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Apprenticeships Have Come of Age

Apprenticeships have come of age

Choosing your next move after leaving school requires careful consideration. As the law currently stands in England, once you’ve finished school at 16 you must then do one of the following until you’re 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

UCAS predicts that by 2025 there will be one million applications for university places every year, so with that level of competition it’s hardly surprising that today’s upcoming school leavers are looking for viable alternatives to uni.

Have you thought about an apprenticeship?
While higher education remains a popular option for most, attitudes towards apprenticeships are changing and they’re now recognised as an equally valid alternative to university. This is reflected in the number of people choosing this route to employment, with 66,730 students starting higher apprenticeships to Bachelors (Level 6) and Masters (Level 7) standards in 2019/20.

With an apprenticeship, most of your learning is through on-the-job training and you’ll work towards a qualification at the same time. You’ll get paid a salary just like a normal employee, and you’ll also get dedicated study time throughout the week too.

There are apprenticeships available for thousands of different jobs in a range of industries. From something hands-on like engineering, nursing or construction, to a career in marketing, law or project management, to name a few. With an apprenticeship you’ll immediately enter the world of work and gain valuable on-the-job experience and a new set of life skills while earning money as you study. There are no tuition fees (so no student debt), and you’ll begin to make industry contacts from day one. What’s not to like?

There are four categories of apprenticeships available in England. Each type of apprenticeship will have different entry requirements. They are:

  • Intermediate apprenticeships (Level 2)
  • Advanced apprenticeships (Level 3)
  • Higher apprenticeships (Level 4 and above)
  • Degree apprenticeships  (Levels 6 and 7)

The level of apprenticeship you start at depends on the qualifications you already have and the role you’re applying for. For example, you might not need any qualifications to start a Level 2 apprenticeship, but you’ll need A-Levels or equivalent for a Level 6 or 7 apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships appeal to those looking for alternatives to university as they take a more practical approach to learning. You’ll focus on training for a specific career and learn your trade by actually doing the job. You’ll gain hands-on experience and have the opportunity to apply your skills immediately.

Prospective employers value apprenticeships for their practical nature and real-life work experience opportunities. More organisations than ever before are offering apprenticeship schemes as they come to view this method of training as a viable alternative to a university degree.

You can find out more about apprenticeships via

About the Author: Helen Say is a freelance copywriter and blogger

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