A Parents Guide to Apprenticeships

Written by Calvin Bowers

When young people opt to pursue an apprenticeship, their parents or the adults in their lives are often unsure what it actually entails and whether it is a good option for them or not.  This is completely understandable as there isn’t as much information available on reasons to start an apprenticeship as there is on pursuing an undergraduate degree at university. This is why we have put together a parents guide to apprenticeships.

There is more than one way to succeed in life and the school exams system is not as large a determinant of success as it is made out to be in secondary school. People can choose to learn new skills at any point in their career and pursue new interests and this is entirely OK and not something to worry about. The idea that a young person’s whole life is mapped out because of exams they took in high school is just nonsense in this day and age.

Parents Guide to Apprenticeships  

Apprenticeships are an excellent option for a great many young people and they can be the next logical step in terms of both education and the career ladder. Apprenticeships offer a range of advantages but one of the most prominent is that the apprentice will earn money for the entirety of the time they are undertaking it. In this respect, it is more like a regular job. The apprentice turns up, does the job and gets paid. 

This is referred to as “on the job training” and this takes up 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time is made up with “off the job training” which is the academic portion of the apprenticeship where they will learn all of the theory type information that they need in order to complete the apprenticeship. Both the on-the-job training and the off-the-job training portions are paid equally.  

One great thing about apprenticeships is that they open up an incredible range of possibilities in their subjects that just weren’t available at school. They really allow people to pursue careers that interest them and they are not all academically focused. 

Being able to use your hands to repair and to make things is a skill that many people have and these people can feel frustrated in a school environment which doesn’t place enough value on these attributes.  

Another excellent benefit from apprenticeships is that they don’t take as long as university degree courses, so in a year, or maybe 18 months, your child will have been equipped with enough information and skills on their chosen career path to pursue it fully as a qualified member of their team. 

Parents Guide to Apprenticeships in More Detail

When considering an apprenticeship, it is important to look at the level of the apprenticeship, or the type of apprenticeship. The most popular apprenticeship type is Level 2 or an Intermediate Apprenticeship. This is because these apprenticeships are the easiest to qualify to take part in and appeal to the high school leavers who may not be the most academically inclined. Intermediate apprenticeships were the most popular type of apprenticeship in the academic year 2021/22. 

Level 2 apprenticeships will yield the equivalent of an NVQ Level 2 or a BTEC once they have successfully completed the End Point Assessment at the end of the course. The apprentice can then choose to go on to a higher level of apprenticeship standard or to stay on to potentially fill a full-time job role with the company that they have been apprenticed to. 

The next level up in terms of academic achievement is Level 3 and this is known as an Advanced apprenticeship. These apprenticeships can be harder to get into than level 2 and may have higher entry requirements. The academic achievement at the end will also be at a higher level and will be the equivalent of an NVQ at Level 3 or a BTEC. 

In terms of responsibility, those undertaking a level 3 apprenticeship will generally be given a greater degree of responsibility and be allowed to take on more difficult tasks within the on-the-job training component of the apprenticeship. 

Levels four and five are collectively called Higher Apprenticeships and are a major step up from the levels below. Higher apprenticeships are extremely competitive to get into and most of the people who want to get involved in them are people who have done apprenticeships in a similar job role at lower levels. 

This is a good way for people who have already worked at a company for some time to receive training and upskilling to take on a more senior job role within the organisation.  Levels four and five tend to attract apprentices who are geared directly toward this advancement.

Levels six and seven are the Degree Apprenticeship level and these are the academic equivalent of an Undergraduate degree and a Masters degree respectively. Being able to obtain University level qualifications without having to undergo the rigours of academic life can be a really good fit for some people. 

In cases where finding the money for tuition fees is difficult, being able to earn a degree level qualification without incurring the associated fees, and furthermore actually earning from it seems like a dream for many people. 

It is entirely understandable that these courses have proven to be very popular and hard to get into due to their very limited numbers.  

Who Can Start an Apprenticeship?

There are very few restrictions to determine who can start an apprenticeship, as long as they are over the age of sixteen. This means that most apprenticeships are open to school leavers, if they have the correct qualifications to access them.

One of the main restrictions comes when changing careers and this is the stipulation that you can’t do two different apprenticeships at the same level if the content is too similar. It would not be seen as a legitimate attempt to change careers if that were the case and you would have to choose a different apprenticeship. 

Starting an Apprenticeship

If you have read reasons to start an apprenticeship already, all that is left is to search for a suitable apprenticeship job in your area via our dedicated apprenticeship jobs board

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Last Updated: Tuesday January 24 2023
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