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A Parent’s Guide to Apprenticeships

As more and more young adults are choosing apprenticeships to kickstart their careers, here’s everything parents need to know to support them.

It’s that time of the year when students across the UK can look forward to some well-earned R&R over the summer. With GCSEs and A levels completed for 2022, some are looking forward to starting Uni. But not everyone is going to Uni. So, this is the ideal time for them to start exploring their options for the autumn and beyond. Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular choice for young adults – not least because it means potentially saving thousands of pounds in college tuition fees and not having the burden of a hefty student debt.

The growing interest is also a result of government initiatives to support apprenticeship programmes in collaboration with the public and private sectors. Apprenticeship starts in England for the 2021/22 academic year stood at 204,000, up by 26% from 2020/21 Q2.

For parents looking to learn more about apprenticeship programmes and how they work, this blog covers topics like –

  • Funding for apprenticeships
  • Entry requirements for apprenticeships
  • How to find an apprenticeship
  • What does an apprentice do each week?
  • Top industries for apprentices
  • How much do apprentices get paid?
  • Is a job guaranteed at the end of an apprenticeship?
  • Does an apprenticeship affect child benefits?
  • What to expect at FDM’s apprenticeship assessment centre

Funding for apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are jointly funded by the government and the employer by using the Apprenticeship Levy. Introduced by the government in 2017, any business with an annual PAYE bill of over £3 million is required to pay the apprenticeship levy. Businesses then have 24 months to claim back this money and spend it on approved apprenticeship training and assessments – with the caveat that if they don’t use it, they lose it.

Other employers can appeal for any unclaimed levy payments. Alternatively, they can be used to fund apprenticeship programmes for smaller companies. Organisations with less than 50 employees only pay 5% towards apprenticeship training whilst the government covers the rest.

Entry requirements for apprenticeships

The UK government has mandated that young people need to stay in some form of education or training until at least their 18th birthday. This is not restricted to staying in school and can be completed with an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are available to anyone:

  • Over the age of 16
  • Living in England
  • Not in full-time education

Entry requirements vary depending on the specific job and industry. After a recent change in legislation the minimum English and maths requirements for people with disabilities or learning difficulties has been lowered to an Entry Level 3 qualification.

Any applicant who declares a disability will be granted an interview by a Disability Confident Employer if they meet the minimum criteria for the role.

How to find an apprenticeship

Find an Apprenticeship lists a large number of apprenticeship programmes available in the UK. You can also run a Google search of apprenticeship programmes near you filtered by location, role, and industry.

Most apprenticeship programmes include applying online and submitting a CV followed by interviews and usually an assessment day to meet the candidates in person. Here are some helpful resources when applying for apprenticeships:

What does an apprentice do each week?

Apprentices split their time 80:20 between working and studying. This means working in a company four days a week, getting on-the-job training and learning practical skills from mentors. They also have one day each week to attend college for academic learning that will complement their job.

Apprentices are legally obliged to work for a minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 48 hours per week. This includes their time studying at college. The maximum work hours are restricted to 30 for those under 18.  

Top industries for apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have come a long way since being restricted to only trade-based industries. Apprenticeship schemes are now available across a range of different sectors including:

  • IT and Consultancy
  • Engineering
  • Insurance
  • Construction and Real Estate
  • Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism
  • Government
  • Non-profit
  • Banking and Finance

Employers are also realising the benefits of apprenticeships for businesses and hiring and training apprentices in-house. The government incentive of £1000 for each apprentice hired is a clear benefit for organisations looking to acquire fresh talent. Employers can choose how to invest the cash incentive, whether that’s used as a wage subsidy or it’s invested back into the infrastructure to help support the needs of the apprentice.

How much do apprentices get paid?

Like any other job, the amount that apprentices get paid varies by sector and role. However, as a general rule, all apprentices are paid the National Minimum Wage or above. For apprentices who are aged 19 or under, this is currently £4.81 per hour. This rate is also applicable for apprentices who are 19 or above but in their first year of an apprenticeship.

Here are some of the other pay rates for apprentices based on age as of April 2022:

23 and over21 to 2218 to 20Under 18
£9.50£9.18£6.83£4.81

Bear in mind, the rates of pay change every year.

Regardless of these rates, many employers choose to pay apprentices more than the national minimum wage. Additionally, apprentices are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid leave each year, plus bank holidays. They are also entitled to other company perks like sick pay and pension schemes.

For young apprentices under 25 who were previously under local authority care, a £1000 bursary is available in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Is a job guaranteed at the end of an apprenticeship?

According to a research by the National Apprenticeship Service, 64% of apprentices stay on with the same employer whilst 90% go into work or further training. Employers aren’t obligated to offer permanent roles to apprentices. However, given the time and resources companies spend behind training an apprentice, it’s natural for them to want to retain someone who performs well in their role.  

Does an apprenticeship affect child benefits?

According to the GOV.UK website, “Your Child Benefit stops on 31st August on or after your child’s 16th birthday if they leave education or training. It continues if they stay in approved education or training, but you must tell the Child Benefit Office.”

Children who leave full-time education to pursue an apprenticeship and start getting paid are no longer considered ‘dependents’. Their families therefore are not entitled to receiving any child benefits.

This is applicable in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In Wales, you can claim child benefit for a child over 16 who is doing a trainee or foundation apprenticeship. However, if parents claim child benefit for a child doing an apprenticeship, the child won’t be eligible for any benefits of their own.

What to expect at FDM’s apprenticeship assessment centre

The FDM Apprenticeship programme is a unique three-year opportunity that combines work and training, while being paid a salary. At the end of your apprenticeship, you can continue to work at FDM as a permanent employee or you can join our Graduate Programme, choosing from over 10 different career pathways.

Apply to our Apprenticeship Programme today. Your online application will be followed by a telephone screening and behavioural test with an invitation to an assessment day in either Leeds or London for final interviews.  

The Final Stage Interviews for our Apprenticeship Programme are held in person and consist of 3 Behavioural Competency focused Interviews.

The candidates have a meet and greet session to start the day and they are given a Business Introduction to FDM which provides an overview of FDM, our company values, the apprenticeship scheme itself and what it entails, the terms and conditions associated with the programme and some interview guidance so they know what to expect from the assessments.

Candidates should do some interview preparation prior to the assessment centre, be professionally dressed, include examples to corroborate their answers and demonstrate their communication and engagement skills.

The candidates are asked questions relating to the core behaviours and strengths that we look for in apprentices. They also get the chance to discuss their educational and work history and their expected grades.

At the end of the assessment, we provide feedback to all candidates, pass or fail, so that they can improve their interview techniques for the future.

Register your interest for the FDM Apprenticeship Programme.


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