We understand that stepping out of full-time education can seem daunting, but with the right help around you, you will be able to tackle any career path that you choose. That’s why we created this website, along with this page of useful information to direct you to a number of local organisations that are set up to help you find your way.
If your parents need reassurance that this course of action is the right one for you, you can direct them to our page that specialises in guidance for parents. It explains more about apprenticeships and some of the excellent reasons to start an apprenticeship, as well as some ideas on how they can support you in following this career path.
It is important that your parents understand that pursuing an apprenticeship doesn’t mean that you are opting out of education, just choosing to pursue a career path that allows you to follow your interests. There are many opportunities in areas that aren’t covered at school at all and are more suited to people who have practical skills.
There is more than one route to success and it doesn’t look the same for every person. Finding an apprenticeship that allows you to find work in an area that excites and interests you is a step toward your own success.
If you were not able to acquire Level 2 qualifications (GCSEs or equivalents) in English, Maths and ICT, you will gain these qualifications during the course of your apprenticeship. However, if you want to acquire these qualifications first, check out this course. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will fund the courses that you will need to upgrade your qualifications to Level 2.
If you are facing financial hardship there are plenty of methods of support. If you are aged 19 or over and are in a further education course, you may be eligible for Learner Support. This would cover accommodation and travel, course materials and equipment, and even childcare if you are eligible.
Apprentices also get paid while they are undertaking their apprenticeship, much like if they were entering traditional employment, so that should help at least a little where there are financial stresses and strains.
Despite being paid as part of your apprenticeship, you may be able to claim Universal Credit. This is dependent on the apprenticeship that you are on but it is a possibility that is worth looking into, in case it can help to improve your financial situation.
Mental Health Support
Mental health is incredibly important and it is vital that apprentices feel supported during what is a time of transition and change in their lives. This is why there is free mental health support available for apprentices.
Poor mental health can affect us at any stage in life but it is typically prevalent amongst young people who are moving between phases of their life such as education and work, so it makes sense to offer support at this juncture for apprentices.
There is less of a stigma about mental health these days and more people are willing to open up and talk about their own experiences. Remember that there is no shame in seeking help, it is a strength, not a weakness to do so.
If you feel that you are struggling, make an appointment with your GP and talk about the options that are open to you. It actually helps to talk openly and honestly about what you are experiencing and your GP will have seen your symptoms many times before.
You may be offered therapy sessions, medication to help to control the symptoms, or a combination of these options. There is no shame in taking medication to help with depression, anxiety or any other form of ill mental health. It is just like taking painkillers because you have a headache, it is an appropriate solution to deal with the symptoms that you are experiencing. Depression is caused by an imbalance in brain chemicals and medication can help to restore this.
If you ever feel suicidal, you should call the Samaritans helpline for free on 116 123. They offer a listening and non-judgemental ear, and you can tell them anything in confidence.
If you ever end up taking any action that you fear may have harmed you, the best course of action is always to call 999 and ask for emergency services, who will respond as quickly as they are able and ensure you get the urgent help that you need.
For less urgent mental health support, you can contact the Supporting Apprentices service for free. They will offer you a nine-month period of emotional well-being support and advice, workplace adjustment advice, successful coping strategies and a step-by-step support plan. If you wish to contact their service, you can do so by phone (0300 456 8210) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you feel like you need personal support, be it a conversation about your future or the conditions of your apprenticeship, you should contact the National Apprenticeship Service helpdesk, either by phone (0800 0150 400) or by email.
You should be aware that just like with a job, you are able to leave an apprenticeship if it is wrong for you and there are many reasons that you may wish to do so.
If you believe that your employer may be underpaying you, you should contact Acas for advice. ACAS is a dispute resolution and mediation service and they will do what they can to help you to find common ground with your employer and an acceptable solution. You can check how much apprentices are paid in 2022, and check this against your own experiences.
For support from other workers, your industry may have a suitable Trade Union. Check to see if your apprenticeship is covered. Trade Unions can intercede on your behalf with employers and help to ensure that you are paid what you are entitled to.