What is an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship offers the opportunity of a job alongside training (otherwise known as an apprenticeship standard). You can start an apprenticeship any time after you have finished Year 11 and there is no upper age limit.
As an apprentice, you are an employee with the same employment rights and responsibilities as any other employee in the organisation. In most cases, you will work at least 30 hours a week.
All apprenticeships include elements of off-the-job training, this is usually 20% of your working hours. For example, if you work five days a week, you may spend one day working towards your apprenticeship standard.
By the end of your apprenticeship, you will not only have an apprenticeship qualification, but you will also have work experience in the sector you are in.
Why Do an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a great way to kick-start your career. Although the minimum wage for an apprenticeship may be lower, your prospects of higher earnings in the future can be accelerated.
Here are some of the other reasons you may want to consider an apprenticeship:
- You can earn while you learn.
- You won’t pay any training fees (even if you do a degree apprenticeship).
- You will gain experience in the workplace.
- You will learn industry skills and gain a relevant qualification.
- You will be exposed to opportunities in the workplace.
- You will meet individuals within that organisation or sector.
- You will have the support of your employer, as well as the training provider delivering your apprenticeship.
- You will be able to get a student discount card.
When considering if an apprenticeship is right for you, it’s a good idea to speak to others about their experiences. Look at the video below to hear from our apprentice Tayla.
Help and Support
The Engagement Officer team can help you:
- Understand what an apprenticeship is and how they work.
- Work out which apprenticeships are right for you.
- Search and apply for apprenticeship vacancies.
They can also signpost you to other websites and services which may help your apprenticeship search.
More Apprenticeship Information
- Level 2
- 12 to 18 months
- Equivalent to five GCSEs grade 9-4
- Level 3
- 18 months to 2 years
- Equivalent to two A Levels
Higher and Degree Apprenticeships
- Levels 4 to 7
- 2 to 6 years
- Equivalent to HNC and upto Masters level
The minimum wage for an apprentice in their first year is £4.30 per hour.
After the first year, apprentices aged 19 or over are paid the National Minimum Wage for their age bracket.
Visit GOV.uk for more information about the UK minimum wage.
Apprenticeship entry requirements will vary for each vacancy. Dependent on the type of apprenticeship or level of qualification, there will be different qualifications and skills required. You should be able to find these on the job description or vacancy advert.
You may be asked to have GCSEs in English and Maths at grades 9 to 4. If you don't have these grades, you may be required to undertake English and Maths (GCSE or Functional Skills) as part of your apprenticeship.
If you are concerned about meeting the minimum requirements, you should talk to the training provider whose details should be included on the job advert. They will be able to advise if there is any flexibility with the entry requirements.
If you are struggling to get an apprenticeship, work experience and volunteering can help strengthen your application. To find more information about volunteering and work experience, visit our information page [link to volunteering and work experience].
Unlike colleges and sixth forms, apprenticeship vacancies are advertised all year round. However, peak times tend to be from May to September.
The best way to find an apprenticeship is to register on relevant websites. These include ApprenticeKent and the GOV.UK Find an Apprenticeship website. You can search for vacancies within your area and interests.
You can apply for an apprenticeship in the same way as you would apply for a job vacancy. They can be competitive, so you should apply for multiple vacancies. Employers will post vacancies every day, so check websites regularly.
You can also look at employers' websites directly, particularly for large employers. Also try following them on social media to keep up to date with the vacancies they are advertising.
Once you have applied for an apprenticeship vacancy, the training provider and employer will review your application. This is to see if you meet the minimum requirements to be invited to an interview.
If you are shortlisted for interview, you will receive a call or email. Therefore, answer your phone, listen to voicemail messages, and regularly check your emails, including your junk/spam folder.
It’s also worth remembering, that with an apprenticeship, you may be contacted in the first instance by the training provider, rather than the employer so make sure you keep a record of the vacancies you have applied for, including who the training provider is.
If you are considering an apprenticeship and would like to start applying, here are some key tips to remember.
- If you're under 18, you will also need to apply for an alternative post-16 option, as a backup, until you secure an apprenticeship.
- Do not use an inappropriate email address, the best practice is to use: email@example.com. If you require a number in your email, use your year of birth or current age.
- Ensure your voicemail message is appropriate, as potential employers will phone you and may judge you based on this first impression.
- Do not use your school email address for applications, as schools may remove your account when you leave.
- If you have no previous employment/work experience history, your school is likely to be used as a reference by the employer. Therefore, consider your attendance and behaviour at school.
- Ensure that your application, covering letter, and CV has been proofread by multiple people, to maximise your chances of being shortlisted.