Are Apprenticeships Worth Doing?

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In a word, yes! But let us break down the many reasons why you should believe us…

As well as getting paid work, apprentices also receive the training and skills - all apprenticeships aim to provide an NVQ, HNC or other equivalent qualification - potentially putting them ahead (career-wise and financially) of people who take the more traditional A-level or university routes.

The qualifications, taken over anything from 1-4 years, can be:

·       Intermediate - equivalent to five GCSE passes

·       Advanced - equivalent to two A-level passes

·       Higher - can lead to NVQ Level Four and above, or a foundation degree

EY’s Liz Bingham, OBE, told us how her company’s apprentices are one step ahead of their graduate counterparts: “They’re really developed in the workplace after just three years, while all university graduates of the same age are desperately trying to find their first work experience placements.”

There are quite strict guidelines around the minimum employers should pay their apprentices. 

The minimum that apprentices are entitled to depends on their age and length of time on a programme. Starting at £3.90 (as of April 2019) per hour – if an apprentice is under 19 or in their first year – this rises to £6.15 in the second year for those aged 18 to 20, then to £7.70 for 21-24-year-olds, and then up to £8.21 if they are over 25.

Apprentices aged 18 must be paid the standard National Minimum Wage after 12 months.

Employers are free to pay above the new wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage.

The average weekly wage for an apprentice is actually around £200, dependant on the sector, region and apprenticeship level. For example, some Higher Apprenticeships can pay as much as £300-£500 per week.

Those who do get paid the minimum might be eligible to receive benefits from the government on top of their wage: it’s worth exploring the funding options out there.

Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships often pay higher than the National Minimum Wage and National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage; a £16,000 starting salary, for example, with regular pay reviews just like a standard employee would receive. Some HIgher Apprenticeship employers pay as high as £23,000 per year. 

Those who do get paid the minimum might be eligible to receive benefits from the government on top of their wage: it’s worth exploring the funding options out there.

Apprenticeships are a great option for many young people, regardless of the legal minimum wage: don’t just take our word for it, read for yourself how Jordan Reid undertook a Higher Apprenticeship rather than going to university, and is happy with the choice he made.

The greatest risk to an apprenticeship seems to be the challenge for young people, often in their first ever job since school: a recent study showed that around a quarter of apprentices leave their positions before completion.

Read more:

What types of business offer apprenticeships?

What are apprenticeships?

What do parents need to know about apprenticeships?