5 Things a Parent Needs to Know About Apprenticeships

Written by Calvin Bowers

You’ll no doubt have questions if your child is applying for an apprenticeship. Discover what you need to know with our top ten tips for parents.


If your child is leaving secondary education or college, you are in the right place to find out which next step is best for them. One option that has become increasingly popular is an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships have gone through dramatic changes in recent years due to the government and many industry leaders recognising them as the solution to the youth employment crisis. Additionally, the government and industry leaders see apprenticeships as the best method of closing the skills gap that is widening in the UK economy.

This means there has never been a better time to choose apprenticeships, although not many parents are aware of it.

Information Parents Need Regarding Apprenticeships – Our Top 5

  • Qualifications

    As all parents would be, your greatest concern is about whether an apprenticeship sets your child’s future in good stead. You will be happy to hear that apprenticeships have modernised such that they now offer qualifications up to degree and masters level.

    Additionally, the government have standardised apprenticeships to ensure that they sustain a top quality, so you can rest easy knowing your child is always getting the best training. At the end of every apprenticeship, as long as the apprentice passes the End Point Assessment, they will receive a full qualification.

  • Age

    Anyone that is 16 or over can start an apprenticeship. The only restrictions regarding who can begin an apprenticeship are surrounding whether you already have part of the training you would receive during the course.

    This has meant that a lot of experienced professionals in their 30s, 40s or later are now using apprenticeships to retrain whilst retaining a full wage.

  • Wage

    Apprenticeship and job applications are mostly similar: the wage depends on the experience and qualifications of the candidate, but also the quality of the employer. This means that more experienced apprentices often receive a full wage.

    However, in the first year of an apprenticeship, the employer can offer a wage as low as £4.15 per hour, which includes on-the-job hours and the hours spent training. After the first year, the minimum wage returns to the National Minimum Wage according to age, like a regular occupation.

  • Child Benefits and Child Maintenance

    We often receive requests for more information on the impact of their child doing an apprenticeship on their child benefits and child maintenance. As the apprentice legally has to earn a minimum of £4.15 per hour, the parent would lose any benefits associated with the child being in education without earning, such as child benefits. This is not the case in Wales.

    However, if the apprentice worked 35 hours per week, the child would receive a minimum of £145.25 in wages per week. That is far more than the maximum the parents would receive for their first child in child benefits, which is just £21.05 per week.

    If you are paying child maintenance, you would no longer be responsible for paying child maintenance for that child as they are now in employment.

  • Offering Support

    The best thing you can do as a parent is talking them through their options as children rarely have the perspective of the working world. You should express that a combination of work experience and qualifications will help them acquire their dream job, not just a qualification.

    Additionally, helping them write their first CV and giving them interview tips is also great support. If you need help with this sort of support, see our dedicated support pages.

Looking for More Information Regarding an Apprenticeship for Your Child?

Keep an eye out for more up-to-date information on this site. We have over 100 pages of clear and accurate information to ensure that you get all the information you need.

Soon enough, we will be developing specific resources alongside Developing a Student for parents to help their child decide between an apprenticeship and going to university. Subscribe to our newsletter below to be alerted when this comes available.

What Does an Apprentice Do?2022-03-11T16:42:11+00:00

The apprentice spends at least 20% of their hours in classroom-based training. This means that they will be off-the-job learning occupational skills, such as in a college or university.

The apprentice spends the remaining time on-the-job, learning skills and behaviours that are essential to occupying the role and acquiring vital work experience. This training often occurs with a mentor or part of a broader group to ensure they learn from colleagues with expertise.

Who Can Do an Apprenticeship?2022-03-11T16:07:24+00:00

There a no set requirements for an apprenticeship. In fact, you can sometimes be ineligible for an apprenticeship if you already have some of the skills that you are going to learn in the apprenticeship.

However, this does not mean that anyone can get any apprenticeship. Think of applying to an apprenticeship like you would a regular job – the best candidate is the person with the most appropriate behaviours, skills, experience and qualifications. For more clarity, read our dedicated guide, Who Can Start an Apprenticeship?

Does an Apprenticeship Affect Housing Benefit for Parents in the UK?2022-03-11T16:19:54+00:00

Eligibility for child benefits often then determines any housing benefits relating to that child. As such, unless you are in Wales, you will no longer be eligible for any extra housing benefits should your child start an apprenticeship. This will not impact any other reasons for eligibility towards housing benefit, but the government would no longer class that child as a dependant.

Is an Apprenticeship Still Classed as Full Time Education for My Child?2022-03-11T16:29:32+00:00

Is an apprenticeship full-time education? In the general sense of the term, yes. By definition, an apprenticeship requires on-the-job and off-the-job training to become sufficient for a particular occupation. As such, you would be in training full-time.

However, in the legal sense of the term, the apprentice is also in employment and so can no longer access the benefits surrounding being in ‘full time education’.

How Long Do Apprenticeships Last?2022-03-11T16:23:18+00:00

The minimum an apprenticeship lasts is 12 months. The apprenticeships are often taken by a 16-18-year-old (Intermediate or Advanced apprenticeships) commonly take between 12 and 24 months.

However, if your child was to do a degree-level apprenticeship, they are known to take up to six years to complete.

Is There a Job at the End of an Apprenticeship?2022-03-11T16:37:27+00:00

Often, but not always. Legally, the employer has no obligation to hire the apprentice upon completion of the training. However, the employer usually takes on an apprentice because they have a skills gap in their company and so will often want that apprentice at the end of course.

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Last Updated: Monday June 20 2022
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