Everybody is talking about advanced apprenticeships.
"You can gain great qualifications!"
"I’ve heard you can earn a cracking salary!"
"That’s fantastic! You’ll be working alongside and learning from experienced professionals!"
You’re still probably wondering – what is an advanced apprenticeship, and where do I find one?
Well, RateMyApprenticeship is here to explain. We have a thing for apprenticeships. You could say, we are the Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry of the apprenticeship market. Experts. Real enthusiasts.
Read on for a wizard’s guide to advanced apprenticeships; how they work, where to find vacancies, and TEN reasons why you simply have to apply for an advanced apprenticeship.
What is an advanced apprenticeship?
An advanced apprenticeship is the level above intermediate apprenticeships. Advanced apprentices study towards a nationally certified qualification, while they work on a full-time basis for an employer.
If you complete an advanced apprenticeship, you will receive on the job training for a specific role within a company or industry, and develop practical work skills.
The entry requirements for advanced apprenticeships vary from company to company, but employers look for students with at least five GCSEs A*-C.
Oh, and you get paid for your troubles too. Almost forgot to mention that. We’ll reveal how much you could earn as an advanced apprentice soon, let’s build up a bit of tension first.
"After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90%) will stay in employment (including 2% self-employed), with seven in ten (71%) staying with the same employer." (Skills Funding Agency, 2016)
So imagine the situation… you’ve just finished your advanced apprenticeship. Your parents have organised a party and everyone is invited – the neighbours, your friends, your extended family who you never talk to or particularly like, even the cat is wearing a bow tie.
Everyone is cheering and chanting your name. There is confetti and a caterpillar cake from Sainsbury’s. It’s like you’re an astronaut returning from deep space. A national icon.
It’s even better than that. Not only are you the people’s champion, you have a cracking qualification and practical experience. It is the dream. A solid first step towards a career in an array of different industries.
This could be you. If you’re interested in seeing which employers are currently offering advanced apprenticeships, check out our jobs board. There are vacancies in a splendid range of industries.
How do advanced apprenticeships work?
Each advanced apprenticeship will be run slightly differently. Companies generally organise their programmes in partnership with a training provider. You will split your time between working for your company, and studying towards relevant qualifications with the training provider.
Some companies provide in-house training; others will send you to an external training provider - a further education college is a safe bet.
Apprentices are expected to work for at least thirty hours a week, including time spent studying. An employer might organise one day in each week for you to spend working towards a qualification. Or, they might favour block releases, in which you will study on a full-time basis for a set period of time.
Advanced apprenticeships such as this can last between two to four years. Once you have completed an advanced apprenticeship, you will be awarded a National Vocational Qualification (Level 3), knowledge based qualification, such as a higher national certificate, a higher national diploma or a foundation degree. These qualifications are equivalent to two A-levels.
The video below provides an insight into what it’s like to do an advanced apprenticeship. This programme is an Engineering and Manufacturing Apprenticeship with Unilever.
If you’re considering applying for an advanced apprenticeship, check out our article: Apprenticeship CV: Your Guide & Template. As the title suggests, it contains a downloadable template, and a seven step guide to writing a CV for an apprenticeship application.
How do I find the advanced apprenticeship that is right for me?
So you’ve decided… advanced (or level 3) apprenticeships sound fantastic, but with so many companies offering programmes in different industries, how do you find the apprenticeship that is right for you?
The best place to start is the reviews on RateMyApprenticeship. There are over 2,500 reviews of advanced apprenticeships for you to read. They are all written by apprentices who have finished, or who are currently completing programmes in various industries.
"The rise in university tuition fees and the focus by Government on creating rigorous and quality schemes, means that apprenticeships are fast becoming a desirable route into employment. While traditional apprenticeships do still exist, other industries such as accountancy and law are also becoming increasingly accessible without the need for a degree." (The Telegraph, 2016)
Each review provides an insight into how well the course was organised; salary information; the opportunities available outside of work; any advice each apprentice would offer to a peer considering the same course.
To give you a little taste of how useful the reviews can be, here are some of the responses from a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice with GSK...
Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a mechanical engineer apprentice, my role on site is to report to my shift leader and see which jobs they would like me to work on. I work with the mechanical fitter team each day. I do this for four days of my week. I spend the fifth at college studying mechanical engineering, mechanical craft and electrical installation
Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I’ve gained a level 2 BTEC in electrical installation, mechanical craft and completed my level 3 diploma in mechanical engineering. I will be finishing the extended diploma next year. I have completed many training courses on site and have learnt how to interact with others in the workplace.
What tips or advice would you give to others applying to National Grid?
Be sure to fill out the application form as best you can and include as much about yourself as possible - this is the most important part. After that, do research on the company, be prepared for manual skills and prepare for all possibilities in the interview. They ask questions about what experience you've had with certain scenarios.
These reviews are a valuable resource. Imagine you apply for a construction apprenticeship. You get accepted, so purchase a new coat, and a fine new pair of socks. You cannot wait for your apprenticeship to begin; you’re in raptures.
But when you arrive on the first day, you realise that you will be working 100 metres beneath the ground - in a mine. As your manager hands you a hammer and an oil lamp, you realise you’ve made a terrible mistake.
Had you read the reviews of this particular advanced apprenticeship, you may have been able to avoid this nightmare. Surely one of the reviews would have mentioned the mine!
The lesson is: read our wonderful reviews of advanced apprenticeships. The link below will disappear you to our reviews page.
Cover letter advice
If you are going to apply for an advanced apprenticeship, you are going to need to write a cover letter as part of the application. Cover letters can be frightening, like Were-Rabbits, so we’ve put together A Guide to Writing an Apprenticeship Cover Letter. Give it a read.
Advanced apprenticeship vacancies
Now that you’ve read the 2,500 reviews on advanced apprenticeships, you know more about apprenticeships than Lord Sugar. It’s time to start applying.
Finding an apprenticeship used to be difficult. You had one of two choices. Either you had an uncle called Terry who had his own tyre business, and he could offer you an apprenticeship.
Or, your mother would send you into town on a grey Tuesday morning, in a suit that used to belong to your father, with a CV that used to belong to your sister. You would spend the entire afternoon talking to uninterested faces, until one would take pity on the suit that you’re wearing, and take you on as an apprentice chimney-sweep.
Like the glory days of Take That, those days are long gone. It’s now quite straightforward to find an advanced apprenticeship in a variety of industries. RateMyApprenticeship has vacancies for roles with some of the UK’s top employers. You are only one click away from an advanced apprenticeship vacancy.
Here is a case study of an advanced apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover. It sounds grand.
Qamar Iqbal, 22, joined Jaguar Land Rover three years ago as an Advanced Apprentice:
"The apprenticeship allows me to gain vital qualifications, while at the same time doing something I enjoy and have a passion for. I get to work with innovative technology, applying what I’ve learnt in the classroom back in the workplace.
I got the chance to be part of the development of the Discovery Sport. Definitely my proudest moment so far. I even travelled overseas to Belgium for testing. My contribution was to instrument the vehicle with various sensors and gauges, and analyse the stresses and strains.
As an Advanced Apprentice, the key is to have good attention to detail in everything you do – especially in timekeeping and organisation, as the culture here is fast-paced, yet enjoyable. Everyone is always willing to offer help and advice." (Source: Jaguar Land Rover Careers)
Advanced apprenticeship wages
At last, we enter onto the subject of money. Did you know that you can earn a salary of over £25,000 if you complete an advanced apprenticeship?
Not that money should be your focus here. An apprenticeship is an opportunity for you to gain marvellous qualifications, while you develop practical and professional skills. Anyway, money isn’t everything. The Malfoy’s had lots of money, and nobody likes the Malfoy’s.
Each apprenticeship programme will offer a different salary. Your wage will depend on...
- your age, (see the nice table below)
- the type of apprenticeship you are doing
- location: apprenticeships in London often pay more, due to higher travel/living costs
- the company you are working for
Here is a table conveying the rates for the National Minimum Wage. Visit gov.uk for more information on apprenticeship pay and holidays.
|25 and over||£7.50|
|21 - 24||£7.05|
|18 - 20||£5.60|
For specific information about the salaries that different companies offer, have a peek at the information in the job vacancy.
Often the salary will be described as ‘competitive’. A competitive salary means that they are paying you at, or above the market rate. In other words, what competitors will pay the rate of a similar apprenticeship. If you see the salary stated as ‘competitive’, check the salary information for advanced apprenticeships in the same industry as the scheme you are applying for.
You can also seek out the reviews on RateMyApprenticeship. Each review provides specific salary information for an apprenticeship. Have a look at reviews for similar programmes, and programmes organised by the same company you are applying to.
But remember. Money isn’t everything. Willy Wonka was rich, and he had a chocolate factory, but he was the loneliest man in the world.
Advanced apprenticeships in London
London is one of the world’s foremost centres of business, finance and trade. Most of the largest international organisations have offices or headquarters in the capital.
There is a river of advanced apprenticeships running through London.
"85% of apprentices said their ability to do the job had improved, and 83% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved." (Skills Funding Agency, 2016)
Imagine all of the crazy things you can do while you’re in London. A nice restaurant. A nice museum. A nice park. You could dress up as a duck and swim across the River Thames.
Who knows who you could bump into – a politician, a royal, Nicolas Cage has a place in London.
There are so many reasons for you to do an advanced apprenticeship in London. Click here, to view the apprenticeship vacancies we have in London.
If you don’t live in London, and don’t want to relocate, there are plenty of apprenticeships that are located across the UK. You can make a filtered search on RateMyApprenticeship, to target jobs in specific regions. There’s another link below to take you there.
Why should I do an advanced apprenticeship?
Why should YOU do an advanced apprenticeship? Why not?
There are so many benefits to doing an apprenticeship. If you pop your head out of the window, you’ll see advanced apprentices body-popping in the street. Here’s why...
- If you do an advanced apprenticeship, you will gain great qualifications! Higher National Certificates are widely respected, and revered around the world, like the hammerhead shark.
- You can earn a cracking salary. An apprenticeship is an opportunity to earn while you learn. No loans, no fees, no student debt!
- An advanced apprenticeship is an opportunity to learn from, and work with experienced professionals - a master electrician, a chartered accountant or a senior engineer.
- You will develop practical work skills. Even if you choose a career path that is different to your apprenticeship, the skills you will pick up will be useful for the rest of your life. Elderly people still need to scan things.
- A splendid combination of work and study. You will be studying towards relevant qualifications, but it will be offset against practical work in industry.
- You will be trained for a specific job. When you finish an advanced apprenticeship, you will be highly employable, with all the skills required for a certain role.
- Apprenticeships are available in an absolutely smashing range of industries. There are programmes on offer in 1,500 roles, covering more than 170 industries.
- If you complete an advanced apprenticeship, you will be eligible for a higher apprenticeship, and eventually, to get a degree with a degree apprenticeship! Degree apprenticeships are cool by the way.
- The majority of apprenticeships have a permanent job waiting at the end. 71% of apprentices stay with the same employer post-apprenticeship.
- An advanced apprenticeship is an opportunity to get your foot on the career ladder early. By the time that you finish, you will have 2-4 years of paid experience. Two words – career potential.
So there we are, ten reasons why YOU should do an advanced apprenticeship, as promised.