The secret to adult apprenticeships.

It’s a little awkward, but we’re just gonna come right out and say it: 

There’s no such thing as an adult apprenticeship.

Now, this isn’t because there are no apprenticeships that are suitable for people aged 25+, but simply that apprenticeships don’t have an upper age limit for applicants. 

In fact, In England the only requirements for an apprenticeship is that you are over 16 years old and are not in full time education.  

While this means that there aren’t special apprenticeships designed for ‘adults’, it does mean that everyone has the same rights and reasons to apply for an apprenticeship, at any age. 

And, of course, there are plenty of good reasons to apply to an apprenticeship as an adult. Whether it’s a career boost, a skill up, or an industry switch, starting an apprenticeship as an adult might just be the right thing for you.

Apprenticeships have evolved.

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships today is that they are exclusively for recent school leavers.

This stereotype exists for a good reason. For starters, a lot of effort and money goes into encouraging young people to consider apprenticeships as a career path. Those aged 16-24 are most frequently targeted because, on the whole, they have the most to gain from what an apprenticeship can offer: training, work experience, and a step on the career ladder.

However, modern apprenticeships have evolved in such a way that they can be the right choice for people who are a little bit older. Whether that’s through funding additional training using the apprenticeship levy, a degree apprenticeship to earn a university qualification, or switching careers entirely.

Let’s take a look at each of these scenarios in a bit more detail:

Doing an apprenticeship with your current employer.

One of the reasons (but not the only reason) your employer might recommend an apprenticeship to you is because of a thing called the apprenticeship levy.

The apprenticeship levy is a type of tax relief, that allows companies with either a minimum turnover or headcount to claim back some tax money and use it to finance apprenticeship training.

This can be a win-win situation for both employer and employees, creating opportunities to take entry level positions and skill them up via apprenticeships, creating new jobs and new qualifications.

This becomes even more tempting with the introduction of degree apprenticeships. Many employees have taken advantage of this scheme to enrol on a degree apprenticeship and add a university degree to their list of qualifications, all while continuing to work and earn.

Apprenticeships for career change.

Another reason you might be thinking about apprenticeships as an adult is if you are contemplating a career change. 

Whether a small jump or a monumental shift, apprenticeships offer a great first steps into different industries, with the ability to quickly scale your experience and learning in a controlled environment.

It can also mean the difference between earning a wage while you train, vs taking time out to either go back to college/university, or volunteer for experience.

What about pay?

How does pay work as an apprentice, and what can I expect to earn as an apprenticeship wage?

Apprentice wages can be tight.

The minimum wage for a first year apprentice is as low as £4.15 an hour. This will be quite a financial shock for many, specifically those looking to shift their career aspirations.

However, there are a couple of caveats that make it all a bit less painful.

For starters, this is the minimum wage. Many apprenticeship arrangements pay a better salary than minimum. 

Employers encouraging their staff onto apprenticeships would do well to, at the very least, maintain their original wage structure. Reducing wages may seem prudent in the short term, but apprenticeships work both ways, and employers will be benfetting from an employees skills for (hopefully) years to come. 

The second caveat is that if you are over 25 years old, once you finish the first year of your apprenticeship, your minimum wage more than doubles to meet the standard minimum wage. As of 2020 this is £8.72.

As an adult, you may also be eligible for additional skills funding, on top of this.

For more information on both the apprenticeship and regular minimum wage, see the gov.uk website.

Why choose an apprenticeship as an adult?

Deciding to become an apprentice as an adult can be a daunting decision.

However, it is a career path that should not be written off, as more and more people decide that an apprenticeship is the next right move for them.

To learn new skills, get qualified, earn hands on experience, and even achieve a university degree, why not check out the apprenticeship opportunities that are live right now.

Categories: Discover