Adult Apprenticeships – Are They The Way Forward?

Written by Calvin Bowers

At the moment in the UK there is a real skills gap that is needing to be filled and apprenticeships are one way of doing this. Adult apprenticeships in particular offer many businesses the chance to have existing employees upskilled to a new level and this can allow them to move into a new job role. 

Many UK companies have been massively impacted by both Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 2020/2021 “Great Resignation” affecting one in six UK companies on top of these two catastrophic events. 

The Great Resignation saw unprecedented numbers of employees leaving their previous jobs in search of new ones. A large driver in this was the pandemic and the change between on-site and remote working.

As the pandemic has waned, many employers have been keen to withdraw remote options again, which many employees had gotten used to and wanted to keep. Many employees would happily move jobs in order to remain in remote positions and this has seemingly taken many companies by surprise. 

Adult Apprenticeships – Reasons to Start One

There are many reasons to start an adult apprenticeship and there are many reasons to start an apprenticeship more generally no matter your age. We have taken a look at some of these in more detail below to equip you with the information to make that decision for yourself. 

Acquire the Skills you Need

When it comes to adult apprenticeships, you may already be employed by a company who are looking to help you to improve your skills and be promoted within the company to a new role. The apprenticeship standards are structured around existing job roles so you should be able to undertake the appropriate apprenticeship standard that will equip you with the skills that you need for the specific role that is required within the company.

In terms of career advancement, this is an excellent way to ensure that you are able to move up the ladder and gain promotion within the company. It also ensures that the company can fill the role with someone who has exactly the skills that are required to make a success of the job, so everyone wins. 

Upskilling employees in this way is also one of the methods that employers are undertaking in order to keep staff. With the current skills gap, the retention of staff has become a critical consideration for many organisations so there may be more adult apprenticeships on offer in years to come.


One of the best reasons to take on an apprenticeship is that you are able to learn while in the job role that you will ultimately be doing. This means that you will develop your experience and contacts in the role while you are actively completing the apprenticeship. This stands you in very good stead for future career development once the apprenticeship has concluded and puts you in a prime position to secure the job role that the employer is looking to fill.

In two-thirds of apprenticeships, the apprentices are offered the job role at the company they have been working with, once they have successfully completed the apprenticeship.

Earn While You Learn with Adult Apprenticeships

One of the major advantages of apprenticeships in general is that they will pay you while you are learning. This is even more true with adult apprenticeships as the apprenticeship minimum wage isn’t as low as for younger people coming straight out of school, so you should be able to get at least £9.50per hour if you are over 23 years of age. The company may even be willing to pay more than this, depending on the job role that the apprenticeship is for. This means that you are able to benefit from both learning and earning a decent amount of money at the same time. 

The apprenticeship will comprise two parts, the first is the “On-the-job-training” which is when you are undertaking your job role, with supervision and assistance. This takes up 80% of your apprenticeship time. The other 20% is taken up by “Off-the-job-training” and this is when you are learning the academic component of your course. You are paid equally for both of these components of your apprenticeship and this is especially helpful for people in the older apprentice bracket as they are more likely to have family responsibilities.

Gaining a Qualification

Being able to gain a qualification later in life is a major attraction for many people entering adult apprenticeships. Many who are going down this route didn’t achieve as much academically as they might have done due to a number of different factors, including having to leave education to care for family, so being able to do this as part of training for a specific job role a bit later in life feels like a long overdue achievement.

Apprenticeships have variable academic outcomes depending on whether they are Intermediate, Advanced, Higher or Degree apprenticeships. Each will correspond to an education “level” from two to seven and it is possible to gain the equivalent of an Undergraduate University Degree or even a Master’s Degree in some cases through an apprenticeship. 

The way the apprenticeships work means that you would bypass having to pay the thousands of pounds per year tuition fees for a degree-level qualification and this makes the apprenticeship route a lot more appealing for many adults than getting into debt that bit later in life.

Starting Adult Apprenticeships

If your appetite has been whetted to start an adult apprenticeship, you should look no further than our dedicated apprenticeship jobs board. This is replete with the latest opportunities in all manner of different subject areas, as well as geographical areas of the UK. 

We have also compiled 5 tips for applying for an apprenticeship in order to make it a little easier for you to begin finding the ideal apprenticeship for you. 

If you have looked at the available apprenticeship standards, you may even be able to suggest to your current employer that they start an apprenticeship to upskill you for a more senior job role within the company.  

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Last Updated: Wednesday November 16 2022
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