Learning on the job – a guide to apprenticeships

Learning in a classroom doesn’t suit everyone. Some people prefer to learn by doing. Others just want to get into work and start earning money. If any of these statements apply to you, an apprenticeship could be the perfect solution.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme, meaning you will be learning on the job in the area that you are interested in while earning a wage. This is a good option for someone keen to start working and earn a living. There will be classroom time with an education provider, normally once a week, but most of the time you’ll be working gaining hands-on skills and experience.

Who can do an apprenticeship?

Anyone over 16 can do an apprenticeship, as long as you are not already in full-time education. So you can become an apprentice straight after school, or later on in your career.

How much do they cost?

Apprentices don’t pay any student loans of tuition fees, as apprenticeships are funded by the government and your employer. You would need to cover day-to-day expenses yourself, such as buying lunch or paying for travel. If you’re 16-24 and a care leaver, you’ll receive a £1,000 bursary to support you in the first year of your apprenticeship.

Why could an apprenticeship be good for me?

Apprenticeships give you the chance to get hands-on training and put your skills into action. You’ll be working in a professional environment straightaway, so you’ll get a feel for what it’s like being in the workplace. If you’re keen to support yourself financially, an apprenticeship allows you to earn a wage.

But I really want to go to university!

You still can! Some universities offer degree apprenticeships that enable students to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship. These programmes combine working with studying part-time at university. Although you won’t be eligible for a student loan, your tuition fees will be covered by your employer. Find out more here: UCAS: Degree Apprenticeships

Want to find out more?

Visit the government’s official apprenticeship website here: HM Government: Apprenticeships

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