Apprenticeships have come a long way in recent years, they help people ‘get in and go far’ but there are still a lot of myths surrounding the choice to combine earning whilst you learn, instead of the common further education choice of attending university. Whilst the government pledged to achieve 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 there are still myths surrounding the apprenticeship sector – and Smart Apprentices are here to help bust them.

1. Apprentices tend to be for people who didn’t perform well at school.

Not at all! Whilst it’s true some people perform better by ‘doing’; therefore, a hands-on apprenticeship may suit them better, apprenticeships are available in a range of levels from 2 up to 7 – the equivalent of a degree.

Some apprentices choose to complete a degree apprenticeship rather than university, as it allows them to gain the academic qualification as well as the work experience.

2. Apprenticeships are for people who want to do more ‘manual’ jobs.

his is a common misconception of apprenticeships. Yes, the apprenticeship sector has many offerings in construction, engineering and beyond but there are also apprenticeships in business admin, marketing, IT and more.

3. Apprenticeships are low paid.

Apprentices receive a minimum wage of £3.90 however many companies may pay more, Jaguar Land Rover’s Engineering Degree Apprenticeship scheme has a starting salary of £18,500 per year and this increases 10% every 6 months. In the long-term some apprentices also earn more than those of their graduate counterparts too.

Don’t forget, apprenticeships are debt free too.

4. Apprenticeships are only for school leavers (16 to 18-year olds)

Not true, apprenticeships can be started at any age! Apprenticeships are not just for those starting out in their career, learners may be looking for a career change, trying to upskill or perhaps secure a new role after taking some time out.

5. Apprenticeships don’t lead to a full-time job

Whilst there is no guarantee of a permanent position once an apprenticeship is completed, a lot of companies will employ apprentices once their learning period is over. In fact, over 90% of apprentices remain in employment or go on to further learning.

92% of apprentices also stated that their employment prospects had improved.

6. The government decides what apprenticeships cover in terms of learning

Apprenticeship standards are now available and continuing to be developed in several subject areas. These are developed by a number of employers or ‘trailblazers’ who work together to create the standard based on what they feel is required for the learner to know.

This means when an apprentice completes their course, they are ready for employment based on a set of skills set out by employers themselves.

7. Apprentices don’t add value to a business

Apprentices can add lots of value to a business, from spreading the workload out from overstretched employees to boosting productivity. They may also raise staff morale and bring a diversity to the team.

Those who are full-time employees and decide to take on an apprentice to further up-skill offer lots of value to the business as they are often completing the apprenticeship to fill a skill gap the business needs.

8. Apprenticeships are too expensive

Since 2017, the employer levy requires all businesses with an annual pay bill in excess of £3 million to pay a compulsory tax, calculated at 0.5% of the pay bill.

Those who do not pay the levy are required to contribute 10% towards the cost of the apprenticeship, the government then pays the remaining 90%.

The minimum wage is set at £3.90, however, it is up to the employer whether they wish to pay apprentices more.

9. The process to hire an apprentice is too timely

Apprentices can seek employment opportunities through a college or training provider or recruitment websites themselves.

Employers will need to get in touch with a training provider or college to discuss total costs and to source the apprentice. Once this has been completed, the employer will then be sent relevant candidates, to continue through the normal hiring process, from interview to induction and beyond.

Finding an apprentice is less work for employers as the training provider or college does this for them.

10. 20% off the job training means a day per week at college

20% off the job training does not necessarily mean college learning, other forms of training also count towards the percentage. Shadowing employees and attending online training can be included, meaning learners don’t have to be off site. This will mostly depend on the agreement set with the college or training provider, on what the course expectations are.