Everything you need to know about apprenticeships
Not all teenagers want to go to stay in full-time education when they finish school.
Some want to get straight into work and earn a living - and they can do this by taking an apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme where you can earn a recognised qualification, gain practical experience and earn while you learn.
They are a fantastic way to progress young people into a career that they love and there’s lots of different types across plenty of industry sectors.
Apprentices study for their qualifications while working and learn the skills needed for the job they are doing. A huge 90% of apprentices remain in employment once the duration of the apprenticeship has finished.
They earn a wage and are entitled to holiday pay and other benefits. The national minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.30 per hour. Although this may sound low, don’t be put off as a lot of companies will pay more than this. Some employers will help with travel costs too.
If you want any advice on pay, you can contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368 or visit www.gov.uk
There are hundreds of options available in lots of different sectors - from engineering to journalism, customer service, marketing, veterinary nursing, catering, music production, business administration, graphic design and many more.
How to get started
You can apply for an apprenticeship if you are 16 and over and live in England. The qualifications you need to get on an apprenticeship are five GCSEs including Maths and English at grades A to C or functional skills at level one.
If you don’t have these qualifications don’t panic, companies like Kent Training and Apprenticeships can help to improve your maths and english qualifications either through joining its Work Ready Extra programme or attending one of its skills centres.
Kent Training and Apprenticeships offers 12 weeks of work experience before applying for an apprenticeship. This will help give you the best chance of getting the job you want.
What are the different levels of apprenticeship?
There are four levels to apprenticeships and there are different entry requirements depending on the job and sector.
Intermediate: Entry level - equivalent to five GCSE passes
Advanced: Supervisor level - equivalent to two A Level passes
Higher: Manager level - can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree.
There’s also a new degree apprenticeship which can lead to a full undergraduate degree as part of the apprenticeship.
How long does it take?
It will depend on the level of apprenticeship but usually takes between one and four years to complete. All apprentices should work for at least 30 hours a week.
As well as working you may be required to go to college for one day a week or more to study, depending on the apprenticeship you are undertaking. There are usually mandatory units that must be completed and other units to complete to suit the practical side of the job.
On the job training in the skills employers want.
Learning at a pace suited to the person doing the apprenticeship.
Entitlement to 20 days minimum holiday pay, sick and maternity pay.
You can get an NUS student discount card and get the latest offers and money-off discounts.
Avoid debt from student loans as the government covers the cost of the training and you’ll be paid by your employer.
For information and advice go to https://www.kenttrainingandapprenticeships.co.uk/apprentices/what-we-do/apprenticeships/