During the National Apprenticeship Week, employers and apprentices will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships while encouraging even more people to choose an apprenticeship as the pathway to a great career. Here, Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service busts the top ten common myths surrounding apprenticeships.
Myth 1. Apprenticeships are for people who don’t do well at school
Apprenticeships are an alternative route into skilled employment and offer people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to progress in work and life. They’re a great way to earn while you learn, gain vital work experience and set yourself on a fast-track to a successful career.
Myth 2. Apprenticeships are only available in manual industries
Apprenticeships are now available in over hundreds of occupations in many industries, ranging from nuclear to fashion, and from banking to defence. And employer-led government reforms are creating even better apprenticeships in more sectors, covering more roles, to help meet employer needs.
Myth 3. Apprenticeships are low quality
Quality is at the heart of apprenticeships which is why last year the government has launched the Institute for Apprenticeships, putting employers at the heart of decision-making processes and ensuring all apprenticeships deliver the same high-quality training.
Myth 4. Apprenticeships don’t lead to good qualifications
Apprenticeships offer a great career pathway. Learners can progress from intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeships right up to Higher and even Degree Apprenticeships with top universities. Over four in five apprentices say an apprenticeship has improved their career prospects with 85% going into work or further training.
Myth 5. Apprentices will never earn very much
Apprentices will receive at least the national minimum wage – currently, £3.50 per hour for 16-18-year olds and those aged 19 plus in the first year of their apprenticeship – and most employers will pay more than this. Apprenticeships boost earnings potential in the longer term too: individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications.
Myth 6. Apprentices don’t study at university
Apprenticeships offer a high-quality work-based alternative to academic study – and you can even get a degree whilst on your apprenticeship. Degree and Higher apprenticeships offer ambitious school leavers or experienced professionals looking to upskill the opportunity to learn at university, to degree level. And higher apprentices could earn £150,000 more on average over their lifetime compared to those with Level 3 vocational qualifications.
Myth 7. Businesses are not taking apprentices on
In 2016/17 apprenticeship participation reached a record high of over 900,000. The Find an Apprenticeship website www.gov.uk/applyapprenticeship has between 12,000 and 20,000 vacancies on it at any one time – and the Government is investing £2.45bn to help it reach its target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Myth 8. Apprenticeships are only for school leavers
Apprenticeships are available to people of all ages making them a great option for anyone looking to change career, improve their skills, or re-enter the labour market. Over a quarter of a million apprentices starting in 2016/17 were aged 25 and over.
Myth 9. Apprenticeships don’t boost the economy
Apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy. They provide the skills to help businesses grow and enable the economy to prosper in the years to come. Research indicates that adult apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3 deliver £26 and £28 of economic benefits respectively for each pound of Government investment.
Myth 10. There’s no support for employers
Government reforms are ensuring that apprenticeships work for employers large and small. Levy funds are helping employers with a pay bill over £3m invest in high quality apprenticeship provision that meets their specific needs – with the government contributing 10pm for every £1 invested. For non-levy paying employers, the government funds 90% of training and assessments costs.
National Apprenticeship Week 2018 takes place from 5 to 9 March. The theme is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ to showcase how apprenticeships work for individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.
Employers looking to find out more about taking on an apprentice should visit: hireanapprentice.campaign.gov.uk. People looking for more information and support on applying for an apprenticeship can visit: getingofar.gov.uk
By Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service