Apprenticeships FAQ

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is an opportunity to earn an income whilst learning a trade, working towards the relevant qualifications from the age of 16 upwards.

There are over 200 different types of apprenticeships with over 1500 different job roles meaning there is something for everyone.

They are considered the best alternative to higher education (i.e. university) as they not only provide the knowledge required to progress in a chosen career, but they also provide the relevant experience within an industry, making them perfect for anyone wanting to set themselves up for a bright future.


What does an apprenticeship involve?

As an apprentice you will earn while you learn.

All apprenticeship courses involve four sections; a knowledge unit where you will learn about your sector, a competence unit where you will be taught how to do your job properly, a unit on personal thinking and learning skills and finally a skills unit where (if necessary) you will acquire numeracy, literacy and ICT skills.


Where can I find out more about my apprenticeship?

You can learn more about your apprenticeship framework online and even search for the apprenticeship you are thinking about taking by visiting: http://www.afo.sscalliance.org/frameworkslibrary


What is a Framework?

A framework is the structure for your apprenticeship. This is set as a national standard which means that every apprenticeship, regardless of the awarding body, will contain similar qualification elements including Knowledge Qualifications, Competency Qualifications, Functional Skills, Personal Learning and Thinking Skills and Employer Rights and Responsibilities. For more information about frameworks take a look at the apprenticeships Funding Office website:http://www.afo.sscalliance.org/frameworkslibrary


How much are apprentices paid?

The national minimum wage for an apprentice is £2.65 per hour.   However, it is likely you will be paid more than this as research indicates that apprentices receive around £170 per week, which works out as £5.66 per hour (not including all your guided learning time).

If you are over 18 then this minimum wage only applies to the first year of your apprenticeship after which you are entitled to the full national minimum wage.

Capital Apprenticeships encourages the employers we work with to pay more than the minimum wage.


How long are apprenticeships?

The length of your apprenticeship will depend on which qualification you want to take and the level at which you study the qualification. The minimum period to qualify for funding is 12 months but some can last well over two years.  This will be agreed between the employer, the apprentice and one of our assessors at induction.


Are the skills I get from my apprenticeship transferable?

The answer to this question depends on the apprenticeship you are studying.  For example, an apprenticeship in customer services can be applied to almost every sector and industry as all businesses have customers.

Additionally, you may gain Level 1 and 2 qualifications in English, Maths and ICT with your apprenticeship. Not only are the skills you gain from these units transferable but you will also earn credits for them which can be used to apply for other courses and apprenticeships.


What are the Entry Requirements for apprenticeships?

There are no entry requirements for apprenticeships in terms of qualifications however, if you don’t have a qualification such as Maths, English or ICT at GCSE or diploma level, you may be required to take a small booster course alongside your current course to give you the skills necessary to do your job.

If you wish to do an apprenticeship with children or in a health care setting, you will also have to pass a Disclosure Barring Service check (this was previously a CRB check) to ensure that you don’t have a criminal record.

You also need to have been a UK resident  for more than 3 years and be working more than 30 hours each week to begin an apprenticeship.


Am I Too Old to do an apprenticeship?

There are no upper age restrictions on who can do an apprenticeship.  Providing you are above the age of 16 you qualify.

However, if you are over 18 years old you are not eligible for the 100% funding offered by the government.

As an adult apprentice you will earn the national minimum wage for apprentices (£2.65) for the first year of your course, after which you are entitled to the full national minimum wage for 18 year olds and over.

Capital Apprenticeships is looking to offer apprenticeships in London for adults, all of which include certification from either NCFE or CACHE. However, you may have to discuss financing options with your employer.


What Funding is Available for apprenticeships?

If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 and you don’t have GCSEs above grade A*- C, your apprenticeship will cost you nothing as the government will pay your employer and training provider any relevant fees.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 23 then then government will provide a loan for up to half your fees and the rest is normally paid by your employer (or if your employer is unwilling to pay, you may have to work out an employer loan which will result in a reduction in wages to repay it).

If you are above 24 then you aren’t eligible for any funding.   However, you can apply for student finance to cover your fees, or establish an employer loan with your boss.

For more information on funding see here


What are the Benefits of apprenticeships?

There are several benefits to starting an apprenticeship including:

  • Weekly salary
  • Package of qualifications
  • Real work experience
  • Relevant skills to jobs
  • No debt
  • Education and career progression opportunities
  • A 2007 survey showed that those with an apprenticeship earn around £100,000 over a lifetime than those who don’t
  • Some apprenticeships allow the employee to earn UCAS points for university


Should I be Taking an apprenticeship?

Everyone is eligible to take an apprenticeship and you are encouraged to consider it if you don’t have any qualifications apart from your GCSEs.

Additionally, an apprenticeship is a great way to springboard your career for the future. Or, if you are looking to change the sector of your job, then an apprenticeship is a good way of getting your foot in the door.

Research has indicated that the top three reasons for taking an apprenticeship are; to get a qualification, to progress in a career or to be paid whilst gaining a qualification. If you want any of these things, an apprenticeship could be perfect for you.

If you’re still not sure you can speak to a careers advisor by going to http://www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/ or by calling 0800 100 900


Will I be Happy on an apprenticeship?

The answer to this question is most likely yes.  Research has indicated that around one in three would give their apprenticeship a score of 10/10, and 70% of people gave their apprenticeship at least an 8/10.

Furthermore, around 8 of 10 people go on to be fully employed by the business which they did their apprenticeship with, meaning that the chances that you will come out of your apprenticeship with a full time job are very high.


Will I get Paid More with an apprenticeship?

Whilst on your apprenticeship, you may not receive any more money than you are on now as the minimum wage for apprentices is £2.65 per hour.

However, figures indicate that people who get a qualification from an apprenticeship go on to earn on average around £100,000 in their lifetime more than those who don’t, meaning that yes, in the long run you will be paid more with an apprenticeship.


What do the Levels of apprenticeships Mean?

There are four levels of apprenticeships, which are explained below:

Level 2

A level 2 apprenticeship is sometimes referred to as an intermediate apprenticeship. If you achieve a level 2 apprenticeship you have the equivalent of 5 GCSEs.

Level 3

Sometimes known as an advanced apprenticeship, Level 3 is the equivalent of 2 A level passes

Level 4

A level 4 apprenticeship is also known as a higher apprenticeship and if passed, it is the equivalent to a foundation degree or an NVQ at level 4.


I believe I have been Unfairly Dismissed From an Apprenticeship...

If your employment has been terminated by your employer and you believe there were no grounds to do so there are several things you can do. The first thing you should do is consult with your union (if you are a member of one) as it is possible that they will be able to sort the situation out and help you in terms of guidance and the next steps you should take.

If you aren’t a member of a union, or going to them didn’t help, then the next best thing would be to get in contact with a solicitor. A simple internet search will show any legal representatives within your local area.

However, bear in mind that if you have been unfairly dismissed there is a chance that you may not be able to go back to where you were working. If this is the case you should also begin to look at getting into a new apprenticeship scheme elsewhere.

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