What is an Apprenticeship

What are Apprenticeships?

As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job specific skills. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Anyone living in England, over 16 years old and not in full-time education can apply for an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of Apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £2.65 per hour; however, many apprentices earn significantly more.

View an apprenticeship case study.

Who are they for?

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. You just need to be living in England and not taking part in full-time education.

There may be different entry requirements depending on the Apprenticeship and the industry sector. However competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you. You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.


As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation. You can complete this off-the-job training on day release or over a number of days in a block. The amount of time you spend varies according to your Apprenticeship. It could be anything from one day every other fortnight to two days every week. So all the things you study will be useful in your job and help you succeed in your future career.

Your employment will be for at least 30 hours per week. There may be a small number of circumstances where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours. In these cases employment will be for more than 16 hours per week.

When you start work as an apprentice you are in a real job.

An apprenticeship is a real job with training so you can earn while you learn and pick up some nationally recognised qualifications as you go. Apprenticeships cover 1500 job roles in a wide range of industries, from things like engineering to finance advice, veterinary nursing to accountancy.

Main benefits:

  • Earning a salary
  • Training in the skills employers want
  • Excellent progression opportunities, whether looking to study further or climb the ranks within the workplace
  • Increased future earning potential. Apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training
  • Better long term salary prospects
  • Learning at a pace suited to the individual with the support of a mentor
  • Paid holiday

5 Top Tips for finding an apprenticeship

  1. Doing work experience/ voluntary work looks great on your CV and it’s what employers are looking for!
  2. Have a back up plan. Whether it be applying for a full time course at college or joining a Foundation Learning provider
  3. Be pro active when looking for apprenticeships
  4. Attend apprenticeship events in your local area
  5. Stay Positive!

4 things you need to know

As an Apprentice, you will be required to work around 7 hours each day. Depending on the type of role you are in, this could be during the evening or even at weekends.

  1. Expect to be tired - the working day is often longer than at school or college, and you will be using your brain in quite a different way. At first, you will probably find going to work every day quite tiring, but in time you will adapt and eventually it will become the norm!
  2. You might find it difficult, but this is how it will be whenever you start a new job. You have a line manager who will support you and answer any queries you have.
  3. At the beginning your role may be repetitive and even boring- stick with it, we all have to start somewhere and it won’t be like this forever.
  4. In Telford and Wrekin, we see lots of apprenticeship vacancies in business administration, engineering and manufacturing.

How to find an apprenticeship

Find out about the Ladder for Shropshire initiative.

Register on the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website or find out about Science Apprenticeships.

NAS is a really useful website to use. It lists the majority of apprenticeships on there. If you need any help using NAS, your Careers Adviser can assist you. Careers Advisers are based in schools in the Telford and Wrekin area.

Find out about apprenticeships available in Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire on the vacancies page.