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Tue 7th Feb 2012

Get with apprenticeships!


Up and down the country events and activities are taking place to promote the value of apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week. Now in its fifth year, the week is for everyone with an interest in apprenticeships to get involved.

Typical events for training providers include breakfast briefings, charity fundraising, and school and employer visits. An online calendar for the week is published by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) if you want to attend an event near you.

You can also stay in touch through Facebook and Twitter as NAS are planning more social media activity than ever this year. Social media buzz includes case studies and video footage from employers on the benefits and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, a look at how people landed their dream career thanks to apprenticeships and an apprentice hall of fame showcasing the rise and accomplishments of Englands most successful apprentices.

About apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are work-based training for anyone aged over 16. They enable you to gain a qualification while receiving on-the-job training and work experience.

There are more than 200 different types of apprenticeships available offering over 1,200 job roles. Apprenticeships are available at different levels. Depending on your circumstances, you can choose a Level 2 Apprenticeship (equivalent to 5 GCSEs), a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship (equivalent to 2 A Levels) or, in some cases, a Higher Apprenticeship (equivalent to a higher education qualification).

Like all employees, apprentices receive a wage. Employers are obliged to cover an apprentices salary. Apprentices need to be paid the National Minimum Wage. However, as skills develop, many employers tend to increase wages in fact, research has found that apprentices earn an average of 170 net pay per week.

Key benefits of being an apprentice include:

earning a salary

getting paid holidays

receiving training

gaining qualifications

learning job-specific skills

Employers can benefit from apprenticeships by filling skills gaps, motivating their workforce and improving their bottom line. In fact, apprenticeships have been proved to be good for business:

80% of those who employ apprentices agree that they make the workplace more productive.

88% of employers who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.

83% of employers who employ apprentices rely on their apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled workers that they need for the future.

81% of consumers would prefer to use a company that employs apprentices.*

5 interesting facts about apprenticeships

  1. The apprenticeship budget for the 2010-11 financial year was 1,337 million (780 million for 16- to 18-year-olds).**

  2. Provisional data shows that nearly 444,000 people started an apprenticeship in 2010/11, up by 37% on the previous year.

  3. 175,000 people (almost 40%) who started an apprenticeship in 2011 were between 25 and 60 years old.

  4. In 2010/11 180,000 people completed an apprenticeship, an increase of almost 40,000 on 2009.

  5. Hampshire had the most people successfully complete an apprenticeship last year with a figure of 5,830.***

Sources: *Populus survey on behalf of the Learning & Skills Council, February 2009, ** The Data Service and ***The Department for Education.