What is an Apprenticeship?

You might already know that an apprenticeship is a paid period of training that allows you to learn a particular skill or set of skills. You also might already know that an apprenticeship can last between one and four years. If you didn’t already know, then you do now!

Ok, so we have our dictionary definition, but a few questions still need to be answered:

  • What will you be doing on your apprenticeship?
  • How can you get involved?
  • Why would you want to do an apprenticeship?

What are my options?

It may shock you to know that you don’t have to live in a house with a bunch of arrogant, expensive-suit-wearing entrepreneurs, in order to become an apprentice. Indeed, Sir Alan Sugar is not the only person offering apprenticeships this year!

Apprenticeships can be undertaken in a huge number of different sectors and industries, from agriculture, law and engineering to education, retail and art. The usual method of entry is through a standard application and offer process, i.e. candidates apply for a specific position and successful candidates are offered an apprenticeship. In exchange for working as an employee on a relatively low wage, you will be trained to learn a new skill.

Sounds interesting! Tell me some more details!

The amount you get paid will depend on the level of skill you possess and the industry you choose for your apprenticeship. Understandably, your skill level is going to be zero when you first start out, but over time you will improve and so will your wages. This brings us neatly onto the subject of the three broad levels of apprenticeships.

The three levels are as follows: apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships. It can take up to four years to reach the skill level required for a higher apprenticeship.

Alright, how much will I get paid then?

As an apprentice you’re guaranteed at least £2.73 per hour, though it’s not uncommon to be earning in the region of £150 to £250 per week. That means you can expect a salary range of between £4,940 and £13,000.

It may not seem like a huge amount of money, but your counterparts at college, sixth form or university are going to be earning much less during the same period and many will be accumulating debt; especially when you consider that university fees cost up to £9,000 per year.

Sounds cool! What level of commitment will I need to have?

All in all, an apprenticeship is kind of like doing one to four years’ worth of practical lessons, where you will also get paid. However, if you muck about, you will lose your job and your chance to progress. You will have to work hard to succeed, but once you have completed your apprenticeship you will be equipped with a great new skill-set, a clear path for progression and fantastic career prospects.

If you are interested in looking for apprenticeships in your area, we recommend that you check out the AllAboutCareers Apprenticeships Job Board or use the database from the National Apprenticeship Service.

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