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Learning Through an Apprenticeship

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Nov 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Learning Through Apprenticeships

It’s a well known fact that there are many people who are not particularly good when it comes to ‘academics’ but who, nevertheless, have many practical skills with which they can carve out a career for themselves. Apprenticeships are often the answer. They not only enable you to develop your skills further, learn new ones, receive further training and obtain professionally recognised qualifications but you’ll also benefit by being able to achieve all of the above whilst also having a job and learning whilst earning a pay packet at the same time.

They are not strictly focused on practical work per se. In fact, many apprenticeships will require you to undertake college courses which might contain an element of academic ability in some way. However, before you write them off because you felt you were hopeless at school, it’s important to remember that this is not history, geography, R.E or any other subject which might have completely clouded your experience of school but you’ll be studying areas which are of relevance to your chosen profession and which, therefore, are more likely to be of interest to you which in turn makes it easier to learn.

Is An Apprenticeship Right For Me?

There is no real straightforward answer to this question. It all depends. There are around 180 apprenticeships on offer in the UK today which span across over 80 industry sectors. In addition to the more typical apprenticeship schemes you might be familiar with such as electricians, joiners, bricklayers and plumbers etc, you can also undertake apprenticeships in many of the so-called ‘white collar’ industries - in accountancy and business administration, for example. Usually, it’s a case of assessing your own skills and career preferences and then finding out more.

It should not, however, be considered an easy option to, say, going on to university, for example. Yes, there are some apprenticeships in which you can be qualified after a year or two which might seem far more preferable than going to university for 3 years, unpaid and with no guarantee of a job afterwards. However, to take the opposite standpoint, there are no guarantees that you’ll be kept on with your employer once your apprenticeship is completed - although in most cases, if you’ve become a valuable member of the workforce, a company will usually try to retain its most prized staff. Also, depending on the type of occupation you have in mind, certain apprenticeships can take up to 5 years which is even longer than the vast majority of university degree courses.

Ultimately, an apprenticeship is something you should consider carefully and it may well provide you with the perfect solution to both learning new skills and having a job at the same time and in some industries such as bricklaying, for example, if that’s where you see your future lying, an apprenticeship is likely to be the established route you will take. With any apprenticeship however, comes a lot of hard work and juggling the commitments of holding down a job with the training side of things.

Do I Need Qualifications?

Not necessarily. Many apprentices are taken on and nurtured because of their existing skills and personal commitment and dedication in their pursuit of a particular career. However, there are some more technically based apprenticeships which may require you to have A-C grades in English, Maths and Science to GCSE level.

What If I’m Older Than The ‘Conventional’ Apprentice?

Apprenticeships today are not just for the likes of school leavers and people in their late teens. In fact, in August 2007, the government introduced an initiative to offer apprenticeships to those over the age of 25. The scope of these can vary between different areas of the country, however, depending upon the types of skills that companies in your local area need.

For more information, you should start by visiting the UK’s dedicated ‘Apprenticeships’ website and your local Connexions office is also able to offer you advice and tell you where you might find out more details of what’s available in your area.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi I'm 26 almost 27 and have worked in it before but im looking to switch careers due to being dragged in into customer service and retail, something i don't want to do for the rest of my days! I always had a deeam of being a mechanic and did a alot of stuff when i was kid with my brother on the weekends, changing disc pads putting tyres on an alloy wheel changing spark plugs basic stuff but it was something have always enjoyed. Im a committed individual who has no personal commitmemts and will give it my all to achieve my dream. Please help? :)
Adam - 21-Nov-18 @ 2:07 PM
Hi I'm 36 and currently in my 2nd year at college studying towards an NVQ Level 2 in Plumbing. Upon completion of this year I will be at diploma level, however without a work placement (a qualified person/company to work with and gain evidence) for a portfolio I will not be able to complete the qualification. Is there information where I can find a placement as there is none available even close on the government site.
Phil - 6-Nov-18 @ 8:41 PM
Hi, I am 34 and would like to find apprenticeship in accounting/bookkeeping. I have got some experience but I'm not qualified. I can not afford the college. I live in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Thank you in advance for any information.
Katrina - 10-Sep-18 @ 5:55 PM
Eddie- Your Question:
Hi I’m 38 I live in Coventry and I would really like to gain nvq in pluming or some form of apprenticeship

Our Response:
The link here, which should help you further.
ExploreAdultLearning - 14-Aug-18 @ 12:34 PM
Hi I’m 38 I live in Coventry and I would really like to gain nvq in pluming or some form of apprenticeship
Eddie - 13-Aug-18 @ 4:32 PM
trig - Your Question:
Hi I'm 35 and want to start a mechanics course thing is I have a family now and can't really afford to do it fulltime.i would need evening courses. I'm not sure how I go about any of this?

Our Response:
The link here should tell you all you need to know about the route you should take. With regards to evening courses, you can do an online search for relevant courses in your locality. You can also see more about career development loans via the link here, as any training will cost. You would not be able to get an evening apprenticeship and training, as most are full-time day hours.
ExploreAdultLearning - 12-Jun-18 @ 10:36 AM
hi I'm 35 and want to start a mechanics course thing is I have a family now and can't really afford to do it fulltime.i would need evening courses. I'm not sure how I go about any of this?
trig - 11-Jun-18 @ 4:47 PM
Vicky - Your Question:
Hi, I need help ASAP on finding an adult apprenticeship. I'm 25, almost about to turn 26, I've been trying to get an apprenticeship for some time but didn't know what was right for me. I've settled on business and administration, if I'm honest, but I don't know where to start.I've suffered from depression since dropping out of university. I went to university on three A-Levels, graded A*A*A, so I'm pretty smart. I've just moved around with my partner a lot over the past few years, as a well as not being on benefits precluding me from a lot of help jobseeking wise. I don't have any work experience either, although I have volunteered off and on until the depression got really bad around 2 years ago. I'm really great at typing, I don't have an IT qualification although I'm highly computer literate (I can do basic coding and all-sorts). I'd like to finish my degree in the next few years but would really, really need an apprenticeship. Please, please help me.

Our Response:
I can only point you to the apprenticeship guide via the link here , which should be able to help you further.
ExploreAdultLearning - 30-Apr-18 @ 11:40 AM
Hi, I need help ASAP on finding an adult apprenticeship. I'm 25, almost about to turn 26, I've been trying to get an apprenticeship for some time but didn't know what was right for me. I've settled on business and administration, if I'm honest, but I don't know where to start. I've suffered from depression since dropping out of university. I went to university on three A-Levels, graded A*A*A, so I'm pretty smart. I've just moved around with my partner a lot over the past few years, as a well as not being on benefits precluding me from a lot of help jobseeking wise. I don't have any work experience either, although I have volunteered off and on until the depression got really bad around 2 years ago. I'm really great at typing, I don't have an IT qualification although I'm highly computer literate (I can do basic coding and all-sorts). I'd like to finish my degree in the next few years but would really, really need an apprenticeship. Please, please help me.
Vicky - 29-Apr-18 @ 3:33 PM
Micky - Your Question:
Hi. I'm in my 40s now. I'm looking to get into coding or database Sql type stuff. Even web design. As I did complete a course years back but had to look after a very I'll relative so never had the energy time or motivation. I have worked in care for a while but would love to work In IT. Any advice please?ThanksMichael

Our Response:
I can only direct you to the Adult Apprenticeship link here , which will tell you all you need to know.
ExploreAdultLearning - 24-Apr-18 @ 12:20 PM
Hi. I'm in my 40s now. I'm looking to get into coding or database Sql type stuff. Even web design. As I did complete a course years back but had to look after a very I'll relative so never had the energy time or motivation . I have worked in care for a while but would love to work In IT. Any advice please? Thanks Michael
Micky - 23-Apr-18 @ 7:21 PM
@CA88 - if you have an unfinished degree it doesn't count for much. An apprenticeship in business consultancy wouldn't really apply to apprenticeships as business consultancy is aimed at an older demographic. I don't think you could apply to do a masters without finishing your degree. Although some unis might allow this if you have the experience. But then you would have to get a loan to fund the study. You are not going to get free business consultancy training, as nothing is free these days. You're in a tricky position without the proper paper qualifications. Personally, I'd contact the universities to see whether you can get on an MA, and suck up the expense, if business consultancy is what you really wish to do. However, there is still no guarantee of a job at the end of it. That's the problem these days :( Best of luck with whatever you do. At least you have worked in education and it should be easier to get work at a university if you have previously worked at one.
NBB - 9-Apr-18 @ 2:14 PM
Hello, I’m 40 years old, I’d like to find apprenticeships in business consultancy with law in international business or something related. I don’t think at my age I have many options, I have a varied career in sales, insurance and banking, and worked in international student recruitment up to managerial level for most of this time. I’ve relocated to Wiltshire and I’m now not able to find any jobs related to my experience or business development or my aspirations, I feel stuck on what I can get. I feel my experience counts for very little, I have an unfinished degree from abroad and an English GCSE and certificate in SS from OpenUni, I feel need further education or PG degree which I’m willing to do but don’t know where to start and don’t want to feel like I’m starting as a novice, I’m not in a position to pay high university fees at this point. Any advice please?
CA88 - 7-Apr-18 @ 2:55 PM
jim - Your Question:
Hi I'm 37 years old, my employer a printing company are looking to train me as a printer which I am very excited about as I have never been gave a chance to better myself with any company I have ever worked for. My work ethic, eagerness to learn and showing I am capable of doing more has finaly paid off. I have done some research and found a training provider offering the correct type print training I would require. I would love to do the apprenticeship route and was wondering if any help with funding was available for someone my age in scotland. I have looked at skills development scotland and similar websites and cannot find much information on adult apprenticeships.please help.

Our Response:
Much depends whether you will still be working for your employer and getting paid still? You would need to give more details. Surely your employer has given you an indication regarding how it wishes you to be trained?
ExploreAdultLearning - 3-Apr-18 @ 2:17 PM
hi I'm 37 years old,my employer a printing company are looking to train me as a printer which i am very excited about as i have never been gave a chance to better myself with any company i have ever worked for. My work ethic, eagerness to learn and showing i am capable of doing more has finaly paid off. I have done some research and found a training provider offering the correct type print training i would require. I would love to do the apprenticeship route and was wondering if any help with funding was available for someone my age in scotland. i have looked at skills development scotland and similar websites and cannot find much information on adult apprenticeships...please help.
jim - 2-Apr-18 @ 7:55 PM
@Dj - you may be able to get on a free college course for hairdressing. However, most course are paid for if you want to specifically become a barber, as they are run by independent training schools.
Mixxie - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:19 PM
I am a 33year old male and out of work I would like to go college to training to be a barber . Are there any free courses in St. Helens
Dj - 28-Mar-18 @ 7:05 PM
I would like to do an over 25s apprenticeship in Warehouse work. I have no school qualifications to speak of although I did manage to gain Entry Level 1 in Maths and Entry level 3 in English during an induction to do a Level 2 Warehouse and Storage Principles course which I have a certificate for. Currently in a voluntary role to gain a Level 2 Customer Service certificate and in the next couple of weeks hoping to start doing a full NVQ Diploma in Customer service and Warehouse work. If Iwere to do and get a diploma qualification what kind of Level should I start at when it comes to doing a Warehousing Apprenticeship?
Blueeyes_1972 - 15-Mar-18 @ 7:40 AM
paul - Your Question:
I'm 32 looking for a new career I've trained as a chef since I left school but the hours ate proving to much for my family and also feel the trade is changing and doesn't suit me anymore I'm looking for an apprenticeship in engineering,plumbing,gas or electrician something along these lines but don't have any GCSE as I was a bit of a hand full when I was younger is there anywhere that I could find this please

Our Response:
I can only direct you to the site here , which may provide more information on adult apprenticeships.
ExploreAdultLearning - 23-Feb-18 @ 11:51 AM
I'm 32 looking for a new career I've trained as a chef since I left school but the hours ate proving to much for my family and also feel the trade is changing and doesn't suit me anymore I'm looking for an apprenticeship in engineering,plumbing,gas or electrician something along these lines but don't have any GCSE as I was a bit of a hand full when I was younger is there anywhere that I could find this please
paul - 22-Feb-18 @ 1:26 PM
I am looking in the next few months to do an apprenticeship in warehouse work. I am 45, live in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and this will be a totally new career for me so I will be learning new skills from scratch. Can anyone help with this please?
Blueeyes_1972 - 15-Jan-18 @ 8:53 PM
Hi I'm 27 and struggling to find any apprenticeships. I'm willing to work for free and do parttime work to make up the money. I did an nvq level 1 in carpentry and wondering if this is something I could get back into?
Fezbo - 14-Dec-17 @ 11:10 PM
Rai45 - Your Question:
HiI am 45 years old, within a year I will get Post graduate certificate in Big Data. It is not so easy to find a job. Am I in title for any IT apprentice?Thank you

Our Response:
If you’re aged 24 or above, you may be eligible for adult skills funding if you undertake an advanced-level apprenticeship or Higher Apprenticeship. You can see more via the link here, which should give you more information.
ExploreAdultLearning - 14-Dec-17 @ 3:37 PM
Hi I am 45 years old, within a year i will get Post graduate certificate in Big Data. It is not so easy to find a job. Am I in title for any IT apprentice? Thank you
Rai45 - 13-Dec-17 @ 11:23 PM
Maz - Your Question:
Hi my name is Mariam am 27 years old living in Manchester I have not got a job I want to do apprenticeship in hair or photography maybe in ICT but I have learning difficulties so basically I can't do over 15 hours its very heard to fine job or apprenticeship in that situation I don't want to do volunteer work just want to have part time is there anything I can get let me know soon thanks

Our Response:
You can telephone the National Apprenticeship Helpdesk: 0800 015 0400, who may be able to help answer your question.
ExploreAdultLearning - 12-Dec-17 @ 2:51 PM
Hi my name is Mariam am 27 years old living in Manchester I have not got a job I want to do apprenticeship in hair or photography maybe in ICT but I have learning difficulties so basically I can't do over 15 hours its very heard to fine job or apprenticeship in that situation I don't want to do volunteer work just want to have part time is there anything I can get let me know soon thanks
Maz - 12-Dec-17 @ 7:34 AM
Mo - Your Question:
HiI'm 41 years old and would like to start an apprenticeship in Electricall installation. I left school with no qualifications but I have experience of working as a trainee electrician. I am mainly after taking the exams and getting it on paper to show I am qualified.

Our Response:
You would have to see the Adult Apprenticeship link here which tells you that if you're over 19, your employer may be expected to contribute to your training cost. If you are aged 24 or above you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your training; but you may also be eligible for financial assistance through an Advanced Learner Loan.
ExploreAdultLearning - 5-Oct-17 @ 3:30 PM
Hi I'm 41 years old and would like to start an apprenticeship in Electricall installation. I left school with no qualifications but I have experience of working as a trainee electrician. I am mainly after taking the exams and getting it on paper to show I am qualified.
Mo - 4-Oct-17 @ 7:37 PM
SUZY- Your Question:
I'm 57 and would like to do an paid apprenticeship I have worked with children for over 13 years and need help in getting information about further my prospects or go in a different direction

Our Response:
Most funding is only available for those aged 16-24, so you may not received a paid apprenticeship. You can see more via the link here.
ExploreAdultLearning - 19-Sep-17 @ 10:46 AM
I'm 57 and would like to do an paid apprenticeship I have worked with children for over 13 years and need help in getting information about further my prospects or go in a different direction
SUZY - 18-Sep-17 @ 7:31 PM
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