Unsure about apprenticeships? Fear not, Ray Byrne, CEO of South Yorkshire’s leading apprenticeship provider, Whyy? Change, deciphers the myths surrounding apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships: what are they?

An apprenticeship is a blend of a full-time job with professional training. All apprentices are required to complete 6 hours of off-the-job training per week. Off the job refers to applying the new knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) in practice. Any activity where you are gaining new knowledge or ‘sharpening your practice’ towards the KSBs of the standard.

Time to tackle the elephant in the room: who are apprenticeships for?

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Ray Byrne

Myth #1: Apprenticeships are just for school leavers taking up a manual trade.

False. Apprenticeships aren’t just for young people or the manual sector. Apprenticeships are designed to develop knowledge, improve skills and instil the right behaviours for anyone, at any level, in any business or industry looking to boost development and progression opportunities.

Apprenticeship standards today span entry-level to senior management, and have been built by industry for industry, so they really do make a measurable difference to the learner and your organisation.

Now we’ve busted the biggest apprenticeship myth, here are a few apprenticeships facts.

  • There’s no upper age limit. You only need to be 16+, not in full-time education and spend at least 50% of your time working in the UK to become an apprentice.
  • Businesses with a payroll of £3 million or more pay each month into a levy pot and have a rolling 24-month deadline to spend the funds (If you don’t use it, you lose it).
  • Levy payers can get up to 100% funding for an apprenticeship course. Non-Levy payers can get 95% funding for the apprenticeship course.
    Apprenticeships are available across over 170 sectors in over 1500 job roles, not just manual trade jobs.
  • You can study degree equivalent apprenticeships, level 4,5,6 and master’s degree equivalent apprenticeships level 7, without paying university tuition fees.

The facts have been unearthed but there are still some myths to put to bed. Next up is the university versus apprenticeship debate…

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Myth #2: Apprenticeships aren’t as ‘good’ as University Degrees.

Bottom line is one is NOT better than the other. Apprenticeships provide individuals with real-world expertise and industry-specific knowledge, making them highly desirable in today’s competitive job market. Overall, they are different entry points to the same conclusion. The question should be which route provides you with the best chances to provide the knowledge, skills, and experiences to allow you to compete in industry.

Myth #3: Apprentices are paid poorly.

False. Interestingly, apprenticeships often provide competitive salary right from the start. Really! If you’re aged 16 with no experience, then it is naive to expect to expect the same rate as a skilled practitioner. Aspirational employers will want to show you a path to increase your pay during and after achieving success. Now, let’s debunk the other side to this myth. Do you think that a 50-year-old apprentice will be paid at the apprenticeship rate? Of course not! You can’t beat being paid to learn.

Myth #4: Apprenticeships don’t include professional qualifications.

It’s true in many cases. It is only right that the apprenticeship standards are not hooked onto degrees or specific qualifications. That being said, any provider with the right vision will want to add ‘real value’. At Whyy? Change, we include professional qualifications and additional accredited training courses alongside an apprenticeship. My advice is ask! Identify what skills you need today, tomorrow and decide on what protects your future growth. Remember, you could be up against someone in the interview process, and it turns out they have a professional qualification. Who would you choose?

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Myth #5: Apprentices are hired for the tea round.

False. Whilst knowing how to make a good brew is an important skill to have, an apprenticeship is a real job with real responsibilities. Steve Jobs said it best and I quote: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Find the Steve Jobs leaders of this world and leave the rest behind!

What are the benefits of apprenticeships to employers?
Apprenticeships contribute towards increasing employee satisfaction, reducing staff turnover and reducing recruitment costs. Upskilling and reskilling your employees and growing your own talent through apprenticeship training is the most effective way to retain great people. Government data suggests that 75% of apprentices stay at their current place of employment when they’ve completed their course, increasing employee retention rates.

Will you be looking to utilise the apprenticeship levy to upskill or reskill your talent in 2023?
Unlock your team’s potential with Whyy? Change, a local training partner for local businesses.

www.whyychange.com // info@whyychange.com

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