Setting off on a career path can be overwhelming for young people. As their parent, guardian or carer, you will play a key role in guiding them as they take their next step. Whether they get top grades or don’t thrive in academic environments, apprenticeships shouldn’t be overlooked. With new higher and degree apprenticeships popping up each year, they could get the best of both worlds – learning and earning at the same time.

Apprenticeships, but not as you know them

Perceptions of apprenticeships as entry-level, trade-based, low-quality courses persist – yet this could not be further from today’s reality. Changes to funding, minimum requirements and the development of occupation-focused standards have driven up the quality of apprenticeships, and employers are taking notice. While earning a wage, apprentices gain highly transferable skills and training (which could include a degree) to set them up for a wide range of career paths. Alongside this, they will gain hands-on experience in a real-world setting – an invaluable asset when it comes to future employment.

They will earn a salary – and their training will be paid for

An apprenticeship can boost a young person’s career, while offering great financial benefits. They will be paid (at least the national minimum wage, but often a more competitive salary), and they will spend at least 20% of their time completing off-the-job training – at no cost to them. This could include working towards a degree or other qualifications. At the same time, they will gain experience in a real workplace, and develop important soft skills as they transition into the world of work.

They will get experience in a relevant role, plus career-boosting skills

From digital marketing and teaching to dental healthcare and textile manufacturing, there is an apprenticeship for everyone – and the number available is constantly on the rise. During the apprenticeship, your child will gain an important insight into their chosen industry – and if they decide the occupation is not for them, they will be equipped with skills and experience to make them extremely employable, no matter what step they take next. In fact, 88% of apprentices remain in employment after completing their apprenticeship.

Levels of apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have the following equivalent educational levels:

Apprenticeship2GCSE grades 4 and above
ADVANCED Apprenticeship3A level
HIGHER Apprenticeship4, 5, 6 and 7Foundation degree and above
DEGREE Apprenticeship6 and 7Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Next steps

If your child is not sure which route to take, it is worth remembering that they can keep their options open. They could apply for both university degrees and apprenticeships, for example, and make their final decision when they have had more time to research and reflect.

What happens if my child is not ready for an Apprenticeship?

A traineeship is a programme of study with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months.

The aim of a traineeship is to help people of school leaver age, or slightly older, to acquire the necessary skills that many employers look for in apprentices and potential future employees.

This includes soft skills, such as organisation and communication. A traineeship can also involve interview preparation, help with filling out application forms and support to help you settle into the workplace.

Traineeships are designed to help young people develop the skills and qualifications that they may not have been able to pick up at school. Trainees then have the opportunity to showcase these skills to employers though work experience placements.

A traineeship is a pathway into further education programmes like apprenticeships and a first step towards a career.

Is a traineeship worth it?

Unlike an apprenticeship, young people on traineeships do not receive a wage, but would be given expenses for things like travel and meals.  Traineeships provide young people with a very effective route into a long-term career and for employers it can ensure that they are able to attract and develop talented people to become valued, skills and enthusiastic members of their workforce.

Next steps

If your child is not sure which route to take, it is worth remembering that they can keep their options open and make their final decision when they have had more time to research and reflect. 

For additional advice and support please get in contact​​​​

To view the full list of apprenticeships available please visit out provider spotty grid here