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Apprenticeships: Myths and truths

If you’re think of studying an apprenticeship, you may have heard some common myths about the programmes.

Here, we examine a selection of these myths and the truth around these issues.

Myth: Apprenticeships are only for young people
Truth: Apprenticeships are available to anyone aged 16 or over. This makes them great options for anyone looking to improve their skills, change careers, or re-enter the job market. Many of the apprentices who study with us are much older than 16 – in fact our oldest apprentice so far was 65!

Myth: Apprentices tend to be for people who didn’t perform well at school
Truth: Not at all! Some people perform better by ‘doing’ rather than academic study; so a hands-on apprenticeship may suit them better than one of the other study programmes that are available. Apprenticeships are highly recognised qualifications and valued by employers due to the combination of skills, knowledge and behaviours you will develop whilst gaining valuable work experience.

Myth: Apprenticeships are low level qualifications
Truth: Apprenticeships range from the equivalent of getting a qualification at GCSE (Level 2) right up to degree standard (Level 6). This means you can study a programme from entry level to degree level. Some apprentices choose to complete a degree apprenticeship rather than a traditional university course, as it allows them to gain an academic qualification and work experience, whilst avoiding student debt. Visit the Higher Apprenticeship page to see the full list of Higher Apprenticeships we offer.

Myth: Don’t you have to go back to college to complete an apprenticeship?
Truth: No! Apprenticeships require apprentices to complete a minimum of six hours off-the-job training each week but this isn’t all completed at college. Sometimes, you may have to come to College, but this isn’t always the case. You could learn in the workplace by shadowing a colleague, completing a training course or learning online.

Myth: You can’t progress to an apprenticeship because you’re already completing a College course
Truth: If you are on a course at College, you can apply for an apprenticeship at any time during the year. Employers have vacancies all year round and you don’t want to miss an opportunity with an employer that may only happen once. Visit the Apprenticeship Vacancies page to see our current vacancies and apply for a position. This page is regularly updated so keep checking back for new opportunities that may come available.

Myth: Aren’t apprenticeships for people who want to do ‘manual’ jobs?
Truth: No, this is a common misconception of apprenticeships. Yes, the apprenticeship sector has many offerings in Construction, Engineering and beyond but there are also apprenticeship opportunities in Business Administration, IT, Digital Marketing; Leadership and Management; Retail; Sport; Travel and Tourism and Warehousing and Logistics. See the Apprenticeships departmental page to see our full course offering. Plus, employers are working with colleges and training providers to develop more apprenticeships all the time.

Myth: Apprenticeships don’t lead to a full-time job
Truth: Whilst there is no guarantee of a permanent position once an apprenticeship is completed, a lot of companies will employ apprentices once their apprenticeship is completed. If you don’t gain permanent employment with your apprenticeship provider, you’ll still have got valuable work experience and skills which will help you to get a job elsewhere. Our Job Shop can help with your search.

Myth: I can’t do an apprenticeship and work full-time, can I?
Truth: Apprenticeships are a vocational way to train and are completed alongside your current job role, so there’s no need to take a career break or leave employment to train, as long as your current role is relevant to your chosen apprenticeship.

Last updated: 1st February 2023

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