Myth busting apprenticeships
Many people hold an outdated perception of apprentices. They're normally seen as school leavers doing manual, low-skilled jobs. They’ve probably got a bit of an I-don’t-care attitude and have more than a few things to learn about life in the workplace.
How wrong that image is.
It’s time to take the apprentice stereotype, turn it on its head and give apprenticeships the credit that they deserve. Nowadays, they’re one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to upskill your team.
Let’s squash those apprenticeship myths once and for all…
Myth one: Apprenticeships are for people who don’t do well at school
Apprenticeships are simply an alternative route into skilled employment. They are a great way to earn while you learn, gain vital work experience or support a change in career direction and Apprenticeships can be accessed with a mix of qualifications and experience to anyone over the age of 16 and provide the opportunity to gain new qualifications.
Myth two: Apprenticeships are only for school leavers
The minimum age for starting an apprenticeship is 16, however, apprenticeships are available to people of all ages and at any stage of their career. This makes them a great option for anyone looking to start their employment journey, change career, improve their skills in order to secure a new role or re-enter the labour market having taken some time out for whatever reason.
So, anyone over the age of 16 can gain the skills that they need through apprenticeships. They come in all shapes and sizes and cover more than 170 industries and 1,500 job roles, including digital media, business improvement techniques, nursing, cyber security, engineering, finance, costume design… No matter what the needs of your business or how niche the services and products are that you offer, there will most likely be an apprenticeship to suit your business.
Myth three: Apprenticeships don’t lead to good qualifications
Apprenticeships come in a range of different levels, starting from Level 2 and going on through to higher and degree level apprenticeships.
Name LevelEquivalent academic level
Intermediate 25 GCSEs A* - C
Advanced32 A-level passes
Higher 4,5 Foundation Degree
Degree 6,7 Bachelor's or Master's degree
More and more people are now choosing an apprenticeship as an alternative to university while nearly a fifth (19%) of advanced apprentices progress to higher education over time following their apprenticeship.
Myth four: Apprentices will never earn very much
Apprentices must receive at least the apprentice national minimum wage. Currently, the national minimum wage is £4.15 per hour for those aged under 19 (or those over 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship).
Research indicates that higher level apprentices could earn £150,000 more on average over their lifetime compared to those with level 3 vocational qualifications. On average, achieving a level 2 or level 3 apprenticeship boosts earnings by 11% and 16% respectively. Although there is variation by subject, most subjects deliver a return of around 10%.
Myth five: Employers don’t value apprenticeships
Research indicates that apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by on average £214 per week so more and more employers are now choosing to grow their business through apprenticeships.
And with employers saying that former apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications, apprenticeships genuinely provide a stepping-stone to a brighter future.
Myth six: Apprentices get trained, then leave the company
According to Department for Education research, a quarter of former apprentices (23%) secure a promotion within 12 months of qualifying. In fact, more than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their course ends, with 71% remaining with the same employer.
Depending on the sector and job role, an apprenticeship can take anything between one and five years to complete. This time builds loyalty, so much so that 71% of apprentices stay with their employer once they have completed the training. There’s always an exception to the rule but most apprentices are in it for the long run – they pick you as an employer as much as you pick them as an employee. Get the recruitment right and you could be looking at your managers of the future.
Myth seven: Apprenticeships are a drain on business resources
Apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by an average £214 per week. They help businesses grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce which in turn leads to increased profits, lower prices and better products. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Myth eight: Apprenticeships are expensive
Actually, they are one of the most cost-effective ways to bring new skills into a business. All apprentices must be paid at least the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage relevant to their age. Another important cost to consider is the training itself which businesses pay direct to their chosen training provider. Funding is available to help with this and how much depends on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy.
If you pay the apprenticeship levy the government will give you funds towards paying for apprenticeship training. The apprenticeship levy is paid by businesses with a pay bill that exceeds £3 million every year and works out as 0.5% of your total pay bill.
If you don’t pay the apprenticeship levy you can still get help for 95% of the cost of training your apprentices and it is possible that you may even be eligible for further funding support depending on your circumstances.
Myth nine: Apprentice recruitment is difficult
It isn’t and lots of support is available. It is up to you which training provider you use and who you recruit as your apprentice. You know your business best and are in the best position to know what will be the right fit, but lots of help is at hand to guide you through all the options.
Myth 10: Apprentice recruitment is difficult
Thought that apprenticeships were just for school leavers or were recruited into companies? Many businesses do not realise that adult employees are training through the apprenticeship programme. In 2014, 151,680 apprentices were aged 25 or older, with 2,480 aged 60 or more.