As employees of an organisation, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Apprentices also receive training (usually on a day-release basis) to work towards nationally recognised qualifications.
- earn a salary
- get paid holidays
- receive training
- gain qualifications
- learn job-specific skills
There has been a big change in the way apprenticeships are being funded at a national level. All employers with a wage bill of over £3 million a year have to pay 0.5% of their wage bill into the Apprenticeship Levy, this can only be used for training apprentices. As the result of this there is a rejuvenation of the national apprenticeship program underway.
The language around apprenticeships can be quite impenetrable to most people, in summary:
- Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2 apprenticeships) are equivalent to a GCSE course
- Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3 apprenticeships) are equivalent to 2 A Levels/BTECs
- Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4-7 apprenticeships) are equivalent to higher education certificates, foundation degrees, degrees and master’s degrees respectively.
We are seeing some very good apprenticeships coming through, including a number of higher apprenticeships, which include the opportunity to complete a sponsored university degree, and in some cases even earn a very competitive salary at the same time! Please watch your college emails for details. Apprenticeships are thus becoming a very attractive and competitive alternative to more traditional routes through universities and are certainly something to be aware of. It can sometimes be hard to find details of apprenticeships, the following websites provide further information about apprenticeships:
http://www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk/ (West Suffolk College, a range of local apprenticeships up to degree level)
http://www.camre.ac.uk/apprenticeships/ (Cambridge Regional College for level 2/3 apprenticeships locally)
http://youthoria.org/home/apprenticeships/ (run by Cambridgeshire County Council, this website also offers job opportunities and general advice and support to teenagers)
https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch (the Government database of apprenticeships)
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/16-18-choices/search-and-apply/post-16-apprenticeships (UCAS apprenticeship application site, also has advice and support on applying for apprenticeships)
http://www.jobcentreguide.co.uk/cambridge-jobcentre (Job Centre website, mainly offers more traditional apprenticeships, but has a lot of advice on CV writing, interview skills, etc.)