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Managing my money for young adults
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2 Going into an apprenticeship

In the next video Karl Digby, Careers Advisor from Denbigh School, Milton Keynes, talks about the factors you should take into account when thinking about starting an apprenticeship.

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Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with study – typically one day a week. The result is that you earn while you learn and you make a head start in your career before you reach your 20s.

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you must be:

  • 16 years of age or older
  • not in full-time education.

Apprenticeships take from 1 to 4 years to complete depending on their educational level.

Table 1 Apprenticeship levels
Apprenticeship level Equivalent educational level in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Intermediate GCSE
Advanced A level
Higher Foundation degree and above
Degree Bachelor or masters degree

The minimum pay level for apprentices is laid down by the government. In 2023/24 this was £5.28 per hour for those aged under 19 as well as for those aged 19 or over and in their first year of an apprenticeship. After that you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage for your age. However, many employers do pay more than these minimum wage levels. There is no upper age limit on applying for apprenticeships.

There are three steps in applying for an apprenticeship.

  1. Search for an apprenticeship on the website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .
  2. Sign in or create your account on the site.
  3. Complete and submit an application.

The National Apprenticeship Service has advice on writing applications and preparing for interviews.

Further help is available on the apprenticeship helpline on 0800 015 0400.

Different schemes for apprenticeships operate in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you think that an apprenticeship is right for you make sure you do your research. Take time to identify the best one, and make sure that it fits with your longer-term career aspirations.

The growing cost of going into higher education is making increasing numbers of school leavers opt for an apprenticeship to kick off their careers.