Apprenticeships are increasingly becoming a popular option for young people considering their next steps. So why do an apprenticeship? Read on to find out.
'Is an apprenticeship right for my child?'
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a vocational, work-based qualification that will enable your child to simultaneously ‘earn and learn’. By doing an apprenticeship, your child will be learning essential work-related skills, all while gaining a nationally recognised qualification at the end.
Apprenticeships are also available in many industries, which means that doing one can enable your child to secure their dream job without the student debt associated with going to university.
How old do you have to be to do an apprenticeship?
The minimum age to do an apprenticeship is 16 years old, but there is no maximum age. For some students, doing an apprenticeship straight from school or college can be a brilliant way to get onto the career ladder straight away.
Is doing an apprenticeship less prestigious than a university degree?
Not at all. While this is a common misconception, apprenticeships and degrees are simply two different ways of learning.
How does it work?
During an apprenticeship, your child will work for a company and will be treated as an employee. However, typically this will be combined with studying at college or with a dedicated tutor on the premises.
Throughout their apprenticeship, your child will also complete assignments and tests to demonstrate what they have learned, and upon successful completion, they will gain their qualification at the end.
What are the entry requirements for an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are offered at different levels (2 - 7). Entry requirements vary, but typically each will require GCSEs at grade C+/4+ including English and maths for intermediate and advanced apprenticeships (although if your child does not have these, they may be able to obtain these during their apprenticeship) and the addition of A-levels or equivalent qualifications for higher and degree apprenticeships.
What qualifications do you get from an apprenticeship?
Here are what the different apprenticeship levels are equivalent to:
Intermediate (Level: 2)
The first apprenticeship level is equivalent to getting five GCSEs at grade C+/4+.
Advanced (Level: 3)
The second apprenticeship level is equivalent to getting two A-levels at grade E+, or the International Baccalaureate.
Higher (Levels: 4 - 7)
Higher apprenticeships guarantee a higher education qualification. This can range all the way from a level 4 qualification, which is equivalent to the first year of university study, all the way up to a master’s degree.
Degree apprenticeships (Levels: 6 - 7)
By doing a degree apprenticeship your child will get a degree. This could be a bachelor's degree or even a master's.
So, why do an apprenticeship?
There are many benefits to doing an apprenticeship. Just some of these include:
- No student debt
- Ability to earn money and study at the same time
- Gaining a nationally recognised qualification
- Gaining invaluable workplace experience
- Can be undertaken straight out of school
How do I know if an apprenticeship is right for my child?
Knowing whether an apprenticeship is right for your child depends entirely on what they are looking for in their next steps. For example, if your child is looking forward to moving away from home and having the university experience, then this option won’t be for them. But if your child wants to begin their career and start earning money straight away, then doing an apprenticeship can be a great option, especially if your child already has their eyes set on a particular career path or industry.
How to find apprenticeships
If your child would like to do an apprenticeship, have a look on the government find an apprenticeship website which lists thousands of vacancies at employers across the country. It’s also a good idea to look at the websites of employers your child might like to work for, as many larger employers operate apprenticeship schemes.
To find out more about apprenticeships, take a look at our apprenticeships section for students.