What are Apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with studying for a related-qualification provided by a national or local college or University.
As an apprentice, students:
- Work alongside experienced staff and gain job-specific skills, both of which may lead to quicker job progression than for other employees.
- Earn a wage while they learn and increase their long-term earning prospects ("The average lifetime wage of an apprentice is over £100,000 more than those who go straight into employment".
- Study towards a related qualification.
Apprenticeships take 1 to 4 years to complete depending on their level, and go from the equivalent of GCSEs up to postgraduate degree level.
For a good overview of what an apprenticeship is, see the Prospects website guide to apprenticeships here: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/apprenticeships/what-is-an-apprenticeship
In Years 10 and 11, students should be considering their options for Post-16 Education. For those students that do not wish to stay on for 6th Form, a good apprenticeship is an excellent opportunity to develop their skills in a work-place setting.
For Years 12 and 13, an apprenticeship can be a great alternative to University, and can still result in a degree qualification.
Please note: the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not classify apprenticeships as "approved education or training" as it is paid employment. Therefore, apprentices' parents are ineligible for Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit for the apprentice. For any questions on this, please contact DWP.
Apprenticeships are not to be confused with Traineeships. Traineeships are designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship but who don’t yet have appropriate skills or experience.
A traineeship is essentially a work experience placement (where you are not paid, but you may receive expenses to cover travel / meals), plus you will be given additional support from an education provider with English and Maths (if you need it). Traineeships can last up to 6 months.
To learn more about Traineeships click here: http://getingofar.gov.uk/traineeships
To search for a Traineeship, click here: www.gov.uk/find-traineeship.
Where to search for an Apprenticeship
1. You can search on the National Apprenticeship Database
All education providers must advertise their apprenticeships via this government-backed database, so it is an easy place to start your search. You can also register and set up personalised alerts - so that you receive information about new apprenticeships specific to you, as they are loaded.
Note – employers do not have to use this website to advertise their apprenticeships. The employer may advertise and fill their vacancies before a training provider is even appointed, in which case the apprenticeship will never appear on this database.
Therefore, do NOT rely on this database alone, as you will miss opportunities.
2. Companies' own websites
As with any job search, you should also think about the type of organisation that you want to work for, and then search for vacancies via the organisations own websites.
If you really want to work for a particular organisation, and they are not currently advertising for an apprentice, it is worth contacting them to express your interest. Send a good cover letter and your CV, and ask to be kept on file. Due to the “Apprenticeships Levy”, many companies are being considering starting to offer apprenticeships, and your expression of interest may just kick start them into the process and get your foot in the door.
3. Use one of the many search engines
4. Use the school's Careers Coordinator and/or your Year 11 Careers Interview with Careers South West
Tell the Careers Coordinator what sort of apprenticeship you are looking for. The school receives notification of a wide range of apprenticeships, and if we are aware that a student is looking for something in particular we can bear that in mind when we receive the updates. Also keep your eye on our Twitter Feed.