bigstock-Apprenticeship-Cocept--30654770WHY CHOOSE AN APPRENTICESHIP?

If you feel ready to start work and you’re keen to learn, gain skills and qualifications while earning a salary then this could be an option for you. There are some careers where an Apprenticeship can be the best route in eg: vehicle work, hair and beauty, childcare, engineering, construction and finance / office work.


Apprentices are either employed directly by an employer or through a training provider who will link you to a company looking for an Apprentice. Usually there is an induction period to help you to settle in then you would be working alongside other employees and be trained while you work.


Foundation Apprenticeship – NVQ level 1 or 2 = GCSE ‘s

Advanced Apprenticeship – NVQ level 3 =  2 A levels

Higher Apprenticeship – NVQ level 4 = 1st 2 years of a degree / HND

Degree Apprenticeship – NVQ LEVEL 5 = to a full degree


You’ll also be attending either a college, training centre or university for further training and to help you to gain your qualifications. This could either be on a day release basis where you work for 4 days and spend one day a week at college or block release where every few weeks you’ll spend a week at college.


This will depend on the Apprenticeship level you’re applying for as well as the type of work you want to do.

Foundation Apprenticeships – you may need to sit a numeracy and literacy test before being accepted.

Advanced Apprenticeships – usually some good GCSE’s or level 2 qualification Higher Apprenticeships – usually a level 3 qualification such as A levels or a BTEC National.

If you’re unsure that an Apprenticeship is right for you or you don’t yet feel ready to go straight onto an Apprenticeship then you may be able to do a pre-Apprenticeship programme which will give you the skills and confidence you may need to progress to the next step.


NVQ’s – On an Apprenticeship you usually work towards NVQ’s National Vocational Qualifications. There are different levels depending on the Apprenticeship you’re doing but the NVQ levels on an Apprenticeship usually range from 1 to 5.

Other Qualifications – for some jobs you may need other specific certificates such as Health and Safety or First Aid. You may also need to do some Key Skills that will help you to develop skills that employers look for such as English, maths, team work, communication skills and IT.


You’ll be paid at least the national minimum wage – see the Governments website for minimum wage as this changes each year.  However, the average wage for most apprentices is around £170 – £260 per week depending on the level of apprenticeship you’re on and the company you’re with.


Depending on the level you start on you may be able to go on to an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship. In most cases you will become a permanent employee with your company or you might decide to look for another job for promotion or to broaden your experience.


Although Apprenticeships are advertised all year round, for school / college leavers the majority of employers / training organisations recruit from November to July. This is when you’ll see most vacancies advertised. You can apply to training providers during the Autumn term by going on their website and making an online application or you can ring them up and have a chat first. They will then contact you to come in for an interview / group talk so that you can find out more about their Apprenticeships and what kind of company placements they have.

With employers who run their own Apprenticeships they will usually advertise from the Spring term onwards. You can either wait for the vacancy to appear on the Apprenticeship website or be proactive and look on their company website to find out if and when they’ll be recruiting. Note – Jaguar Land Rover advertise around October & their closing date is usually 31st December.

To find out all about Apprenticeships and to look for vacancies visit the National Apprenticeship website at To look for vacancies you usually need to register first and then look under ‘Search for Vacancies’.  See also the  Useful Websites section for other Apprenticeship related websites and guides.


See the article below from Plotr-Apprentices talking about their own experience of Apprenticeships.

Should I do an Apprenticeship?

Five apprentices give their advice

Whether it’s helicopters or hairdressing you’re into, there’s an apprenticeship for it – and more industries than ever are offering these structured earn-and-learn placements for young people who’ve decided university isn’t the right route for them. If you haven’t considered doing an apprenticeship, look at what these five apprentices have to say…


“I’m using my academic skills while earning a salary”

 Rachel Hoyle, 21, aerospace engineering apprentice 

Rachel loved school and was used to getting top grades, but wasn’t sure what to do next. All she knew was she wanted her career to start right away – and that she had big dreams! Advanced higher apprenticeships are designed to give ambitious school leavers the qualifications they need to match university graduates. Did she make the right choice?

Rachel says: “I was really unsure of what the future held for me! But I looked closely into apprenticeships versus university and what clinched the apprentice route for me was the fact that I could start my career and learn from experts in the field. I felt I could get involved in real work while still applying physics and maths – which are my favourite subjects.”

“I needed politics experience right away”

Dominic Woodbridge, 18, parliamentary apprentice 

Think everyone in politics has eight degrees and three PHDs? Not so. Dominic works at the House of Commons as an assistant to an MP (politician). After working hard at school he got excellent A-levels and was all set to head to uni – but at the last minute he picked the apprenticeship route instead. Why? 

Dominic says: “I wanted experience in politics as early as possible – and I knew that this was the way to do it. After my first three months I already had a much better understanding of what an MP does every day than I did before. I’m so convinced that apprenticeships are right for young people that I regularly return to my old school and talk to students about my experiences.”

“I hated college and uni – but now I have a future”

 Jignesh Madhavj, hair design apprentice

Jignesh tried college and university – and didn’t like either! But he knew he loved hair design so took up an apprenticeship at Jiggi Hair Stylist in Manchester. After six weeks he was cutting clients’ hair and entering hair competitions – including BBC3’s Celebrity Scissorhands! Now he has clients from as far as London and his supervisor says he’s put the salon “on the map”. How did he do it?

Jignesh says: “I put 100 per cent in every single day and I try to always walk home with a different skill. I definitely see my future being in hair design – I invest so much time in learning that I’m sure it will pay off. I just hope people realise I’ve chosen the right route – even if it’s not the academic one.”

 “I was bored in my job – now I’m asking for overtime!”

David Khan, 22, Argos warehouse apprentice.

David left home at a young age and began working as a delivery assistant at Argos. He had few aspirations and found his job boring. When he enrolled on to an apprenticeship with the retailer he had no idea how much things would change. What does he think of his job now?

David says: “I see my job at Argos in a whole new light. I was just stacking shelves and going home before, the apprenticeship gave me the push I needed to earn qualifications and progress my career. I loved it so much I asked for more hours. Now I analyse and adapt all the procedures and processes we have in the warehouse to make them more efficient. It’s working – results in the store room and on the shop floor are the best they’ve been in 10 years!”

“I have a skill that I can take anywhere in the world”

Lucianne Hinch, upholstery apprentice

Throughout school, Lucianne was encouraged to go to university, so chose to do A-levels in English, French and politics. But at the end of her first year she realised A-levels weren’t for her and starting looking for a job instead. When she saw that her local upholsterers were looking for an apprentice she applied – even after the bosses warned her it would be very hard work. Did it pay off?

Lucianne says: “Yes! As an apprentice you get a proper insight into a trade and you learn everything there is about it. Now I’ve learnt my trade the shop has been able to expand and bring in more business – which is brilliant. And if I want to, I can take my upholstery skills and use them anywhere in the world! I’m so thrilled with my apprenticeship – I wouldn’t swap it for anything.”

Below Infographic taken from Guardian Careers

Infographic: is an apprenticeship right for you?