Apprenticeships uncovered – find out the facts, not the fiction

Get paid, get qualified, get ahead

MOST of us have heard of an apprenticeship but do we really understand what one is all about?

Misconceptions abound which mean the enormous benefits to both an individual and an organisation can be overlooked.
Derry City and Strabane District Council works with a large number of private training organisations as well as North West Regional College to promote apprenticeships in the area.  Read on to find out the facts, not the fiction – and then visit for more information on local opportunities.

FICTION – Apprenticeships are for people who don’t do well at school

FACT – Apprenticeships are simply an alternative route into skilled employment. They are a great way to earn while you learn, gain vital work experience and set yourself on a fast-track to a successful career. Apprenticeships offer a ladder of opportunity so learners can progress from traineeships and intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeships right up to higher and Degree apprenticeships. More and more people are now choosing an apprenticeship as an alternative to university while nearly a fifth (19%) of advanced apprentices progress to higher education over time following their apprenticeship.

FICTION – Apprenticeships are only available in manual industries

FACT – While this might once have been the case, apprenticeships are now available in 170 professions for levels 2 and 3 and in 45 professions for high level apprentices starting at level 4. Computer science, motor vehicles, mechanical engineering, retail, construction and accountancy are just some of the career paths on offer.

FICTION – Apprenticeships are low quality, poorly paid and insecure

FACT – On the contrary – quality is at the heart of apprenticeships which is why the majority stay on with an organisation long after their apprenticeship has finished. Employers are now obliged to take on apprentices as full-time employees, offering the same rights and benefits as their colleagues enjoy. In terms of long-term security, as many as 90 per cent of apprentices stay in employment after their training ends – 67 per cent of whom stay with the same employer.
Apprentices must receive at least the national minimum wage though many employers choose to pay more.
In the long-term, individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications. While those completing a higher (degree level) apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.Apprenticeships are full time paid jobs with training and many high quality, prestigious companies offer them. According to Department for Education research, a quarter of former apprentices (23 per cent) secure a promotion within 12 months of qualifying.

FICTION – Employers don’t value apprenticeships

FACT – Research indicates that apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by on average £214 per week so more and more employers are now choosing to grow their business through apprenticeships.
And with employers saying that former apprentices are 15 per cent more employable than those with other qualifications, apprenticeships genuinely provide a stepping stone to a brighter future.
Highlighting the importance of apprenticeship schemes for young people in the Council area, Tina Gillespie, Skills Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “The Council is working proactively with a number of education providers, private training organisations, careers service and companies to encourage people to avail of apprenticeship opportunities that exist across the Council area.

“The promotion of apprenticeships is a key element of the education and skills outcomes set out in the Council’s Strategic Growth Plan and overseen by the Education and Skills Partnership.“The Education and Skills Delivery Partnership (ESDP) was established as an outcome delivery partnership under the Strategic Growth Plan, to support the education and skills ambitions outlined in the plan. Along with our partners, we are supporting employers to secure and develop the skills they need to increase productivity, and enable individuals to find fulfilling employment and progress in today’s competitive and dynamic world of work.

“Apprenticeships encourage young people to look at vocational options for training in their chosen profession through on-the-job training, study, an industry-recognised qualification and earning a wage.”