Apprenticeships are a great way to study, gain experience and earn money while you do. Find out more about what an apprenticeship is and how they work on this page. You can also discover the different types of apprenticeship, get hints and tips for your application, and apply for vacancies in Greater Manchester.
Why choose an apprenticeship?
Want to start, grow, or change your career? Apprenticeships are real jobs with training and are a great way to build your skills and kickstart your future career.
From working with big brands to small businesses and across a huge range of sectors including health or public services, you can find an apprenticeship that suits you.
As an apprentice, you’ll learn as you go and gain valuable first-hand experience. You’ll also get a salary, all your training costs paid, and other benefits such as holiday pay. And, at the end of your apprenticeship you’ll be qualified for a job.
Sound like your kind of thing?
If you’re ready to apply for an apprenticeship, search all the vacancies near you and apply online right here on GMACS.
What to expect with an apprenticeship
As an apprentice, you’ll be working and studying. As well as learning at work, you’ll spend at least 20% of your time doing dedicated training. The training you’ll do is related to your job and usually takes place at a college, university, or other training provider. In some cases, it could be in your workplace.
Training can be on a “day release” system where you go to college one day a week, or in blocks where you have a week of training in one go.
If you are taking a diploma or specific qualifications as part of your apprenticeship, you may want to top up your learning in your own time too.
Learn about the apprenticeship journey
The apprenticeship journey has a beginning, a middle and an end. This video is a step by step look at the three stages, and what to expect in each of them.
The apprenticeship journey:
- Searching, applying, interviewing, contracts and applying
- The course, assessments, coach or tutor reviews, and what help is available
- Getting ready for final assessments and deciding what to do after you’ve qualified
“I wish I knew”
We asked some new apprenticeships what they’d wished they knew before they started. Here’s what they said…
“How many opportunities it opens up for you”
Briony, Business Administration Level 3
“You are part of the team, you have real responsibilities”
Grace, Digital Marketing Level 3
“You can do an apprenticeship in almost anything!”
Jack, Leadership and Management Level 3
“A wide range of people do apprenticeships”
Ciaran, Digital Marketing Level 3
How much will I earn?
Your earnings will vary depending on your apprenticeship and employer. However, you’ll be entitled to the minimum wage for an apprentice, which is currently £4.81 per hour. You’ll be paid for your normal working hours and the training that’s part of the apprenticeship. You’ll also get at least 20 days paid holiday, plus bank holidays. Check the latest national minimum wage for your age. Many employers pay more than this, so look through the details of each vacancy.
How long does an apprenticeship take?
An apprenticeship takes between one and six years to complete, depending on which one you choose to do. You can also do an apprenticeship part time over a longer period.
How will I be assessed?
All apprenticeships have something called an End Point Assessment. This is where you need to show that you have developed certain skills, knowledge and behaviours to succeed in the role. For some apprenticeships, you’ll also study for qualifications or diplomas, so you may need to sit an exam.
What other support is available?
As an apprentice in Greater Manchester, you can get free or reduced price tickets, or a free bike, from Transport for Greater Manchester. You can also sign up for Our Pass, which offers 16-to-18-year-olds free bus travel on most local bus services, and a range of exclusive offers, discounts, and experiences.
What can I do when I finish my apprenticeship?
Your apprenticeship may lead to a permanent job with your current employer. You can also look for a job with a different employer, or progress to a higher or different apprenticeship.
What are the apprenticeship levels?
There are four apprenticeship levels: intermediate, advanced, higher, and degree. The level you can start at depends on your experience and qualifications.
How do I know I’ll like doing an apprenticeship?
There’s no way to be sure – but the best way to figure it out is to do your research. Find out as much as you can about the role, the training, and the company you’ll be working for. Think about if it’s the right match for you. Have you done anything similar in the past? Did you enjoy it?
What makes a good application?
Make sure you’re answering the questions the application asks carefully. Consider your strengths, hobbies and interests, as well as thinking about why you want the role and why you’d be a good fit. See this video for a step-by-step application guide.
When can I apply for an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are advertised all year round. You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school or at any time in your adult life. To start an apprenticeship, you need to be 16 or over and not in full-time education.
What about Higher and Degree level apprenticeships?
When you have finished your A levels or T levels, you could start a Higher Level or Degree Level apprenticeship. They’re an alternative to full time study at university. It’s a great way of combining employment with off-the-job training. There are no tuition fees to pay, and you’ll receive a salary while you learn. However, the competition is very high as the company who employs you pay the fees for your education.
How do I find and apply for an apprenticeship?
You can click here to search for apprenticeships in your area. You can filter by how far you want to travel and the type of career you want.
What if I’ve been unsuccessful in the past?
Getting into employment isn’t always straightforward. You might also have pressures elsewhere in your life that make achieving your goals difficult. However, this is support out there to help you boost your chances and your skills.
A good start is to ask for help on the GMACS chat. Click on the yellow speech bubble or envelope in the bottom right corner.
Also, if you are 15-24 years old and you need personalised support to help you get on track, Skills Support for Growth can help.
Isn’t university better?
While we know that full-time education, such as college, sixth form or university is a proven route into employment, it doesn’t always offer the valuable work experience that an apprenticeship can offer. And, there’s still no guarantee of a job at the end.
Apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn. They give you the opportunity to develop the skills employers really want. This includes specific skills relating to your job, their company and your sector.
What’s the difference between a traineeship and an apprenticeship?
Traineeships are aimed at 16-24 year olds to develop the skills they need to find and succeed in employment, or to progress on to an apprenticeship.
They have three main parts that prepare you for an apprenticeship, including working on your English and maths, work preparation skills, and a practical work placement with a local employer.
Traineeships are unpaid (travel expenses and meal costs may be reimbursed) and should be viewed as a stepping stone into work. They can last anywhere between six weeks and a year.
Apprenticeships are designed to enable you to progress within a company over a longer period of time, whilst also gaining nationally recognised qualifications.
An apprenticeship is a career, not just a job.
Apprenticeships are for those aged 16 or over who are not in full time education and can last anywhere between one and five years.
Am I too old to be an apprentice?
Some people think that apprenticeships are just for “young people” – this isn’t true! Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged 16 and over who isn’t in full time education.
Apprenticeships are a great way to restart, retrain or change your career.