on working or go on to higher education at college or university. They may even get a promotion.
The Government is working to ensure that apprenticeship qualifications can contribute towards higher education.
How Long Does it Take?The length of an apprenticeship varies according to the course and qualification being obtained, the sector or industry and any prior skills levels of the apprentice. In general, an apprenticeship can take anything between one and four years to complete.
Similarities to a Normal JobLike with most jobs, your child will be given at least 20 days' holiday plus bank holidays, unless the job specifically requires employees to work during these times. In terms of getting an apprenticeship the application process is again like any other job, an application followed by an interview process, plus in some circumstances, testing to ensure that your child is right for the role.
Entry Requirements of ApprenticeshipsApprenticeships have different entry requirements but in essence, you child must be:
- aged 16 or over
- living in England
- not already be in full-time education
Pay in ApprenticeshipsAll apprentices will be paid a minimum of £2.50 per hour following the National Minimum Wage which came into force on 1 October 2010. This will be increased to £2.60 per hour from 1 October 2011. This however, may differ in the agricultural sector. As the apprentice's skills develop, this wage can increase. Research shows that some apprentices are earning an average wage of £170.00, before tax, per week.
The full National Minimum Wage rate for those aged 18 to 20 years must be paid when your child reaches 19 years-old and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship.