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Importance of Apprenticeships for UK students

Date Added: 08/11/2021

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The importance of apprenticeship needs no overemphasis given the support it offers smooth landing in a job with the right credentials. In the UK too, apprenticeship is the best stepping stone towards a full-time job. 

In the UK there is tremendous encouragement at the government level for apprenticeship programs. Some of the recent policy reforms have expanded the opportunity and there is good collaboration with the business and industry as well. 

Under the reforms, the government collects a 0.5 percent levy from those employers whose wage bill is above 3 million pounds in a year to take care of the apprenticeship payment pool.  

According to experts, in the UK, the space of apprenticeship will only grow as COVID-19 disruption has affected many industries including manufacturing who want trained talent to enter the workforce as everything opens up and go back to normal. 

According to UK economic consultancy CEBR, apprenticeships contribute £3.4 billion by 2022 to the national economy. It also notes between 2012 and 2022, nearly 3.8 million people will have completed an apprenticeship. 


Employers want candidates with experience

Experience is vital for job seekers as employers will not hire raw candidates and are want dynamic candidates with the capacity to apply their skills and knowledge in the workplace competently. 

Students need to take notice of this market compulsion and reality and the apprenticeship opportunity to ramp up skills, work experience and update qualifications to stay ahead of the competition and shine at the workplace. 


New skills and practical experience

Apprenticeship teaches how to apply theoretical knowledge in practical situations and have an edge in the competitive job market. The gain of apprenticeship is not limited to a few practical skills as it also amalgamates many personal skills within the professional framework of company life. 

Apprenticeship builds skills of working for common goals, team spirit, tackling pressure, handling responsibilities and inculcating the discipline to perform duties professionally. 


Components of apprenticeship

Fundamentally, apprenticeship is all about learning to work in a real-life workplace eco system where classroom education and practical training will coexist. For example, if a young graduate has the ambition to become an IT professional but faces barriers of practical experience at par with the employers’ requirements, his option can be an apprenticeship to fill up the gap. 

An apprenticeship under an experienced IT specialist will equip the desired skills sought by the employer for the particular role. 

Apart from hands-on training, classroom lectures help to update the theoretical knowledge from a labour sector point of view. But the content ratio of practical and theory will vary depending on the type of apprenticeship.

In the UK, apprentices have to spend a minimum of one day a week attending class-based lectures. The stipend of apprenticeship is borne by the UK Government and employer jointly.

The apprenticeship programs are designed for those aged from 16 to 19. The employee has to pay the apprentice, which as per law has to be a minimum of £3.90 hourly, equalling US$5.38. Degree apprentices will earn more. 


Placement offers

Apprentices benefit from direct contact with certified professionals who have decades of experience. Some apprenticeships evolve into placement offers as many companies are keen to absorb the talents they have nurtured.

For companies, apprenticeships are a fantastic way to train new staff most cost-effectively. 


Higher job prospects

Apprenticeship is no longer about getting paid and of some monetary benefit. It brings direct experience and makes the employability potential of a candidate superb. There is only less than 5 percent of apprentice joblessness after a year of completing training. For the same period, the jobless rate among university graduates is 16 percent. 

On-the-job training makes apprentices learn faster what is expected in a workplace. Also, the platter of courses available for apprentices is growing rapidly covering construction, business administration, engineering, and many things in between.


Apprenticeships in the UK

In the UK, there are four main types of apprenticeships

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2)
  • Advanced apprenticeships (L3)
  • Higher apprenticeships (L4)
  • Degree apprenticeships (L5 – 7)


Eligibility for students 

The basic eligibility for apprenticeships is age above 16 and he must be residing in the UK and not pursuing any full-time education. Opportunity for International students also exists in the UK. 

They can seek advice from their university in the UK or Apprenticeships and Technical Education Institutes for available slots.


Ways to find an apprenticeship in the UK

The UK offers vast job opportunities. But they are no match to the thousands of students who pass out of universities with degrees every year. That makes the fight for jobs very intense and competition becomes stringent. Survival of the best happens as guys with excellent practical skills stand out. To take on the competition apprenticeship in the UK can be leveraged as it gives an economic cushion and a pathway to a job.


Online sources 

Students attending universities and looking to gain relevant work experience must contact university authorities for help in finding apprenticeship programmes. The websites of UK Government and UCAS websites have lots of guidance material on a wide range of apprenticeships. 

Aspirants can create an online account to receive alerts on the apprenticeships on offer. 


Entry requirements

Entry requirements for apprenticeships vary for different internships. The main apprenticeships are the following.

  • Intermediate (Level 2)
  • Advanced (Level 3) 
  • Higher (Level 4 and above) 
  • Degree 


The UK government has been urging businesses to take more apprentices and add value to businesses and the economy as it can also cut unemployment rates.

Developing apprenticeships in the competitive engineering career has been assisting UK companies to compete on a global scale. This is true in sectors like aerospace, security and defence. 

Competitiveness in innovation and technological development assures companies with growth and expansion when they widen apprenticeship positions. Apprentices also help companies to assign smaller tasks to these fresh learners and free up experienced staff to concentrate on key areas making businesses more productive. 

Apprentices with their willingness to learn and openness to new ideas add fresh insights helping great ideas do flow on the company floors.

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