future-talent.com aims to provide advice and career opportunities for school and college leavers looking for their next step. We bring together hundreds of opportunities and make it possible for young people to apply directly to a variety of organisations all across the UK.
Whilst there is great deal of information readily accessible regarding university and higher education, the advice presented to parents and careers advisors about apprenticeships is often lacking despite the huge investment that has gone into increasing the number and variety of apprenticeships available. Here at future-talent.com we hope to address that void below.
Apprenticeships are a way to get qualifications with little financial responsibility needed from the student or, as we know in most cases, the parents. As they are paid a wage on top of this, they become more independent and are eased into the working world with support around them.
Companies are keen to take on apprentices because they see it as a great way to nurture new talent. The government is keen to see more young people get qualified and into good jobs, and therefore fund the training part of the apprenticeship. Everybody wins.
Research also shows that on average, apprentices will earn over £100,000 more throughout their career than other employees. Additionally if they want to go on to further study afterwards, they will be eligible to do foundation degree or other higher level qualifications.
What types of apprenticeships are there?
Over 100,000 employers offer apprenticeship schemes and with around 200 types of Apprenticeships, and 1,200 different job roles to do them in, there is plenty of choice, but generally they fall into three different categories:
- Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to five good GCSE passes)
- Advanced Level Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A level passes)
- Higher Apprenticeships (lead to qualifications at NVQ Level 4 or, in some cases, a Foundation Degree)
Legislation came into effect in April 2012 stipulating that all apprenticeships are required to last a minimum of 12 months. However depending on the role and the company the length will vary.
You need to be 16 or over to apply, and although you are eligible to do the apprenticeship if you are over 25 or have a degree, you will not qualify to receive free training. The employer would therefore need to cover the costs of training.
What does the training involve?
When an employer takes on an apprentice, they agree to let the employee undertake training for one or two days a week. The training framework is set by the Sector Skills Council, and is made up of the following certifications:
- A National Vocational Qualification (Level 2 for Apprenticeships, Level 3 for Advanced Apprenticeships)
- Key Transferable Skills
- A Technical Certificate.
The learning provider will provide all aspects of the training to complete the apprenticeship, and the employer provides all of the work experience that puts the training into practice. Training will take place in a classroom, workshop or in the workplace, depending on the type of training.
What does the employer provide?
Whilst working for the employer, the apprentice must receive a wage of at least £2.65 per hour. A recent study showed that the average is around £170 per week, and in some roles up to £210 per week.
The employer may start to pay more once they are more qualified, and some employers will provide additional materials like books or equipment. Just like an employee, they will be entitled to holiday, pension contributions, and other benefits offered by the company.
Does this affect claiming for Child Benefit?
As apprenticeships are work based courses, you are not able to claim Child Benefit. Approved courses which count for Child Benefit are as follows:
- England - Foundation Learning Programmes (previously known as 'Entry to Employment'), Access to Apprenticeships and unwaged Programme Led Apprenticeships
- Wales - Foundation Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Skillbuild
- Scotland - Get Ready for Work (including West Lothian Council's Skills Training Programme) and Skillseekers
- Northern Ireland - Jobskills and Training for Success, including Programme Led Apprenticeships
The government website states that you can get Child Benefit until your child turns 20 if they're in eligible education. They must be accepted onto the course before they turn 19.
Courses that count
Education must be full-time (more than an average of 12 hours' supervised study a week) and 'non-advanced'. This includes:
- A levels
- NVQ/SVQ level 1, 2 or 3
- BTEC National Diploma, National Certificate and First Diploma
- SCE higher grade or similar
It doesn't include 'advanced' education, eg:
- a degree
- Diploma of Higher Education
- NVQ level 4 or above
- BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND)
- teacher training
For more information please visit www.gov.uk
Searching for the right apprenticeship
You can apply for apprenticeships through our website; feel free to browse through the vacancies below.
Further Study and Training- Is this as good as getting a degree?
Whilst courses undertaken will not be equivalent to a degree, they will give the student a qualification that contributes to their experience and CV, and generally makes them more marketable to employers.
The important thing to bear in mind here is that whilst most courses available are accredited and respected, there are a few that aren't, and before any decisions are made you need to make sure the one he/she wants to do is worthwhile.
Things to bear in mind:
- Who is the course provider?
- Have they got a good reputation?
- Are they affiliated with a well known company or college?
- what qualification do they receive at the end of it and what it is worth?
It will either be equivalent to a number of GCSEs or A Levels, be a standalone accreditation that will allow them to then work in a particular role, or be a certificate to show their knowledge of a specific subject. All have merit, but how useful it is will depend on what the student is aiming to get out of it, and of course what they want to do afterwards.