Becoming an Apprentice

An apprenticeship combines practical training in a real job with study and education. When working as an apprentice you will gain strong experience working alongside knowledgeable staff, job specific training, earn a wage and holiday pay, and also study towards a qualification. The study time is typically one day a week.

Apprenticeships usually take between 1 and 4 years depending on their level.

Apprenticeships have educational levels equivalent to other qualifications. An apprenticeship can range from intermediate (5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C) all the way up to a bachelor’s or master’s degree equivalent.

In order to apply for an apprenticeship, you will need to be aged 16 or over, living in England and not in full time education. You can apply while you’re still at a school.

To apply for an apprenticeship you will need to search for a position using the ‘find an apprenticeship’ service, and sign in or create an account in order to submit an application.

There are different organisations managing apprenticeships in Scotland and Wales.

If you are unsuccessful when applying for an apprenticeship, you can ask for feedback. This is a great way to incorporate anything you learn into future applications to help ensure you have a better chance for next time.

If you feel that you were unsuccessful because of discrimination or that your treatment was unfair during the application or interview process, you can complain by contacting the apprenticeship helpline. You can call 0800 015 0400 or 0247 682 6482, or alternatively send an email to ntoahlds@prniehp.o.kainlepekapetcsisgvu.

You will be paid during your apprenticeship and you are entitled to the national minimum wage. The current minimum wage at the time of writing is £3.30 an hour, and applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over in their first year.

You must be paid at least the minimum wage if you are 19 or over and have completed your first year.

As an apprentice, you are to be paid for your normal working hours (minimum of 30 hours per week) and any training that is part of your apprenticeship (usually one day a week).

For holidays, you will receive at least 20 days paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.

For additional help and advice on pay and work rights, there is a free and confidential helpline available. Contact the Acas helpline for more information.

If you feel that you are not ready for an apprenticeship, you can apply for a traineeship course. This is a specially designed course for those who have little or no work experience in order to prepare you for an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months and is unpaid, although you may be reimbursed for things such as travel and meals.

You can apply for a traineeship if you are eligible to work in England, are unemployed or have little work experience, and are aged 16 to 24 and qualified below level 3 (advanced or 2 A level passes equivalent).

A traineeship will provide you with a work experience placement, and help with English and maths skills you if need it.

Photo by: Steve Wilson, “Business Woman” Sept 12, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution


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