Parent Guide

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job with training which would allow your daughter or son to earn while they learn, all whilst gaining a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete and cover 1,500 job roles in a wide range of industries, from engineering to accountancy, public relations to veterinary nursing. Apprenticeships are now available up to degree level and beyond.

What are the benefits?

As a parent, you want your child to get the best possible start in their career. There are many options available to young people after they leave school, and in this guide we outline information and benefits about apprenticeships as a key route into a successful career. They include:

  • Earning a salary
  • Training in the skills employers want
  • Excellent progression opportunities, whether looking to study further or climb the ranks within the workplace
  • Increased future earning potential – apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training, and those completing a higher apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime
  • Learning at a pace suited to the individual with the support of a mentor
  • Paid holiday

Entry requirements

Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in England. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

Apprenticeship levels

There are various levels of apprenticeship your son or daughter could apply for depending on their current skills and qualifications:

  • Intermediate apprenticeship (level 2)
  • Advanced apprenticeship (level 3)
  • Higher and degree apprenticeships (level 4 or above).

The core components for intermediate and advanced apprenticeships are: – A nationally recognised vocational qualification; – Functional skills (e.g. literacy, numeracy and ICT); – A technical certificate such as a BTEC or City & Guilds (relevant to the specific Apprenticeship); – Other professional qualifications or requirements as specified by the particular job. The core components for higher and degree apprenticeships are as above but exclude the functional skills element.


The minimum wage for apprentices is £3.50 per hour, but many employers pay more than this. This is dependant on the sector, region and apprenticeship level e.g. some higher apprenticeships can pay as much as £300 – £500 per week.

School leaving age

The government has increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training. If your child was born on or after 1 September 1997 they must stay in some form of education or training until at least their 18th birthday. This does not necessarily mean staying in school; young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training post-16, which could be through: – Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider. – Full-time work or volunteering combined with part-time education or training. – An apprenticeship or traineeship.