In short, an apprenticeship is a real paid job where you work part of the time, and train off-the-job for the rest. In this role, you will be training for a specific job position, so at the end of your apprenticeship you will receive both an official qualification and a job.

During this time your employer will pay you at least the National Minimum Wage for apprentices, which is £4.15 per hour, although many apprenticeships offer more.

There is no age limit to applying to become an apprentice, and there are an increasing number of adult apprenticeships being created every year.

In the apprenticeship, you will mostly be carrying out a real working role with assistance from the employer to help give you on-the-job training. The rest of the time you will spend training outside of work, often with a training provider, or at a college or university. Your off-the-job training must take up at least 20% of your work hours.

This means that, although you are still training for the position, you will be treated just like every other employee at the company, including receiving a contract of employment and holiday leave.

Apprenticeships have become so successful and enjoyed by apprentices in recent years, that now 91% of apprentices carry on in the job role upon completion of the course.

Depending on the type of apprenticeship, it will take at least a year to complete, and if it is one of the highest-level qualification apprenticeships, it could take up to six years to complete.

An apprenticeship is created to give you the best possible chance at succeeding in the career of your choice and reaching your future potential. This means you will be in constant contact with your employer and training provider to make sure you are learning the right skills, at the right pace for you. And, if at any point in the apprenticeship you decide that it is no longer right for you, you can leave the apprenticeship at no cost to yourself.

The only restrictions to becoming an apprentice is if you are under 16 years old, if you are in full-time education, or if you already have the skills you are set to learn in the apprenticeship.

With the potentially devastating impact of coronavirus hitting young people with lower-level qualifications the hardest, whose employment rate could drop to as low as 40% in the next five years, finding further qualifications is your best chance for reaching your future potential. With apprenticeships, you can achieve all your career goals, get further education and be earning a wage the whole time.

Getting an apprenticeship could be the best path for you. Find out about the different types of apprenticeships or take a look at some reasons to start an apprenticeship.

For alternative technical education options, take a look at our advice on T-Levels and Traineeships.

For information on other pathways, such as going to university, you can also find help in your area.