National Apprenticeship Week

Author: Adam Heppell

Date: 7th February 2022

This week is National Apprenticeship Week!  

Apprenticeships are a great way of gaining workplace skills and experience. You could also gain other soft skills and increased confidence to use in the workplace. University is not for everyone. Some find the cost prohibitive, or some might not want to live away from home. In these unprecedented times, going to university, even as a mature student, is full of uncertainties. It might not fit into your life. This is where apprenticeships come in.   

You might think that apprenticeships are only open to younger people who are yet to go to university, but the good news is, there is no upper age limit for adult apprenticeships.  

Open to All

Apprenticeships are open to a raft of different circumstances. They are designed to provide hands-on, industry-specific experience relevant to a career. Skills gained can be for your current sector, or perhaps you are thinking of a career change. Perhaps you have got a new role in your organisation with new responsibilities that require additional skills.  If you are passionate about a sector but do not have the skills or qualifications to go further, researching and finding the perfect balance will really help you maximise your gains from the experience.

Regular Training

Completion timescales for apprenticeships can differ by sector. They can take between one to five years to complete, depending on the nature of qualification and training chosen. As an apprentice, at least 20% of normal working hours must be spent on training. Training might happen every week, every month or in a separate block of time. Normally, training might take place at a place of work, although due to COVID, more training is now online.

For our younger readers, you may just be beginning your career. Embrace every challenge. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and ask questions. Be enthusiastic in everything you attempt. Take every opportunity to build your network.

Earn While You Learn

One of the main advantages of apprenticeships is that they are funded from contributions made by the government and an employer.  The experience that you would gain would be tailored to the organisation and sector you are aiming for. You could gain experience and skills that are used regularly. By learning skills on the job, you will not even realise you are doing it. There are different rates of pay for apprentices, depending on age and at what stage of an apprenticeship a person is at.

Boost Your Qualifications

You may lack the qualifications, even GCSE's or A-Levels. The job market is increasingly competitive due to COVID. If you think that your qualifications are the reason you cannot progress in your career, or you keep just missing the selection process for an interview, an apprenticeship may help to fill in the gaps.  Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.



Equivalent educational level






A level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

(Source: Gov.UK) 

* Some apprenticeships also include an option for a diploma. 

Benefits to Employers 

Addressing a Skills Gap

University degrees are increasingly commonplace. By supporting workers, employers can provide training for skills that they know will be of benefit to their organisation and help to address a possible skill gap they may have. 

Boosting Staff Retention

Quality training to apprentices is also likely to bring benefits in terms of staff retention. A major reason for this is that staff typically feel loyal to employers who have invested in their training.