Would an apprenticeship work for you?

As it’s National Apprenticeships Week, we’re looking at the ins and outs of these practical, work-based qualifications to help you decide whether it would be the right option for you.

Do you know what industry you want to work in?

Whether you want to be an accountant or aerospace engineer, there are apprenticeships in so many different industries.  

During National Apprenticeships Week (5th-11th February) our learners at RNN Group heard from a variety of companies about why they champion apprenticeships. There were talks by BT Group and National Grid, Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley, Amazon and Aldi, and the RAF and British Army.

They’re not just for school leavers. You have to be at least 16 to be an apprentice but there is no upper age limit. 

More and more companies are seeing the benefits of employing apprentices to ensure their future workforce have the right skills to enhance their businesses.

As an apprentice, you’ll train, learn and develop skills in a chosen industry that you want to work in. Apprenticeships last for a minimum of a year but can sometimes be up to four years depending on what level you’re working at. So it makes sense to be pretty much set that you know what career you want before you commit to it.

At RNN Group, we offer apprenticeships in jobs like joinery, plumbing, bricklaying, engineering, early years practitioner, and hairdressing.

But don’t panic if you don’t see your dream job listed on our websites or prospectus. Our apprenticeship recruitment team are there to help you find something suitable. You can email them your CV at enquiries@rnngroup.co.uk to be considered first for upcoming vacancies.

Fun Fact: Celebrities who started as apprentices

  • Sir Alex Ferguson – Toolmaking
  • Conor McGregor – Plumbing
  • Jamie Oliver – Catering
  • John Frieda – Hairdressing
  • Stella McCartney – Tailoring
  • Karren Brady – Advertising

Do you want to earn a wage while training?

One of the biggest plus-points for those weighing up whether to do an apprenticeship is the money.

Apprentices are taken on by companies as a paid employee, which means they get a salary each week or month. The current hourly pay for an apprentice is £5.28 but this increases to £6.40 from 1st April 2024.

Many companies choose to pay their apprentices more than the minimum wage – they know they’ve got to compete with non-apprenticeship jobs that are paying more to lure in staff.

With money in your pocket, you could save up for a car or mates holiday, will be able to pay board at home, and not worry about affording nights out or doing what you want.

As well as the regular pay packet, being a paid employee entitles you to the same employment rights as any other worker. If you’re contracted to full-time hours, you’ll get at least 20 days’ holiday pay a year, can claim statutory sick pay if you end up off work, and get the legal fair working hours and breaks between shifts.

Do you prefer hands-on learning?

For some people, learning through theory doesn’t always spark imagination or hold attention. And that’s okay. There’s not just one way to learn.

The great thing about apprenticeships is that its so hands-on. You’ll be learning from those who know their way around a building site or shop floor – and they’ll probably tell you they’ve been doing the job since before you were born!

You’re given the trust and responsibility to work on projects by yourself, getting to grips with how things are done. Yes, you might make mistakes but you’ll also learn how to fix them. As they say, practice makes perfect. And no, you’re not just there to make the brews!

There is still an element of off-the-job training. Your weeks will be split 80/20 between working and classroom-based learning. If you do a 30-hour week, that means six hours must be off-the-job training. This is usually a day-release to college every week, with lectures, online learning, practical training, or writing assignments.

To pass an apprenticeship, there will be an End Point Assessment (EPA) to show how competent you are. This could include a practical skills test, presentation, interview, multiple choice test, or workplace observation. If you don’t pass, you’ll be able to resit parts of it or the whole EPA.

Do you want to get ahead in your career?

When looking for jobs, young people often find that a lack of experience is what stops them being considered for a role. But if you have done an apprenticeship, you’ll have already got a couple of years of work experience under your belt.

Around 93 percent of apprentices remain in employment after they pass their course. Many employers will take their apprentices on in full-time, permanent roles – they’ve already put the time and effort into training them up, so it makes business sense to keep them within the company.

But if you do decide to move on, for whatever reason, your CV will stand out from the crowd and help you climb the next rung of that career ladder.

Do you want to avoid student debt?

Many people don’t realise that apprenticeships can go right up to degree level. You could work towards a Bachelor’s or master’s qualification. And the best thing is that any university fees are paid by your employer.

This can make a huge difference for people looking at their options. At the minute, tuition fees for undergraduate courses are capped at £9,250/year. The average student leaves uni with around £45,000 of debt. And that’s before the 7.6% interest rate. This can result in a substantial repayment amount taken out your monthly wage.

Apprenticeship levels:

Level 2 – Intermediate – You’ll need 2 or more GCSEs

Level 3 – Advanced – You’ll need 5 or more GCSEs at 9-4 (A*-C) or a L2 apprenticeship

Level 4/5 – Higher – You’ll need 2 A Levels or a L3 qualification. Equivalent to a HNC/D or foundation degree

Level 6/7 – Degree – Working toward BA or MA degree

Find out more about apprenticeships at RNN Group

Click on the College logos below to find out more about the apprenticeships that we offer within the Group:

Rotherham College logo
North Notts College logo
Dearne Valley College logo

We also offer higher or degree apprenticeships at our University Centre Rotherham.

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