What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships can give your son or daughter the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a real salary and gain a real qualification while gaining valuable workplace skills and experience.

There are three types of apprenticeship your son or daughter can apply for depending on their current skills and qualifications:

An apprenticeship is a real job with a set of qualifications called a framework which is developed by the appropriate Sector Skills Council.

What do they get?

On achievement of the qualification your son or daughter will be competent within that job role. The qualifications are:

  • A National Vocational Qualification (Level 2 – Intermediate, Level 3- Advanced, Level 4/5- Higher).
  • Key transferable skills.
  • A technical certificate such as a BTEC (that teaches underpinning knowledge for the NVQ and job role).
  • A module on employee rights and responsibilities.
  • A module on personal learning and thinking skills.
  • Other qualifications or requirements as specified by the particular job role.

Your son or daughter’s employer will provide the training in the workplace and the college or training provider will provide the required knowledge and skills training. The practical experience in the workplace will test the skills and knowledge gained away from the job.

Apprenticeships cover 1500 job roles in a wide variety of industries from engineering to accountancy, veterinary nursing to manufacturing and lots more. For a full list go to the types of apprenticeships page.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

There may be different entry requirements for apprenticeships depending on the job sector, but in general they are open to anyone over 16 years old who is not in full-time education.

Competition for places with employers can be fierce, so they will need to show that they are committed, and aware of their responsibilities to both themselves and the company who would employ them.

Where can you undertake an apprenticeship?

  • With any employer with an apprenticeship vacancy.
  • At any one time there are around 130-150 apprenticeship vacancies in Staffordshire. Some of the biggest and most well-known companies in the county and the country recruit apprentices – JCB, Finning and Jaguar Land Rover for example, as well as many smaller, well-established local businesses.
  • You can search online for current apprenticeship vacancies.

Costs associated with apprenticeships

You or your son or daughter should not be asked to contribute to the cost of completing an apprenticeship.

If your son or daughter is aged 16-18 years, The National Apprenticeship Service will cover the full cost of the training.

If they are aged 19-24, the National Apprenticeship Service will cover 50% of the cost and the employer would be expected to cover the other 50%.

There is no set rate of pay for apprentices, however all apprentices must receive a wage of no less than £3.40 per hour.

How long does an apprenticeship take?

Apprenticeships typically take between one and four years to complete, depending on the type of framework. There is no set time to complete it as they vary widely in content and size. The length of time taken will depend on the ability of the individual apprentice and the employer’s requirements.

Where to next?

Apprenticeships give young people the skills employers want and they give young people choices in their career. When your son or daughter finishes their apprenticeship they should be well equipped to follow their chosen career.

They can carry on working, possibly get promoted or go on to higher education, part time or full time, in a college, university, or in the workplace as a graduate apprentice.

For further information see:

Video: you can get a degree with an apprenticeship

Video: Staffordshire employers take on apprentices

Video: Staffordshire's employers and apprentices 

Word Document Video transcript (13 KB)

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