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|What Is An Apprenticeship?|
|Going to university to read for a degree is not for everybody. While you are at school studying for your GCSEs it can be a stressful time. Aside from the fact that you need to revise and do course work, there is a big wide world out there and pretty soon, you’re going to be in it, as a grown up. Some of your friends will be going on to do A-Levels or other full time study, maybe in the hope of becoming a student at university, but what happens if you have decided that is not the route for you?
If you are a more hands on person and want to get out there into the world of work, developing practical skills, you could consider school leaver jobs in the form of an Apprenticeship (Scotland has chosen to retain the label ‘Modern Apprenticeship.’ Apprenticeships and Modern Apprenticeships are the same thing). If you already have a passion or an interest in life that you would like to develop as a full time career, an Apprenticeship can be the perfect way to get yourself on the ladder straight from leaving school.
And Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers who are straight out of the classroom. If you are one of the many young people who jumped straight into school leaver jobs and you are no longer feeling fulfilled in your role, or you feel you want to push things to next level to forge a career out of what you are doing, then an Apprenticeship in your specialism could be the ideal option for you.
|What Types Of Apprenticeship Could I Do?|
|In the United Kingdom, apprenticeships have a long history, dating back hundreds of years. Traditionally, young school leavers who wanted to learn a trade would do an apprenticeship and, depending on the trade, the apprenticeship could last for many years. Many people still think of apprenticeships in this way, where young people train in more skilled industrial trades such as industrial engineering, mechanics or electronics. Most apprentices also tended to be boys.
However, let’s fast forward to the 21st Century where Apprenticeships are now open to all young school leavers in a whole variety of sectors. So, even if you’re not into factories, manufacturing and industry, as a school leaver, there could still be many other Apprenticeship options for you to consider. It’s also worth noting that this list of potential opportunities is growing all the time and this growth looks set to continue. Good news for those of you who are weighing up your options if further college or university study is really not for you.
Let’s look at some of the Apprenticeships that are available for school leavers out there in the workplace. If you have never researched Apprenticeships before, with over 180 frameworks available, you might be surprised at what is out there and chances are, there will be an Apprenticeship out there that will match what you are looking for.
|What Are The Different Levels Of Apprenticeship?|
|After completing an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you will receive a qualification that is the equivalent of five GCSEs at grades A to C. This could be an NVQ at Level 2 and you might also receive a BTEC, depending on the job you are doing. You will also be able to then progress the the next level; the Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
1. Intermediate Level Apprenticeship
After completing an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you will receive a qualification that is the equivalent of five GCSEs at grades A to C. This could be an NVQ at Level 2 and you might also receive a BTEC, depending on the job you are doing. You will also be able to then progress the the next level; the Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
2. Advanced Level Apprenticeship
Young people who are doing the Advanced Level Apprenticeship will have at least five GCSEs at grades A to C or you will have completed the Intermediate Level Apprenticeship. After successful completion of an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you will receive a qualification that is the equivalent of two A Levels. This could be in the form of NVQ Level 3 and also a qualification such as a BTEC.
3. Higher Apprenticeship
For those who want to take their career and qualifications even further, a Higher Apprenticeship allows for just that. At the end of a Higher Apprenticeship you will be awarded with a work-based qualification such as an NVQ Level 4 and, rather than a BTEC, the learning based qualification could be a Foundation Level degree or similar, such as an HNC (Higher National Certificate) or a Diploma.
4. Degree Level Apprenticeship
If you want a bachelors or masters degree without the cost of tuition fees, Degree Levels Apprenticeships combine university study with on-the-job experience and a salary. Degree apprenticeships are level 6 & 7. Course fees are paid by the government and your employer.
The Apprenticeship Framework
Whatever level and type of Apprenticeship you choose to do there will be a core framework of skills and qualifications that you will be developing. (The names and qualifications can vary slightly between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.)
The NVQ and BTEC demonstrate your understanding of your specialism and its role within the workplace.
Key Skills develop your ability to work with others, to adapt to new technologies that are essential in your role.
ERR is Employee Rights and Responsibilities and this certificate means you are aware of your rights and responsibilities within the workplace.
PLTS - Personal Learning and Thinking Skills. This part of your Apprenticeship develops your ability to think on the spot, uses your initiative in the workplace and evaluating situations which may arise. These are the skills that make you stand out above others for future employers.
|How Long Does It Take To Complete An Apprenticeship?|
|Obviously, it completely depends on how far you want to take your Apprenticeship that determines the length of time of completion. As a general rule of thumb, Apprenticeships can take anything from one to four years so you do need to be committed to complete one. There are many different types of Apprenticeships these days and so the sector you are working in also determines how long it will take to complete. There is also an element of flexibility involved and if you feel things are moving too fast for you or your employer wants to give you more time to develop a new skill, this can make your Apprenticeship take a little bit longer to complete than it otherwise would do.|
|Does It Cost Me Anything To Do An Apprenticeship?|
|The beauty of Apprenticeships is, unlike students who need to pay university tuition fees and take out student loans, going through an Apprenticeship is all about earning while you learn. It does vary for employers, depending on which country of the United Kingdom you are doing your Apprenticeship in but generally, your employer is responsible for paying your wages while government funded agencies cover the cost of any outside training and courses you will need to attend.
As we said above, the amount you can earn while you are doing all this depends on the sector you are working in, the level of Apprenticeship you are doing, possible previous experience and also your age.
The National Minimum Wage is lower for young people who are doing Apprenticeships because of the training and tuition you are receiving. If you are under 19 years of age or are in the first year of your Apprenticeship, there is a lower minimum hourly rate you will receive. After that, you will receive at least the National Minimum Wage. You will be pleased to learn however that many employers choose to pay above these rates so you could find yourself earning a good wage while learning at the same time. To find out the minimum amounts you will receive while doing your Apprenticeship, you can keep up to date with current National Minimum Wage Apprentice rate here.
|Apprenticeships Also Provide A Win Win Situation|
|Apprenticeships are a win win scenario for both you as the apprentice learning on the job and for your employer and future employers, too.
What’s in it for your employer or future employers?
|So, having read ‘What Is An Apprenticeship?’ do you think an Apprenticeship could be the way forward for you for building a career as a school leaver? There is lots of information out there for you to help you decide on your next move and, rather than just take our word for it, a good place to start might be a browse through case studies and quotes of what apprentices say about their experiences. Still not sure? Find out if an apprenticeship is right for you or compare apprenticeships to school leaver programmes.
And if you’re still happy that an Apprenticeship is for you and you are itching to get started, there are thousands of quality Apprenticeship vacancies advertised online at any one time. Get your application form filled in and you could soon be on the Apprenticeship road to more qualifications and a successful career in your chosen sector. Search live apprenticeships at the bottom of the page or use the links below to find apprenticeships in your local town.
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Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne
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Spectra Packaging Solutions Ltd
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