Where can an apprenticeship take me?

If you’re thinking about your future, remember education and employment aren’t the only options. Here’s what a modern apprenticeship really looks like

Okay, so what actually is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships “combine practical training in a job with study” – they involve on-the-job learning and time off for education and are for those aged over 16 and not in full-time education. They take between one and five years, and their pay and conditions are regulated by law. See here for more details.

Could I choose what profession to go into, then?

If the job exists, chances are there’s an apprenticeship for it somewhere – the scheme covers 170 industries. There are apprenticeships for law, agriculture, TV, fashion and film, even tattooing. (We presume you do a lot of training for that one before you’re let loose on someone’s arm though.)

Give me some real examples.

Ever heard of Jamie Oliver? He apprenticed at several restaurants around London at the beginning of his career, and he’s done pretty well for himself. In the fashion world, Karen Millen, Stella McCartney and the late Alexander McQueen started out as apprentices. Legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson was an apprentice in a shipyard, and while he followed a very different career path, he credits it with teaching him invaluable life skills.

So I could be a Champions League-winning manager?

Possibly, although more realistically you could enter the banking industry via an apprenticeship, earning an average of £17,827 a year. Or you could enter the legal world, earning around £16,000 a year. Other professions, like engineering or accountancy, also offer generous apprentice salaries. The highest-paid reported apprentice salary in 2017 was for a big financial services company and came in at £21,996.

I’m not aiming for a profession like that. What will I get paid?

The average weekly apprenticeship wage is £257. The minimum wage for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in their first year, is £3.50 per hour, but many employers pay more. For instance, the website totaljobs.com lists its average catering & hospitality apprenticeship salary as £12,709, and secretarial and admin apprenticeship at £11,000. But remember, an apprenticeship is just the beginning: according to official government stats, 85 per cent of apprentices stay in employment and two-thirds remain with the same employer after it’s finished. Something to work towards!


Find out more about what an apprenticeship really involves in our blog from apprentice and Money for Life Champion, Ray.