Parents' Guide to Apprenticeships

You want your child to have the best possible start. There are lots of options available to young people after leaving school. Here are some some Apprenticeship facts to to help you make the right choice.
Download the Parents' Guide

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a real job with training, allowing your child to gain a qualification while earning a wage at the same time. Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete and cover 1500 job roles in a wide range of industries. Apprenticeships are now available up to degree level.

Entry Requirements

To be an apprentice you must be aged 16 or over, not in full-time education and have been a resident in the UK or the EU for the past three years. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

Benefits of doing an Apprenticeship

  • Earning a salary
  • Training in the skills employers want
  • Excellent progression opportunities
  • Increased future earning potential
  • Those with an Advanced Apprenticeship earn around £117,000 more than those without, over the course of their career
  • Paid holiday

Apprenticeship Levels

There are three levels of Apprenticeship, dependent on current skills and qualifications:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship
    (Level 2)
  • Advanced Apprenticeship
    (Level 3)
  • Higher Apprenticeship
    (Level 4 or above)

The core components for Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships are:

  • A nationally recognised vocational qualification
  • Functional skills (e.g. literacy, numeracy and ICT)
  • A technical certificate such as a BTEC or City & Guilds (relevant to the specific Apprenticeship)

Other professional qualifications or requirements as specified by the particular job. The core components for Higher Apprenticeships are as above but exclude the Functional Skills element.


The minimum wage for apprentices is £3.40 per hour, but many employers pay more than this. The average gross weekly wage for an apprentice is £200. This is dependant on the sector, region and Apprenticeship level e.g. some Higher Apprenticeships can pay as much as £300 – £500 per week. More details on salaries and entry criteria in specific Apprenticeship occupations can be found by looking at our Apprenticeship vacancies.

More about wage levels

Raising the Participating Age (RPA)

Young people must now continue in education or training until at least their 18th birthday. This does not necessarily mean staying in school; they could:

  • Study full-time in school or college
  • Complete an Apprenticeship
  • Work full-time with part-time education and training

Apprenticeships at Harlow College

Harlow College offers a wide range of Apprenticeships in a variety of industry sectors. You can see our current vacancies here.
More information can be found on the National Apprenticeship Service website.
For more information call 01279 867469 or email

Ask a Question

Get in touch with our Apprenticeship team if you want to know more.