Parents FAQs

Do you know someone who is thinking about an Apprenticeship? Get started here with some facts…

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme where the Apprentice is employed by a business and is working towards a specific, recognised qualification. Anyone who has officially left school (Last Friday in June at the end of Year 11) can become an Apprentice and there is no upper age limit.

How long does an Apprenticeship last?

An Apprenticeship must normally last a minimum of 12 months although many last much longer. It varies depending on the sector and Apprenticeship level – something like an Intermediate Business Administration Apprenticeship can be done in 12 months whereas a Higher Level Engineering Apprenticeship can take 3+ years.

How do Apprenticeships compare to going to University?

It depends on the job and what skills and experience levels you need to do that job. Apprenticeships are now available at levels equivalent to GCSE right up to post-graduate levels through new 'Higher Apprenticeships' and are absolutely a viable alternative. A recent employer survey listed 'Higher Apprentices' as the most valued desirable recruits among business. However what’s most important is to understand which route is best for the individual to get to where they want to be.

Do Apprentices get paid a salary?

Yes, of course. You have to be employed to be an Apprentice. There is a National Minimum Wage for Apprentices of £4.30 per hour (rising to £4.81 in April 2022) for those aged 16-18 and for the first 12 months of their Apprenticeship for those aged 19+, however most businesses pay more and the levels vary between job types.

Do Apprentices have to pay for their training?

No, an Apprentice should not be expected to pay for the cost of training. Government funding for the 'off-the-job' training of an Apprenticeship is available depending on the sector and the age of the Apprentice. Additional and/or on-the-job training is generally the employer’s responsibility.

Do Apprentices have a special contract?

In April 2012, it became law that an Apprentice Agreement must exist between employer and employee. This can usually be achieved with a standard statement of particulars, a contract of employment or a letter of engagement. For more information on this, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-agreement-template.

Do Apprentices have to go to college one day a week?

Not necessarily. Any  ‘training’  will  be  supported  by  either  an  independent  training  organisation  or through a college, and they will decide how that works. It is common for an Apprentice to go off-site one day per week, but it is also common that some Apprentices go on ‘block release’ where they do lots of training days at once, every few months. Some Apprentices do almost everything in the workplace. It really depends on the type of Apprenticeship!

What happens once an Apprenticeship is finished?

An employer is not obliged to find another position for an Apprentice once they complete their training, although most employers see the value in retaining the skills and experience that they have helped their Apprentice gain during their Apprenticeship.

What qualifications are required?

There aren’t any fixed rules and different Apprenticeships will have different requirements, depending on the job type and level of qualification. Having GCSE grade C in English and Maths will ALWAYS be useful!

Is it possible to move from a current job to an Apprenticeship?

It depends on what type of job it is but it’s quite common for people to ‘convert’ an existing job into an Apprenticeship.

Is it easy to find training relevant to a specific job role?

There are around 250 types of Apprenticeships covering more than 1500 job roles. However there are always some jobs or trades that are so specialist or rare that specific Apprenticeship training is hard to find. It is wise to keep an open mind and consider every opportunity.

How do I find out where the Apprenticeships are?

Have a look at our finding Apprenticeships page for some tips on finding and applying for Apprenticeships.

Search online for live vacancies in Oxfordshire

Contact local colleges and employers and attend open days

Check vacancies in local newspapers and recruitment websites – even just reading local media will give you an idea of organisations to approach

Keep an eye on social media

Talk to the Careers Lead at your son or daughter's school

Encourage your son or daughter to research and contact local employers