Apprenticeships are open to everyone but are a great first step into a student or young person’s career. Whatever type of child you have, whether they loved studying and have top grades, or struggled to focus in an academic environment, apprenticeships are a great route.
Here are the basics of apprenticeships that every parent should know:
- They are a vocational work placement that combines studying with practical training.
- There are four levels of apprenticeships, Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree, which range from the qualification equivalent of GCSEs to a master’s degree.
- Apprenticeships are run by employers, with support from an external training provider. This means that the skills they learn and studying they do help to develop their ability in the workplace.
- The training is free and apprentices get paid a wage by the company, so it’s a cost-effective way to study.
You can see from this list that apprenticeships have so much to offer; they provide a unique opportunity for your child to take a step in their career path without having to leave education. Apprenticeships are continually refreshing and developing; with more and more government support and funding, they are quickly becoming a solution to the problem of youth unemployment. This is especially important as we come out of the pandemic, as young people were two and a half times more likely to work in a sector that got shut down because of Covid-19.
By supporting your child to do an apprenticeship, you are encouraging them to become independent in the world of work, something graduates leaving university often find difficult. They will have a head start above other young people who chose to take a traditional educational route as they will already have the experience that many employers are looking for. A recent survey found that two-thirds of employers look for students and young people that already have work experience as it helps to prepare them for the role and reduces the transition period.
An apprentice is paid at least the national minimum wage for apprentices which is currently £4.15 an hour. Though, it is likely that they will earn more than this, with many higher-level apprenticeships now offering competitive salaries. This wage is not enough to live on, so even though they are working, you may need to support them financially while they complete their first few levels of apprenticeship.
The money they earn can be an excellent way to introduce them to finance and budgeting, which can be stressful and complicated even for many adults. Normalise conversations about money in the house and talk to them about saving and spending. It can be challenging for sixteen-year-olds to understand the future consequences of how you chose to spend your money; your guidance could make the world of difference.
What other practical things can you do to support your child?
- Look through lists of available apprenticeships online together. You can discuss their options and see which ones they might be most interested in.
- Sometimes young people find it hard to be confident in their abilities and feel as if they don’t have the right qualities. You can show them how much they have to offer! Think about what they do around the house, or in the family and how that might reveal some of their skills. For example, if they regular look after young siblings or cousins, they may have lots of the right attributes for the care profession. Or, if they are the go-to person for technical assistance in the house, then they might enjoy an apprenticeship with computers or data.
- If they do get an interview, offer to practice with them. Think of some questions they might be asked and help them to come up with answers using examples from their own lives.
For more information about what is available to your child after their apprenticeship, have a look at our page on Career Paths.