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What's an apprenticeship and how much do they get paid?

An apprenticeship is a great way to learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.

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i stock 53

You will spend most of your time in the workplace gaining job-specific skills, but you will also be supported by a specialist learning provider to build up your knowledge and qualifications.

Apprenticeship training can take between one and four years to complete and the length of your apprenticeship will depend on its level, the industry you’re training in and the skills you already have.

You must be 16 or over to start an apprenticeship and there are different levels you can study at:

Who are they for?

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Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged above 16 years-old - whether you are leaving school, have finished college or sixth form or are already in work. They can lead into full-time work or if you find you enjoy working and studying, you can carry on taking more qualifications and even progress to a degree.

There are no set entry requirements as this depends on the apprenticeship, however, competition for apprenticeships can be fierce, so good qualifications are important, as well as being motivated and committed. Research by the BBC found that a record 11 applications are being made for each apprenticeship vacancy in the UK. Some apprenticeships are more competitive with 17 applications per place, for example in the arts, media and ICT.

But don't be put off - the highest number of apprenticeship vacancies ever has recently been recorded, which means there are plenty of opportunities.

What will you get paid?

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All apprentices under the age of 19, or in their first year of an apprenticeship will be paid at least £3.50 per hour.

You will receive pay for the time you spend working, plus the time spent training so if you are a full-time apprentice, working and studying for 37 hours a week, that’s a minimum of £129.50 a week.

If you’re 19 or over and past your first year you get the rate that applies to your age - check what that is here.

Many apprentices earn significantly more and the average apprenticeship salary is about £170 per week.

How many hours will you work?

Your minimum hours of employment should be at least 30 hours per week. In exceptional cases, where your circumstances or the nature of employment makes this impossible, then an absolute minimum of 16 hours must be met. The hours you would be expected to work depends entirely on your employer and how their business operates. But there is a limit on the maximum hours you can work, which is 48 hours, or 40 hours if you are aged 18 or under. 

You will also get at least 20 days paid holiday a year as well as bank holidays.

More information about apprenticeships

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