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Is an apprenticeship right for you?

Apprenticeships combine real work with training and study for a specific role. You’ll learn new skills, gain experience and earn a salary too. Being an apprentice can be an exciting and rewarding career path. Before applying you should also consider that as an apprentice you’ll have to: 

  • balance a job with studying and your home life 
  • work under supervision and guidance 
  • complete regular assessments, including an end-point assessment 
  • usually train for one specific role

What are the advantages of apprenticeships?

Open to everyone: apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers, they’re for everyone.

To apply for an apprenticeship, you’ll need to be: 

  • 16 or older 
  • not in full-time education 
  • living in England 

Earn as you learn: apprentices are employees too, which means you'll get a salary while gaining work experience. You’ll be learning on the job and applying your new skills in a real work environment.

Nationally recognised training: you'll get training that’s recognised and valued by employers throughout England and the UK.

No student debt: apprentices don’t pay tuition fees and aren’t eligible for student loans, so there’s no student debt to worry about. You’re still entitled to student discounts though and can get an NUS card.

What are the disadvantages of apprenticeships? 

Not suited to everyone: an apprenticeship may not be the right career move for you. If there’s an apprenticeship you’re interested in, remember to do your research before applying. This will help you understand what’s expected of you and the realities of becoming an apprentice.

Balancing work and study: apprentices are held to the same standards as their work colleagues, while also having to meet course deadlines and passing exams.

Less flexibility: some apprenticeships offer fewer opportunities to explore different industries compared to a regular university education.

Lower initial pay: apprentices may earn less than fully qualified employees in the same industry, until they’ve completed their apprenticeship.

If you’re not sure whether an apprenticeship is right for you, you can talk to a dedicated adviser at the National Careers Service.

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