Apprenticeships: your go-to guide

We know there’s a lot to think about once you finish school and we know how daunting that can be! If you’re still weighing up your options, why not consider an apprenticeship? We’ve put together a go-to guide to answer those all-important questions and help make your decision that bit easier…

What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a debt-free alternative to university. You have a real job and earn while you learn, achieving an industry-recognised qualification at the end of it.

The national minimum wage for apprentices is currently £3.90 an hour, but lots of employers pay more, and you get paid holiday as well as your bank holidays.

How long does an apprenticeship take?
Depending on the level you choose, an apprenticeship can take between 1 and 4 years to complete.

What can I do an apprenticeship in?
Nowadays, you can do an apprenticeship in virtually anything – even areas like law, which have traditionally involved study at university.

At Skills Group, we offer training in business, care and early years, construction, engineering and automotive, hairdressing and barbering, sport and leisure, and teaching and education. Take a look at our prospectus and search our vacancies.

Which level is right for me?
An Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) is equivalent to 5 GCSEs at A*-C, while an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) can be compared to 2 A Levels. But apprenticeships don’t stop there; you can work towards a Higher Apprenticeship, which is like a foundation degree or above, and Degree Apprenticeships are now being introduced, which take you up to bachelor’s or master’s level.

We also offer a full-time programme for those who aren’t ready for an apprenticeship but want to prepare for employment in their dream sector.

Can I still go to university if I do an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship won’t stop you from being able to go to university. In fact, it can be a great way of finding out if the sector you think you want to work in is right for you. Plus, it will equip you with hands-on skills and industry experience that will set you apart from other applicants.

If you would like more advice and guidance on next step options, give our friendly team a call on 01752 332442.

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School