What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. An apprenticeship programme is a package of nationally recognised qualifications covering practical job related learning, theory and understanding, and English and maths.
Apprenticeships are a great alternative to university, as they enable you to study a skill, gain a qualification and earn a salary all at the same time! Many employers are in need of skilled and qualified individuals with the aptitude to do their job. In doing an apprenticeship you will learn first-hand, work based experience and you may also spend usually one day per week at Wirral Met College to help you study towards your qualification. Apprenticeships can start at any time during the year.
There are different levels of apprenticeships to provide you with a range of different qualifications. Apprenticeships are also available to suit many different career paths. Wirral Met College offers over 100 different apprenticeship frameworks; from business administration, accounting, cleaning, hairdressing, IT to construction trades, retail management and science.
The three levels of Apprenticeship:
- Intermediate Level Apprenticeship Level 2 which equates to 5 good GCSE qualifications
- Advanced Level Apprenticeship Level 3 which equates to 2 ‘A’ Level qualifications
- Higher Level Apprenticeship Level 4 which equates to a HNC Level qualification
It is important to understand that an Apprenticeship is not a qualification in itself, but is a framework that contains a number of qualifications.
Apprenticeships contain the following elements
- A Competence Element – such as a Certificate or Diploma at Level 2, 3 or 4
- A Knowledge Element – attendance at college may be required
- Functional Skills in English, Mathematics and in some cases ICT at the required Level – attendance at college may be required
- Employee Rights & Responsibilities
- Personal Learning & Thinking Skills
Did you know?
Anyone above the age of 16 can sign up and become an apprentice, they are not only available for young people. Even if you are already employed, talk to your employer and discuss the options to sign up to an apprenticeship programme, so that you can develop your skills and improve your prospects.
Do I get paid?
Yes, all employed apprentices will get a wage. The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for an apprentice is currently £2.73 per hour*. However, as skills develop, many employers tend to increase wages – in fact; research has found that apprentices earn an average of £170 net pay per week. The apprentice NMW applies to all 16 to 18 year olds and to those aged 19 and over in the first year of their Apprenticeship.
If you reach age 19 and have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship your employer must pay you at least the full NMW rate for those aged 18 to 20. If you are already 19 and have completed the first year of your Apprenticeship you must be paid at least the NMW rate for your age.
What are the entry requirements?
The most important requirements are that:
- You must be living in England and not taking part in full-time education.
- You must be aged 16 or over
- You must be working and have a contract of employment (Minimum 30 hours per week)
What do I do now?
If you are employed you need to ask your employer if they will support you with an apprenticeship and ask the employer to get in touch with your local college for advice on Apprenticeship opportunities. If you are not employed you can check out the vacancies on the National Apprenticeship Vacancy Service website or visit the local college website. If you feel you are now ready to consider doing an Apprenticeship you can apply for Apprenticeship vacancies online using the National Apprenticeship Service recruitment system that lets you search for, view and then apply for Apprenticeships.