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Apprenticeships guide

Is an apprenticeship scheme right for your child?

We outline apprenticeships – from the key benefits to what an apprentice might earn.

With the cost of higher education on the rise, and pupils now legally required to study until their 18th birthday, apprenticeships are a smart way for young people to continue their studies while earning a living at the same time.

A huge range of programmes is available to students looking to leave school after completing GCSEs or A-Levels. If your child is considering starting their career with an apprenticeship, here’s what you need to know.

What’s an apprenticeship?

It’s a real job that offers training towards a nationally recognised qualification, such as a BTEC or City & Guilds. Apprenticeships also provide key workplace skills and some offer mentoring.

What are the benefits?

No tuition fees

Your child will earn a salary while they learn.


Apprentices work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills and study for a work-based qualification during their working week, eg at a college or training organisation.

Increased future earning potential

Although starting salaries can be low, apprentices often enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training.

What types of apprenticeship are there?

There are 3 levels of apprenticeship – Intermediate (equivalent to five GCSEs), Advanced (equivalent to two A Levels) and Higher (which can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above or a foundation degree).

The first 2 offer a nationally recognised vocational qualification and are usually open to young people with GCSEs or equivalent education. Higher Apprenticeships are normally aimed at individuals with A Levels.

What will they earn?

The minimum wage for apprentices varies depending on age. For full details, see gov.uk’s apprenticeships page

What are their prospects after the apprenticeship?

Someone who’s completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship in financial services could expect to earn £14,000 as a starting salary.

Who can apply?

Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in England. Entry requirements vary depending on the sector and role.

How long does it take to complete an apprenticeship?

Most Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships last between 12-18 months, and Higher Apprenticeships usually between 3 and 4 years.

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