Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to start work and gain qualifications and skills at the same time.
An apprentice does a real job for a real employer. They study for recognised professional qualifications, while learning essential job-specific skills from experienced colleagues.
There are three types of apprenticeship, which take between one and five years to complete depending on the level, the industry and the apprentice’s existing skills.
Anyone who is over 16, living in Wales and not in full-time education can apply for an apprenticeship. Competition is strong so the young person must demonstrate their determination to progress through the apprenticeship.
The benefits of an apprenticeship
An apprenticeship offers many benefits, including:
- getting paid from day one
- practical and theoretical training from the outset
- being paid to attend college
- support to improve numeracy, literacy and ICT skills if needed
- gaining a work-based qualification (at least Level 2 from the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales)
- the possibility of studying to degree level and beyond, e.g. in engineering, construction, business administration
- developing ‘transferable’ skills like teamwork, initiative and time management
- using up-to-date technologies and methods.
Types of apprenticeship
There are three types of apprenticeship because different jobs need different levels of qualifications, some higher than others.
- Foundation Apprenticeship – working towards an NVQ Level 2
- Apprenticeship – working towards an NVQ Level 3
- Higher Apprenticeship – working towards an NVQ Level 4 or degree
Each level of apprenticeship has different entry requirements.
There are apprenticeships ranging from construction to hairdressing, childcare to business administration, customer service to graphic design, horticulture and engineering. The Army offers an apprenticeship programme to new recruits.
Careers Wales has an apprenticeship matching database so you can find out what’s available in your area.
Hours and pay
Apprentices should work for at least 30 hours a week and no more than 40, including the time spent at college or in off-the-job training.
All apprenticeships are paid a salary; however, the amount depends on age, type of apprenticeship and how long the apprentice has been training.
More information about apprentice pay and conditions is available here.
For more information about apprentices contact Careers Wales.