Many people don’t understand what Apprenticeships in England really entail. If you found this blog, then you are probably considering doing an Apprenticeship yourself. I am a Digital Marketing Apprentice (Level 3) and believe it or not I left my second year of university to start an Apprenticeship and it was the best option for my career.
Hopefully by the time you finish reading this, you will understand the complicated parts behind Apprenticeships a little easier and really see the career prospects that Apprenticeships bring to UK citizens.
Apprenticeships in England are increasing due to the Apprenticeship Levy
The Apprenticeship Levy is a new tax brought in by the Government in 2017 for all UK employers that have a wage bill over £3 million. These businesses will pay 0.5% of their payroll to HMRC every month, helping to create 3 million more Apprenticeships in England by 2020. Now, these employers can either simply see this as a tax or get their contributions back by hiring and training Apprentices themselves.
Because of the new levy, there has never been a better time to be an Apprentice. Not only does the Apprenticeship Levy prove that the UK Government are looking more closely at Apprenticeships in England but it also means that employers from every industry will be looking to increase the number of Apprentices they employ.
There are now tougher guidelines for Apprentices such as “there must be a genuine job available for an Apprentice” meaning that a contract of employment, an Apprentice wage, job roles and support must all be provided by the employer.
Apprenticeships in England mean no age restriction – anyone can be an apprentice
Yep that’s right. With the Apprenticeship Levy being introduced there are now no age restrictions on those who wish to become an Apprentice! Anyone who is looking to progress in their career with Apprenticeship training also doesn’t need to worry about past qualifications as this no longer affects your position to apply either. In other words, Apprenticeships in England are no longer just for young people looking to ‘earn while you learn’ or start their first career.
Apprenticeships are a great route for those who wish to learn more about the industry they work in and offer recognised qualifications as well as career progression. Employers can either use their Apprenticeship Levy funds to hire and train new recruits or up-skill their existing employees, so if you already have a job and want to development at work make sure to talk to your manager and ask if your company is planning to offer an Apprenticeship programme soon.
Quality of Apprenticeships in England
With the Apprenticeship Levy comes the new Apprenticeship Standards. Originally, Apprentices did Frameworks, which were guidelines that were put in place to ensure that Apprentices are competent and qualified once their Apprenticeship has been completed. Now, these guidelines have been developed to improve the quality of Apprenticeships in England, and these are called Standards.
Apprenticeship Standards are created by employers, for employers meaning that the work and skills an Apprentice is taught are more relevant to the job and industry that they will be working in. The new Standards mean higher quality training for Apprentices and ensure that they feel confident going into the working world.
Because the skills and lessons that Apprentices will be taught are more relevant to the industry, employers will be more satisfied with the way the Apprentice performs in the work place.
Apprenticeships in England have new assessment procedures
All Apprentices must do an assessment as part of their Apprenticeship to prove their competency and behaviour is enough for them to gain their qualification and become a productive employee in the industry they are working in. As part of the development of the new Apprenticeship Standards, there is now a focus on how the assessment of an Apprentices development is done.
Before the new Standards, assessment was done throughout the Apprenticeship but now, it will be done at the end. This is called an end point assessment (EPA) and each new Standard will set out how the end point assessment will be delivered.
End point assessments combine multiple methods so that there is more flexibility in how Apprentices are supported and evaluated. Some of the methods used in end point assessments are:
• Portfolio of evidence
Apprentices will find that the assessment chosen for them will reflect the sort of work and skills that they will find in their real workplace. The new procedure has been put in place to ensure that Apprentices are being taught the right things for their job role and emphasises the diverse ways a learner can perform.
End point assessments also mean that Apprenticeships in England are now graded, meaning employers will find stronger talent easier and Apprentices will get more for the effort they put it.
Apprenticeships in England are broad
England are one of the best countries in the world regarding Apprenticeship programmes. Not only are they fully supported by the Government, which we know because of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, but there are also so many different opportunities that come from Apprenticeships in England.
There are many different Apprenticeship programmes that you could undertake; such as IT, Health and Social Care, Construction, Marketing and more, meaning if you choose an Apprenticeship, there is a wide variety of professional routes to choose from.
You will always be able to find a career that suits your skills set due to the vast number of sectors that are included in Apprenticeships in England.
Apprenticeships in England are becoming more relevant due to the Institute for Apprenticeships
Another organisation that backs the development of Apprenticeships in England is The Institute For Apprenticeships (IfA).
The IfA is an organisation that is led by employers. Their aim is to make sure that all Apprenticeship Standards are of a high quality and meet the needs of both the Apprentice and the Employer to be satisfied with what is being taught.
They were established by the Apprenticeship Skills and Learning Act 2009 and amended by the Enterprise Act 2016. The IfA advise the Government on all things Apprenticeships such as the funding levels and ensure that all end point assessments are quality assured.
This organisation should help reassure employers and Apprentices that all Apprenticeships in England are of a high quality. The Institute for Apprenticeships is there to make sure that learners are being taught the necessary skills to become a successful employee in the industry they choose. They are also a big support regarding the transition from the old Frameworks to the new Standards.
Why choose an Apprenticeship?
So by now, all this information has hopefully made you see the potential and success of Apprenticeships in England. But, why choose to do one?
Here are my four main reasons to choose an Apprenticeship:
I have always been a confident person at school but even for me, starting my first real job with career potential, was daunting. Not only did I find that my Apprenticeship gave me purpose to get up in the morning, I feel valued in doing so. I have learnt how to behave around different people that I may have never met without doing my Apprenticeship, was taught CV tips and confidence building and I am constantly developing my professionalism through events, phone calls and meetings.
Apprenticeships in England are an extremely popular route for employers when recruiting into their business. You need to remember that when you apply for a job to become an Apprentice, this business is already happy to employ Apprentices. This means that they are willing to help you learn, your manager will want you to ask questions and most importantly your lack of experience isn’t noticed but your enthusiasm to learn is.
I found that since starting my Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing a year ago, not only has my confidence grown in a professional way but so many doors have opened since. Because of all the skills and experience I am learning in my job, I now see the many different career paths that I can take.
After my 2 years of learning and gaining experience in my marketing job at 3aaa Apprenticeships, I will be able to apply not only for digital marketing jobs in the education sector but I could apply to work at any business that needs marketing, which is every business!
Earn while you learn
Now my favourite part of being an Apprentice is that you are being paid to learn. I moved out within the first year of my Apprenticeship and even if that isn’t one of your goals, having a nice amount of money in your bank every month while learning more about your job role is still a brilliant asset.
While others are doing work experience or are at university, you have the upper hand. You have put your foot through the door before others have even got a clear idea of what they want to do. And if you realise that this sort of job role isn’t for you? Then at least you have developed professionally, gained some money, a qualification and have a better idea of what sort of job is for you.
Not only are you being paid to learn but if you complete your Apprenticeship, you have the qualifications to prove how well you have done. Employers these days look for qualifications and experience and an Apprenticeship combines the two, which really is the best of both worlds. The point of an Apprenticeship is to show that you are not only educated enough to work in a certain industry but have the relevant qualifications to verify this.
An Apprenticeship at level 3 is the equivalent to A-Levels and level 4 is equivalent to a foundation degree. Once you complete your level 4 Apprenticeship, you could carry on your learning and develop your career opportunities further by doing a degree afterwards. Although saying this, many employers prefer to educate and train their own staff so unless they ask you to go to university to get a degree, being a productive employee that always wants to improve will be enough to have a successful career.
Overall, Apprenticeships in England have never been more sustainable. Not only have the Government emphasised the importance of Apprenticeships but the introduction of the Institute for Apprenticeships and changes to Apprenticeship Standards means that all Apprentices will be taught a higher quality set of skills to ensure they are ready for the working world. So, take it from me, if you’re considering becoming an Apprentice, now is the time to do so.
To apply to become an Apprentice with 3aaa Apprenticeships, a national company who were the first independent training provider to be accredited Grade 1 Outstanding by Ofsted on a first inspection visit apprenticecareer.co.uk. They specialise in the delivery of Professional Services Apprenticeships such as Technology, Digital Marketing, Accountancy and Business Administration.
To look at all the available Apprenticeship vacancies across England visit https://www.apprenticecareer.co.uk/jobmap/