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School leaving age

The government has increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training. If your child was born on or after 1 September 1997 they must stay in some form of education or training until at least their 18th birthday.

This does not necessarily mean staying in school; young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training post-16, which could be through:

  • An apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider
  • Full-time work or volunteering combined with part-time education or training

As a parent you want your child to get the best possible start in their career. There are many options available to young people after they leave school, and in this guide we outline information and benefits about apprenticeships as a key route into a successful career.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job with training which would allow your daughter or son to earn while they learn, whilst gaining a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete and cover 1,500 job roles in a wide range of industries, from engineering to accountancy, public relations to veterinary nursing. Apprenticeships are now available up to degree level and beyond.

Benefits of doing an apprenticeship

  • Earning a salary
  • Training in the skills employers want
  • Excellent progression opportunities, whether looking to study further or climb the ranks within the workplace
  • Increased future earning potential
    (apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training, and those completing a higher apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime*)
  • Learning at a pace suited to the individual with the support of a mentor
  • Paid holiday

Entry requirements

Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in England. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

Salaries

The minimum wage for apprentices is £3.50** per hour, but many employers pay more than this. This is dependant on the sector, region and apprenticeship level e.g. some higher apprenticeships can pay as much as £300 – £500 per week.

GOV.UK - National Minimum Wage

Apprenticeship levels

There are various levels of apprenticeship your son or daughter could apply for depending on their current skills and qualifications. Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels:

NameLevelEquivalent educational level
Intermediate 2 Five GCSE passes at grades A* to C/9 to 4
Advanced 3 Two A level passes
Higher 4 - 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 - 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree

See full comparison

All apprenticeships will include elements of on the job and off the job training leading to industry recognised standards or qualifications. Some apprenticeships will require an assessment at the end of the programme to assess the apprentice`s ability and competence in their job role.

Applying for an apprenticeship

At any one time there are up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies available on the ‘Find an apprenticeship’ site in a variety of careers and industries across England.

We already have a number of vacancies with leading employers in the local area to choose from or your son or daughter can use the Government's apprenticeship search tool.

Once the right job comes up, your son or daughter can simply register on the website and follow the step by step instructions to apply for the role.

If they are not quite ready for an apprenticeship or job, they could try a traineeship with a local employer to gain valuable work experience and the opportunity to improve their English and maths, if needed.

Find out more

We regularly hold information sessions at Newbury College to answer any queries you may have about Apprenticeships which parents are encoraged to attend with their sons/daughters. Our next sessions are:

If you are unable to attend but would like more information on apprenticeships, please contact us.

*University education - Is this the best route into employment? AAT and CEBR Feb 2013
**As at October 2015