- Earning a salary.
- Getting paid holidays.
- Receiving training.
- Gaining qualifications.
- Earning job-specific skills.
Types of apprenticeships available
There are hundreds of job roles available and examples include accounting, animal care, teaching assistant, healthcare support worker, dental nurse, pharmacy technician, plumber, engineer, mechanic, ICT, retail, hair and beauty, plus lots more!
In the West Midlands, the following 5 apprenticeship types had the most opportunities in recent years:
1. Business, Administration and Law
For example, accounting technician, finance assistant, legal secretary, office junior, market researcher, salesperson, social media assistant, web designer, customer service adviser, HR assistant.
2. Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies
For example, car body repair, vehicle maintenance, tool maker, welder, software engineer.
3. Health, Public Services and Care
For example, early year’s worker, care assistant, nursery nurse, healthcare assistant, dental nurse, pharmacy assistant.
4. Information and Communication Technology
For example, database administrator, junior network security officer, website designer, software developer, software tester, helpdesk professional, network engineer.
5. Retail and Commercial Enterprise
For example, hairdresser, barber, shop assistant, junior beauty therapist, cook/chef, hospitality assistant, housekeeper, waiter, warehouse operative, customer service adviser.
All apprentices must receive the appropriate national minimum wage. The rate per hour depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.
The rates are usually updated every October. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour. For the latest information go to the Government website.
It is worth noting though that many apprenticeship opportunities pay much more than the minimum wage.
The following are the levels of apprenticeship you can apply for depending on your current skills and qualifications:
- Level 2: Intermediate level apprenticeships. These are generally considered to be the same as five GCSE passes.
- Level 3: Advanced level apprenticeships. These are generally considered to be the same as two A level passes.
- Level 4-7: Higher and degree apprenticeships. These can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, a foundation degree, a full bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.
If you are just finishing Year 11 you can apply for level 2 and level 3 opportunities.
Higher and degree apprenticeships
If you have level 3 qualifications, such as A levels or BTEC equivalents, you can also consider Higher and Degree apprenticeships:
The UCAS website conveys that higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain a higher education qualification, such as an NVQ Level 4, HND or foundation degree. They can take from one to five years to complete, and involve part-time study at a college, university or training provider.
In March 2015 these were launched by the government. They have been developed by businesses, universities and colleges. Apprentices will split their time between university study and the workplace and will be employed throughout – gaining a full bachelor’s or master’s degree from a university while earning a wage and getting real on-the-job experience in their chosen profession.
The UCAS website has lots of useful information about degree apprenticeships, including what types are available.
You can also use the apprenticeship website to check out the latest apprenticeship vacancies.
Entry requirements vary. An apprenticeship is like a job and students need to demonstrate a strong interest in their chosen apprenticeship area and be ready to start a job!
Check apprenticeship vacancies to see if there are any specific subjects and/or grades you need to have. For example, some may want 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4, others may ask for a Level 2 qualification in English and maths (such as GCSEs at grades 9-4). Others may ask you to take a numeracy and literacy test before you are accepted onto the apprenticeship.
Higher and degree level apprenticeships may require level 3 qualifications, such as A levels and BTEC equivalents.
How to apply
You need to search and apply using the apprenticeship website.
You can also check out employer websites if you have a particular employer in mind.
Other useful websites for applying for apprenticeships include: