Can You Quit an Apprenticeship?

Written by Steven Marwick
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Many people want to know, can you quit an apprenticeship? It is just like any other job and it is possible to quit an apprenticeship. Obviously, when you are considering an apprenticeship, you will be looking at things like the reasons to start an apprenticeship and the benefits to your career that will be provided by taking part in one. The last thing most people consider when starting out is that they may either want or need to quit an apprenticeship before the end of it, and they are unsure whether they are allowed to or if they will be penalised in some way.

Apprenticeships Take Commitment

An apprenticeship isn’t something that should be entered into lightly, it is a major commitment for both the company involved and yourself. The company will often have spent money attending careers fairs and the like in order to put their opportunity in front of as many suitable young people as possible. 

Like any job, an apprenticeship may seem like hard work at first as you acclimatise to the hours you are expected to work and the level of difficulty of the tasks. Allow yourself some time to find your feet and don’t feel too bad if this takes some time. This is entirely normal and a great many people experience this. You may even end up feeling like you are suffering from impostor syndrome, which causes you to doubt your own abilities to do the job. 

If you have given yourself some time and you feel sure that the apprenticeship isn’t working for you, talk to your employers in the first instance about what aspect isn’t working. It may be that they can assist you in changing things around a bit to find a way of working that suits you better, rather than having to end the apprenticeship. 

It’s good to understand that the relationship with your employer doesn’t have to be an adversarial one. They want you to succeed with them and will often be prepared to try very hard to make the apprenticeship work, so communicate with them and allow them the chance to improve things for you.

Can you Quit an Apprenticeship? Some Legitimate Reasons to Leave

There can be a great many reasons to leave an apprenticeship and these can range from family-related issues to the apprenticeship not being what you thought it would be like, to there being a toxic working environment to your own mental health.

Toxic Workplace Environment

In some cases an apprentice will start with an employer and then quickly realise that the company ethos they were told about in advance doesn’t actually match the reality of the situation. Maybe they were told that the company had an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy but it turns out not to be worth the paper it is written on. 

There can be situations where people are picked on or are made the butt of the majority of the workplace jokes because of their gender, sexuality, race or some other protected characteristic and this is never OK. 

This may be particularly bad in some workplaces where there is a real imbalance in gender and this is a stereotype that is thought to negatively influence some women away from careers in the construction industry in particular. Indeed, according to PBC, 41% of women in the construction industry reported that they had sexist comments made to them. 

Family Issues

Many young people have to take on caring duties within their families at short notice when one of their relatives falls ill and some of the illnesses can be long-term in nature. This is a reason for some apprentices having to leave their apprenticeships and it is always sad to see but any decent employer will be very understanding in these circumstances and some may even offer the opportunity of continuing the apprenticeship at some future date if the situation changes for the better. 

There is also the possibility for young women that they already have a child and that they are struggling to find adequate healthcare, or maybe promised support from family has failed to materialise and his has made it impossible to continue.

Can you Quit an Apprenticeship over Mental Health?

This isn’t the taboo that it once was and acknowledging poor mental health in the workplace can be a healthy step toward recovery. Some depression can be situational so may be based on what is going on in your life at the time and other forms may be based purely on a chemical imbalance in your brain. 

If you feel that your mental health is bad enough that you need to leave your apprenticeship, it is important to seek support. Many people find that being prescribed antidepressants helps with their internal equilibrium. It is also possible to access therapy on the NHS, though waiting lists can be long. 

Quitting an Apprenticeship

The reasons above are just a few of the many legitimate reasons that people have for leaving an apprenticeship every year. You are allowed to leave an apprenticeship in the same way that you would be able to leave a job that wasn’t working out for you. You are not tied to anything and while it would be preferable to finish it, you are not compelled to. You will lose progress toward your qualification if you leave but there may be other options available to you

It may be possible for the employer to offer you a job at the company instead, if this would be a better fit for you than the stud aspect of the apprenticeship. Sometimes the coursework aspect just doesn’t work for the apprentice but they are managing very well with the practical side of the job. In today’s economy with many skills shortages, employers can’t afford to turn away good people who already have the skills that they need to succeed.

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Last Updated: Friday September 16 2022
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