What is an apprenticeship?
Rights and responsibilities of an apprentice
Apprentices do have some additional rights in their role. For example, they have protected time as part of their contracted hours that has to be used for studying. This isn’t part of their day-to-day job and is called ‘off the job training’. Off the job training is delivered by subject experts and can be activities like:
- classroom learning
- work shadowing and mentoring
- time to research and write assignments
Need to know
There are different types or ‘levels’ of apprenticeships depending on where you are in the UK.
Each apprenticeship will have different entry requirements and offer a different salary.
There is no specific start date for apprenticeships. They come up as and when throughout the year.
Levels of apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are offered at different levels and the different levels equate to different qualifications. For example, a Level 2 is equivalent to GCSE and Level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree.
However, the level of the apprenticeship isn’t the full story. Because apprenticeships are assessed against the knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice must demonstrate to be competent in their job role, it is common to engage in an apprenticeship at the same or even a lower level than you may have already achieved.
- An apprentice is treated the same as an employee, gets a salary, and is entitled to a holiday allowance and sick pay.
- An apprentice doesn’t pay any study costs, even if they are studying for a degree. The costs are funded by the employer and the Government.
- An apprenticeship is a great way to gain professional experience. Apprentices are very employable as they already have lots of industry experience.
- Apprentices need to get to work on time and keep up with what’s expected of them. It takes organisation and dedication.
- Learning and studying on the job can be tough. Apprentices need to manage their time well to fit in working and studying.
- With an apprenticeship, life is very different to going to uni full-time. While there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people, it isn’t like doing a traditional degree. You also can’t access student accommodation.
How to apply for apprenticeships
Applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for a job. Applicants will need:
- an up-to-date CV: this includes any academic achievements, work experience, volunteering or internships. If someone is still at school they may not have any professional experience, so filling a CV with any transferrable skills like sports teams and part-time jobs can demonstrate relevant skills
- a cover letter: this explains why they are interested in the apprenticeship, why they would be a good fit and why they want to work for the company specifically. Do a bespoke letter for each application – one that's copied and pasted one is less likely to be effective
You might find this more detailed guidance helpful:
- How to impress with a CV
- How to write a standout cover letter
- How to turn your personal statement into an application (Top tip: If your child has done a personal statement for university, this can be a good basis for an apprenticeship application.)
How to support someone with their next steps
As a parent, you should focus on providing all the support and reassurance you can. Make sure you’re there to listen; it's the most important thing you can do.
- Be positive and supportive: Remember, there's no need to rush into a decision. It’s okay to take a step back and figure it all out. Give reassurance, stay calm and remain positive.
- Get clued up: Learning about the path your child is interested in can help them have confidence in their next steps. Take a look at our resources below as a starting point.
- Help them explore: Helping your child make their next steps is all about finding the right path for them. If they’re interested in an apprenticeship, help them find the information they need. But you might also want to take them to university open days and encourage them to do a UCAS application too so they can keep their options open.
- Help them prepare: Help with their CV, cover letter, and any interview prep. You might also be able to help or encourage them secure work experience, volunteering, or an internship which can make their application stand out.
- Browse by industry: Explore the different industries where an apprenticeship is available and find out what life is like.
- Browse by employer: Find out what employers offer apprenticeships to get a feel for what’s around.
- Money, funding and finance: Learn how getting paid works as an apprentice.
- Case studies: Find out more from people who have done an apprenticeship.
- Degree apprenticeships: A degree apprenticeship allows you to gain a paid-for degree while getting industry experience and a salary.
- Support for disabled apprentices: Information for those with a disability who might be interested in an apprenticeship.
- Apprenticeship glossary: Bust any technical jargon you’ve heard about apprenticeships with our handy glossary.
- Apprenticeship myths: busted: Read our top 10 myths about apprenticeships and get the real facts.
Looking for jobs and apprenticeships? We can match you to potential employers.
Just create a UCAS account and fill in a quick form to tell us what you are interested in, where you live, and how far you want to travel.