Learning new skills is all very worthy – and there is the prospect of ending up in a good job with a better than average salary at the end of it. But how about earning while you learn?
That’s the concept behind apprenticeships. A chance to earn a small wage while also learning those skills vital for the UK economy – and you’re long-term job prospects.
It seems a fair swap. You are learning new skills but, since you are working for a company at the same time, you are also paid a small salary (the minimum is £2.60 an hour but most apprentices are paid more than that). And you are also given day-release to continue the classroom studies.
All this comes wrapped up in a structured apprenticeship which results in a nationally-recognised qualification. And hopefully a foot in the door of the company you have been working for resulting in permanent employment.
The appeal of apprenticeships is not just for those struggling to find employment. It’s for those who know they need to beef up their academic qualifications and theoretical skills but don’t want to spend the next few years in a classroom.
So who can become an apprentice? The schemes are open to anyone over the age of 16, even if you have been working for a few years. An apprenticeship generally lasts between one and four years and cover a wide range of industries from agriculture, the arts, construction, business, education, retail, leisure and many more. If you have a particular interest in an industry, it can be worth talking to the lead body about apprenticeship schemes – for example see the NHS apprenticeships site.
There are three levels of apprenticeship:
1 Intermediate Level Apprenticeships where apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 2 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
2 Advanced Level Apprenticeships where apprentices work towards work-based learning such as a Level 3 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification.
3 Higher Apprenticeships where apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.
So has this whetted your appetite? What’s the next stage? The initial stage of an application can be done online at http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk but be aware that competition can be fierce. And trying to juggle working in a practical way for a company and studying in a classroom (with all the homework) can be very stressful. Be sure it’s the right career path for you. If it is, the long term benefits can be huge with a rich combination of practical and theoretical skills helping you achieve success for many years to come.
Posted by LocalRecruit on March 14, 2012