It’s that time of year again – but whether you pass your GCSEs or A-levels with flying colours or feel you could have done better, an apprenticeship or traineeship could be your next best step. What’s more, help is on hand from the National Careers Service and from organisations like CMS Vocational – and it’s free.
Here are a few questions you should be asking:
Is an apprenticeship right for me?
If you’re keen to get hands-on, real-life work experience while being paid, then an apprenticeship could be for you.
Whatever your exam results, an apprenticeship or traineeship can help you build up the skills and qualifications that will take you forward in the workplace.
How old do I need to be to start an apprenticeship?
At least 16 – and you must have left full-time education.
How much will I earn as an apprentice?
The apprentice national minimum wage is £2.73 for 16-18 year olds and those aged 19+ in their first year (this goes up to £3.30 from October 2015). For 19 and 20 year olds it’s £5.13 and for 21 and over it’s £6.50.
Will I earn more if I take an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship will allow you to earn money as you study, without student fees. There are three levels of apprenticeship: intermediate, advanced and higher/degree. Depending on which you take you could earn between £48,000 and £150,000 more over your lifetime compared with your peers who don’t follow an apprenticeship.
Can I take a higher education course after an apprenticeship?
Around a fifth (19%) of advanced apprentices will go on to further study at college or university after they complete their apprenticeship.
Are there plenty of apprenticeships on offer?
In the 2013-14 academic year, more than 850,000 people were following an apprenticeship.
Find an Apprenticeship (www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk) has up to 27,000 apprenticeships you can search through and apply for at any one time. Alternatively, you can contact CMS Vocational and an advisor will help match you with an apprenticeship that suits your interests and skills.
What support will I get?
If you take on an apprenticeship through CMS Vocational, an assessor will visit you every month to assess your progress and give you support, advice and training.
Where can I get more information on apprenticeships?
You can get free, confidential advice from the experts at the National Careers Service (phone 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm or visit https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk).
Search for apprenticeships on GOV.UK or call 0800 150 400 to find out more. For help from the National Careers Service, search online or call 0800 100 900.
Alternatively, contact CMS Vocational (01924 470477; www.cmsvoc.co.uk) and a trained adviser will help you take the next step.
Whatever your results, an apprenticeship has the potential to transform your life – so what are you waiting for?