Parents' and guardians' guide to apprenticeships

Your son, daughter, or person you have guardianship of will have a myriad of options during and after school. One of them could be Apprenticeships.

But what are apprenticeships? How do they work? And would they benefit your child? This guide to apprenticeships for parents and guardians aims to provide those answers, along with answers to other frequently asked questions.

An apprenticeship combines employment, on-the-job training, and studying towards a recognised qualification.

Apprentices are employed within a company that supports them throughout their apprenticeship. They will earn a wage and get paid holiday allowance, like other employees. They will get off-the-job training time, usually 20% of their time, towards studying.

Each apprenticeship standard is different, but many assess apprentices as they progress through their apprenticeship programme, ensuring that they are picking up the skills required. At the end of an apprenticeship, the apprentice will demonstrate that they are competent in key knowledge, skills and behaviours set out by the apprenticeship standard.

Apprenticeships have numerous benefits, including:

  • apprentices gain relevant work experience in their chosen sector
  • apprentices do not pay tuition fees
  • excellent progression opportunities
  • apprentices get paid and holiday allowance

Intermediate Apprenticeships

Level 2 which is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at Grades A*– C or 9 – 4.

Advanced Apprenticeships

Level 3 which is equivalent to 2 A level passes.

Higher Apprenticeships

Level 4 and 5 which is equivalent to Foundation degree and above.

Degree Apprenticeships

Level 6 and 7 which are equivalent to Bachelors or Masters degree.

How much you get paid is dependent on how much the employer is offering. Employers must pay:

  • for apprentices aged 16-18, at least the minimum wage for apprentices
  • for apprentices aged 19+ and on their first year of the apprenticeship, at least the minimum wage for apprentices
  • for apprentices aged 19+ and past their first year of the apprenticeship, at least the national minimum wage

More information on how much apprentices get paid on the website.

To be an apprentice, your son/daughter will need to be aged 16 or older, not in full time education and live in England (there may be different rules for Wales and Scotland). There may be other eligibility criteria in line with ESFA funding regulations, but we can check this on application.

Entry requirements differ depending on the job specification (this will come from the employer and be written into the job advert) and the academic requirements (this will come from the training provider).

Generally, we ask that applicants have:

  • Employment in a suitable role on a permanent contract exceeding 30 hours per week
  • GCSE Grade 2/E in Maths and English or equivalent. Students below a GCSE 4/C will be required to study Level 2 Functional Skills whilst at college, alongside their apprenticeship
  • Employer support to undertake this course
  • Confirmed eligibility to be funded as an apprentice as set out within the ESFA’s Funding Rule

The Government has stated that all young people must stay in education or training until the age of 18. This can include apprenticeships so yes; your son or daughter can go onto an apprenticeship if they are younger than 18 years.

If your son or daughter is applying for a Writtle College FE apprenticeship (at Level 2 or 3), they can apply using the online application form. They will still need to secure an apprenticeship job and tips on how to do this are below.

Getting an apprenticeship job is like getting a regular job in terms of searching, applying, job interview and accepting.

To search apprenticeship job vacancies they can look at the Writtle College apprenticeship vacancies page and also the government Find an Apprenticeship page.

Get tips on how to apply, writing a job application and succeeding in a job interview – visit our How to Apply for an Apprenticeship page.

Typically, you can expect your son or daughter to be supported in the workplace by a mentor. This could be their line manager, or it could be another member of staff. From College, your son or daughter will be supported in class by their tutor.

There are also regular workplace meetings between the apprentice, a member of the Writtle College Apprenticeship Team and the apprentice’s line manager to make sure the apprentice is on track and is gaining all the competencies they should be.

Feel free to talk to the Writtle College Apprenticeship Team at one of our Open Days