After you have completed your A Levels, there are several paths that you can take. You may decide to go into work, do a degree, or do an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships are focused on vocational education and practical skills. You can enter a huge range of fields; there are hundreds of job opportunities in over 40 different sectors. An apprenticeship might be better than immediately seeking a normal job, as you will receive a qualification at the end of it. The government often subsidises some of the training costs for an apprentice, so employers take them on, which encourages them to give you an opportunity. Evidencing this, a significant 71% of apprentices stay with the same employer.
The Higher apprenticeships, at levels 4, 5, 6, and 7 are equivalent to a foundation degree and above. An Advanced (Level 3) apprenticeship is equivalent to two A Level passes. Additionally, an Intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship is equivalent to five good GCSE passes.
The most obvious benefit of doing an apprenticeship over a degree is that, rather than paying £9,000 per year, you will be earning money. You will be paid for normal working hours and for training that’s part of your apprenticeship. Apprentices who are under 19, or who are in their first year, are entitled to the current National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices. This is £3.70 per hour.
However, if you’re over 19 and have completed your first year, you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for your age group. Between April 2018 and March 2019, this is £5.90 for people aged 18-20. This rate changes every April and has never decreased. You will also get at least 20 days paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.
You could take a Higher Level apprenticeship in: Business and IT, Construction, Creative, Media and the arts, Customer service and retail, Energy, Engineering and electrical, Finance, Health and care, Hospitality and travel, Manufacturing, processing and logistics, Public services, and Vehicles and transport.
View some available Level 4 apprenticeships here and here. To read about other young people’s experiences, look here.
If you’re still unsure whether an apprenticeship is right for you, come to one of our events where you can meet representatives from universities and apprenticeship providers. You will be able to speak to them and ask them questions you might have.
- By Philippa Coster