As parents we all want what is best for our children. We try to set them on the right path and encourage them to work hard at school. We do all we can to help them gain the qualifications they need for college or university.  It used to be black and white.  School – university – career.

It’s not that simple anymore.  Many graduates struggle to find employment and pay off their debts when they leave university. Young people and their parents are casting around for new opportunities.

But did you know apprenticeships could be the route to a rewarding and secure future for your kids?

Higher or degree level apprenticeships are an attractive alternative to traditional university study.  Never heard of them?  That’s ok, 75% of parents haven’t.  Let’s see what they are and why apprenticeships are a great career choice regardless of academic achievement.  We will also dispel a few myths along the way.

Let’s cover the basics first:

What is an apprenticeship?

It is a paid employment opportunity which combines specific on-the-job training with other off-the-job training. Being an apprentice means that you can gain nationally recognised qualifications and essential skills whilst still earning a wage.


Who can be an apprentice?

Anyone who is:

  • Between the age of 16 and 64
  • Resident in England
  • Not in full-time education or in vocational training


What are the benefits of being an apprentice?

We will explore these in more detail but briefly:

  • Apprentices receive expert on and off the job training
  • They receive a salary whilst they study
  • They learn new in-demand skills
  • Apprentices gain a recognised qualification
  • They have a huge advantage over their peers in finding employment within the industry they have trained in


What are the different types of apprenticeship?

There are now four levels of apprenticeship depending on qualifications gained at school:

  • Intermediate level (level 2 qualification equivalent to GCSE)
  • Advanced level (level 3 equivalent to ‘A’ levels)
  • Higher level (level 4 and above equivalent to BTEC professional diplomas )
  • Degree apprenticeships


But aren’t apprenticeships only for manual jobs?

Back in the day a typical apprenticeship involved lots of floor sweeping, tea making, and menial tasks.  It’s much different now.

Whereas apprentices previously learnt a trade, they can now train in a profession.  Young people can now become an apprentice accountant, solicitor, or even nuclear scientist.  Or, they can still go down the traditional route, and learn a trade as a plumber or electrician if they prefer. Apprenticeships are offered in over 170 industries and cover over 1500 job roles.


Millions of places available

It is estimated that 3,000,000 apprenticeships will be created over the term of the current government.  There were 500,000 apprentice starts in England alone in 2014/15 according to recently released government figures.  With so many opportunities across so many professions every young person should be able to find a gateway to their chosen career.


The finances

The average student leaves university saddled with £44,000 of debt.  In fact, research just released by Aviva, found more than one in three of 18 – 35 year old graduates regret going to university because of their debts.

By contrast, apprentices are paid while they learn.  Though the national minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.30 per hour, employers can, and do, pay more than this with the average apprentices wage being around £170 per week.


Job prospects

A degree is no longer a guarantee of a high level job.  Or of any employment at all.  HESA statistics in 2015 showed over 7% of graduates were unemployed, whilst a third of those working had to take jobs in ‘non-professional’ roles.

An apprentice learns on the job and is far more likely to be taken on as a permanent employee by their sponsor.  There is a logical career progression and a clearly signposted path for advancement and high level opportunities.


University or apprenticeship?

For the first time an apprenticeship is a genuine alternative to the traditional university route travelled by young people.

Recently launched, the new Degree Apprenticeships programme offers young people the chance to study at degree level whilst earning a salary and receiving expert on-the-job training in high level industries.  All without having to pay tuition fees.

Degree Apprenticeships offer amazing opportunities for school and college leavers as well as apprentices already enrolled in a programme.

There are opportunities in industries as diverse as chartered surveying, aerospace engineering, laboratory science and, yes, even nuclear.  For the less practical student there are Degree Apprenticeships on offer in digital and public relations amongst others.


Why wasn’t I aware of all this?

There is little doubt that apprenticeships do suffer from an image problem and that the majority of parents, and young people for that matter, don’t realise the opportunities that modern apprenticeships offer.

Hopefully, you are now fully armed with the knowledge you need to be able to help your child decide whether an apprenticeship is right for them.


Want more information?

You can talk to us today by filling out our request a callback form using the button below or alternatively call us on 0333 444 3973.