Apprenticeships has become increasingly popular in recent years; particularly through the credit crisis which has seen employers look for ever more resourceful ways to attract quality employees that can undergo training at a lower rate. For the employee, they offer young persons throughout the country an accessible path to what can be a lucrative career.
Apprenticeships are, at their most basic level, training courses; they offer young persons an accessible route into the type of work they want to break into. Because of the relatively low pay of apprenticeships, they enable employers the time required to train people thoroughly over a course of between one and four years. During the course, the apprentice will team work with study, with the usual study equating to around one day a week.
To qualify for the range of apprenticeships on offer, a person needs to be 16 or over, eligible to work in England, and not in full time education. There are three varying levels of courses available: intermediate (which is equivalent to 5 GCSE pass grades); advanced (which is equivalent to 2 A level pass grades) and higher (which leads to an NVQ Level 4 or above; or, alternatively, a foundation Degree).
Apprentices still benefit from paid holidays, and are legally entitled to 20 full paid days a year, in addition to bank holidays. The pay for apprentices does differ from industry to industry, however they always work at a much lower rate than those that are fully qualified. The lowest rate for an apprentice is £2.68 (as governed by UK law).
For certain employers, they can benefit from a grant that goes towards the cost of taking on an apprentice. These grants are designed to help small to medium sized businesses, and they can get a grant for each and every apprentice they take on (up to ten apprentices). The only rules that apply in relation to these grants are that the apprentice must be aged between 16 to 24, and for each they can receive anything up to £1,500.
Apprenticeships offer much for the employer and employee alike. At the end of the course the employee is left with the skills required to gain a full time, well paid position; and the employer then has an employee that can undertake their job role with the skills and knowledge that is required.