One of the regular questions that we are asked is “how much do apprenticeships pay”? One of the most attractive things about starting an apprenticeship compared to other potential ways to enter work or further study is that apprentices are paid for 100% of their time.
How Much Do Apprenticeships Pay When Compared to Full-Time Study?
When school leavers go to university to take up a full-time bachelor’s degree, they are required to pay tuition fees. These vary from institution to institution but for a three-year bachelor’s degree, they can be somewhere between £20,000 – £30,000 in total.
This is also before taking into account the cost of living as a student. Some students manage to combine part-time work with full-time study and earn some money but others end up with student loans on top of their tuition fees. According to figures from the House of Commons Library, the average student debt at the end of a degree in England is £45,800.
This is obviously something that is very off-putting for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are more averse to incurring debt than those who had a more privileged upbringing.
A degree apprenticeship, which still confers a bachelor’s degree upon completion, allows the apprentice to skip the tuition fees that would normally be associated with a degree-level qualification. This obviously makes it an attractive option for those who are keen to avoid student debt as much as possible.
The fact that an apprentice is paid while they are learning and working gives them an advantage over students who are studying full-time at a University. Over and above this, they also gain experience of working in their chosen field which will stand them in good stead when it comes to actually get a job in the sector once their apprenticeship has finished.
Students going down the more traditional academic route are less experienced in the day-to-day reality of the job and may have unrealistic expectations about what is involved. This means that they may not do as well as apprentices when it comes to the interview and selection process and people who have completed apprenticeships may be better placed to win employment.
One of the most difficult things that many graduates experience after finishing University is that although they are well qualified, they lack the experience to get their foot in the door for their first job in their desired field. An apprentice, on the other hand, has been doing the job for a couple of years by this point so already knows what they need to do. This explains why a large percentage of apprentices are retained by their employers at the end of their apprenticeships.
How Much Do Apprenticeships Pay?
This is a difficult question to answer because it largely depends on the role and the employer involved. It is often linked to the complexity of the apprenticeship, so for example someone doing a degree apprenticeship will typically earn more during their apprenticeship than someone who is on the lowest level which is an intermediate apprenticeship.
This is broadly in line with the different roles that people may end up working in after completing their apprenticeships. Those who study degree apprenticeships tend to go into the higher paid jobs while those in intermediate apprenticeships tend to start off in entry level positions.
Apprentices are paid for 100% of their time, whether they are in on the job or off the job training and they are required by law to be paid at least the apprentice minimum wage. As of August 2022, the rates for this are £4.81 per hour for a 16 or 17 year old, £6.83 per hour for 18, 19 and 20 year olds and £9.18 per hour for 21 and 22 year olds.
It should be noted that this is the minimum level that employers are required to pay and many, particularly in some of the larger companies, may decide to pay apprentices considerably more in order to make them feel like welcome and valued members of the team. It is worth asking a potential apprenticeship employer how much they pay their apprentices, as this may give you an idea of their overall ethos and how employees are treated at the company.
Apply for an Apprenticeship
Now that you understand more about the amount of money that you can expect to earn as an apprentice, while gaining valuable on the job experience, as well as a relevant qualification in your area of interest, how should you proceed?
If you have taken in some of the reasons to start an apprenticeship and looked at the available apprenticeship standards for your subject area, the next thing to do is to search for apprenticeship vacancies near where you live.
You can use our dedicated apprenticeship job board to do this and you can examine the different career paths that may become available to you as you progress.