Here at Employing an Apprentice, we fully understand that sometimes, things in life things may not turn out to be what you expected. This goes for apprenticeships too.

There can be a great many reasons for wanting to leave any type of apprenticeship, just like with any other type of education or employment. Whether you are facing personal problems, feel the course isn’t as it was advertised or do not feel comfortable within your job role, we have compiled some information to provide some guidance relating to leaving an apprenticeship.

Can You Leave An Apprenticeship?

First and foremost, you are free to leave an apprenticeship at whatever stage necessary, should you feel the need to do so. Essentially it is the same as if you were in a regular job; your contract will state the period of notice you must give your employer if you want to leave.

However, it is important to acknowledge that if you leave your apprenticeship before completion, you will not gain a qualification despite possibly completing a substantial amount of work. This is something you should consider very carefully when making your decision. Is that amount of work something that you feel able to walk away from without benefiting from it?

Why Do Some People Decide to Leave?

Just like there are numerous reasons for starting an apprenticeship, there may be many reasons why apprentices decide to terminate their apprenticeship before completion. This will be utterly dependent on the individual, but may relate to one or more of the following:

Personal Reasons Such as Family, Health or Financial Challenges

There can be a great many reasons for an apprentice to leave their apprenticeship and this is one of the more common. Apprentices leave because of family illnesses and suddenly finding that they have to take on the role of carer. Alternatively, they may have a child and find it hard to juggle the apprenticeship and childcare solutions, or they may have just split up so their partner is no longer on the scene to help with the child. 

Another reason that people leave apprenticeships is due to mental ill health, such as clinical depression. A study has shown that 43% of young women aged between 16 and 29 suffer from symptoms of depression and that the number is roughly half in men, which is still around a fifth of the population. This is a serious problem, and financial problems can also help to play into this and make depressive episodes more intense.

Dissatisfaction With the Content of the Apprenticeship

Sometimes people take on an apprenticeship and find out that the content isn’t what they were expecting it to be. Some people find mathematics hard and if an apprenticeship contained a lot more than they expected, they may find it really difficult to do, begin to struggle and eventually quit. This is a risk when going into an area of work and study that is relatively new to you, it may not be exactly what you thought it was from the outside. 

Displeased With the Quality of the Teaching

Sometimes the education providers fall short of what is expected and struggle to provide adequately planned lessons and resources for the off the job training to keep pace with what the apprentice is expected to have learned for the actual job. In such cases, they can feel very pressured and stressed as they are not getting what they need from the education element of the apprenticeship. 

Feeling Like the Workload is Too Much

An apprenticeship is often the first time that young people have been involved in the world of work and it can feel overwhelming at first with the amount that they are expected to do. It definitely takes a period of adjustment but most people manage to figure it out, given time, support and encouragement from their colleagues and line managers. 

Unhappy in the Job Role or Workplace

Sometimes the duties involved in the work aspect of the apprenticeship can be difficult. A lot of apprenticeships start on the bottom rung and there is sometimes a danger that the apprentice starts to feel like a bit of a dogsbody, always being handed the tasks that nobody else wants to do. This may even in extreme cases lead into a culture of bullying and in such cases it is entirely legitimate to want to leave an unhealthy work environment.

Do You Have to Pay Back Any Money?

No. Unlike university, you will not have to pay back any money for dropping out of the apprenticeship before completion. In new funding rules, employers are no longer able to ask apprentices to pay back any costs for training, exams or other activities.

Options Moving Forward

Depending on your reason for wanting to leave your apprenticeship, there are many options to consider moving forward. These include:

Changing Jobs

If it is the job itself that you are unhappy with, whether this relates to the workplace, the duties or the business culture, it is possible to change jobs and continue with your apprenticeship course.

To do this, you will have to speak to your training provider. It will be their duty to decide whether this is a possibility for you and must approve that new employer’s suitability.

Changing the Subject

If you want to leave your apprenticeship to do a different subject altogether, you will have to reapply for another course. Luckily, there are hundreds of apprenticeship standards you can explore. You can look at other courses before you decide to leave your current one but bear in mind that employers will question why you left your previous apprenticeship.  

Quitting Apprenticeship but Keeping Your Job

If you are unhappy with the apprenticeship course itself, including the content and quality of teaching, the employer may allow you to transfer into a job role within the company. If your employer agrees to this, they will have to pay you the national minimum wage for a non-apprentice.

Before making your decision, consider talking to either your employer or training provider about any worries, concerns or complaints you may have. If you make them aware, they may be able to implement the specific changes you are looking for or provide some extra support and guidance if necessary.

It is essential to acknowledge that making changes isn’t always possible in every situation. So, remember to explore your options going forward if you believe leaving your apprenticeship is the best thing for you.

Furthermore, during this challenging time, it may be employers who find themselves in the difficult position of having to make apprentices redundant. If you would like some more advice and guidance on this subject, visit our redundancy assistance page.

Don’t forget to take a look at the apprenticeship jobs listed on our website! Your dream career may be just a couple of clicks away!