What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a great way to learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.
As an apprentice you will spend most of your time in the workplace, gaining job-specific skills as you work. Most apprentices also spend some time away from their employers site (known as day release), at a college or training provider, receiving off the job training and working towards nationally recognised qualifications.
An apprenticeship can take between one and four years to complete and the length of the apprenticeship will depend on its level, the industry and your exisiting skills.
Levels of apprenticeships
There are different levels of apprenticeships available, the level you start at will depend on your current qualifications and experience and the opportunities available in the sector you are interested in.
What will you earn?
The minimum wage for apprentices as from October 1st 2016 is £3.40per hour, but many employers pay more than this. This is dependant on the sector, region and apprenticeship level e.g. some Higher Apprenticeships can pay as much as £300 – £500 per week.
As from 2016 all apprentices in their first year of an apprenticeship will be paid at least £3.40 per hour and you will receive this for the time you spend working, plus the time spent training, so that’s £127.50 a week, but many employers pay more than this.
When you move into your second year you get the rate that applies to your age, you can check what that is here.
Apprentices must be paid for:
- their normal working hours (minimum 16 hours per week)
- training that is part of the apprenticeship (usually 1 day per week).
Hours and holidays
Your minimum hours of employment should be at least 30 hours per week. In exceptional case, where your circumstances or the nature of employment makes this impossible, then an absolute minimum of 16 hours must be met. The hours you would be expected to work depends entirely on your employer and how their business operates. But there is a limit on the maximum hours you can work, which is 48 hours, or 40 hours if you are aged 18 or under.
You will also get at least 20 days paid holiday a year as well as bank holidays.