Top five things you never knew about apprenticeships

publication date: Jul 25, 2013
author/source: Jane Scott Paul



AAT recently conducted a study with over 1,000 parents to see how they felt about apprenticeships as a route for their teen to take to gain further training and education. It highlighted that many parents are unaware of the opportunities that apprenticeships offer, and they tend to believe outdated stereotypes about the framework. With so many routes available, AAT believes that parents and their teens should have access to better career advice to increase their understanding of the options available to enter into a range of professional jobs today.

1. A Higher Apprenticeship is a university level qualification.
81 per cent of parents we surveyed were unaware that a Higher Apprenticeship is a nationally accredited work-based programme across a range of industry sectors and includes qualifications at a level equivalent to higher education.

2. Apprentices earn while they learn.
Apprentices benefit from getting vital work experience, earning a salary and getting their qualifications paid for. Finance and accounting apprentices at large accountancy firms such as KPMG  often have a higher starting salary than people expect of around £20,000.

3. Apprenticeships are not gender specific or just for the manual professions
As our research found, apprenticeships are often seen as for manual and male-dominated professions such as construction, yet due to squeezed training budgets, many employers have reassessed their recruitment policies, resulting in apprenticeships to be available in a variety of industries, such as the arts, media and public services to name a few. Female apprentices are now leading the way in taking up apprenticeship opportunities, with them forming the majority of apprenticeship starters in the 2011/12 academic year.

4. Apprenticeships are not for the less academically able and apprentices can reach the top of the tree
Apprenticeships are rigorous, requiring a combination of hard work, dedication and commitment. High quality apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job vocational learning produce employees that have the right skills for that industry. In the accountancy sector, apprentices can reach chartered status by the age of 21 (faster than those who take the university route) and often go on to become senior members of their firms.

5. Vocational qualifications can result in increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over a lifetime.
Our additional research shows that vocational qualifications have a positive impact on earning potential. For those completing a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship, the lifetime earning advantage is likely to be significant, reaching above £150,000 on average. This is comparable with the estimated lifetime earnings advantage that a representative graduate would enjoy compared to a non-graduate. However, for an apprentice, there is little financial cost to the individual

AAT is also holding a Twitter Q&A on 26 July from 12 to 2pm at to help prospective students take the next step in their career.

 If you want to learn more about Higher Apprenticeships, visit