Apprenticeships are not just for 16-20-year-olds!

It’s time for those of us for who school is a distant memory to start digging around in the loft or other dark and dusty corners to find our school certificates. And that’s because apprenticeship standards are available to everyone from 16 upwards.

Why an apprenticeship?

Since April 2017 funding for apprentice has been available through the Skills Funding Agency via the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS). Larger employers can use their levy (a sum which is deducted by the Government and paid into a training account) to offset their apprenticeship training costs. Those organisations that don't pay the levy (with a wage bill of less than £3M p.a.) will also be able to apply for funding, with the SFA contributing 95% of the apprenticeship cost and the organisation paying 5%.

Although there are still financial incentives for young people to participate in apprenticeships, and a considerable number of the 600+ apprenticeship standards will be at entry or new practitioner levels, there are also apprenticeships progressing right through to degree level which will attract those who have a considerable amount of experience, or a previous degree, or who have moved through the apprenticeship programme through the levels (from level 2 to level 7).

The core principles for an apprenticeship is to develop competency and capability in a skilled occupation to a level at which the apprentice would be able to apply for professional recognition where one exists. It provides ‘substantial and sustained training’ over a period between 12 months and 4 years.

The approach is holistic, with potential candidates being able to provide evidence of prior learning to prove eligibility but it must demonstrate how the programme will benefit the learner and that they will be accumulating transferable skills i.e. not just training for a single job. Minimum levels of English and Maths are required – which may prove challenging for those who are into their 30’s plus and filed their certificates away some years previously - but provisions have been put in place for this hurdle to be overcome, so don’t be put off.

What’s Required?

It is possible for a graduate (regardless of how many years ago they graduated) to receive funding providing they can prove that the skills learnt on the apprenticeship programme are significantly different to those studied previously. This will help companies with their talent development, succession planning, getting mangers and senior members of staff upskilled in the latest processes, technologies, systems, models … whatever applies in their industry and role.

What Type of Apprenticeships are There?

From Nuclear Welding Inspection Technicians, to Journalists, from Charter Surveyor to Tailors, whether you are 16, 36 or 56, you will be able to participate in an apprenticeship to further your career, deepen your knowledge and understanding, and broaden your skills, whilst you continue to work in your role. The learning is predominantly ‘on-the-job’ (with at least 20% off-the-job training/support) and the emphasis is on what you will be able to do by the end of the training – assessed through interviews, presentations, observations, simulations – whatever suits the apprenticeship topic. The success of the apprenticeship will inevitably depend on a close relationship between employee and employer – supported and guided by an authorised training provider who will visit the workplace as well as providing off-the-job training (not necessarily ‘classroom based).

Professional Academy has many years of experience developing professional skills in learners between 18 and 60 years of age so are perfectly placed to deliver apprenticeship programmes to any age group. Our expertise in leadership and management, marketing, sales, retail, and customer care have been recognised as we are approved as an apprenticeship training provider in these topics. Having a background in supporting learners in full time work, at strategic management levels, we understand the requirements of balancing study and work. Our blended approach of traditional study materials, eLearning and interactive webinars, face-to-face support and guidance, encouragement and motivation keeps learners on track and enables them to reach their goal.

So, think about how you could progress in your role, and speak to your employer about the opportunities that the new apprenticeship standards initiative offer – and both you and your employer will reap the rewards.

Good luck and see you soon!

If you would like to talk to one of our business development team about the apprenticeship programmes available and how the schemes work please do contact us via or drop us a call on 01223 365 505 and one of our team would be happy to have chat at any time.