University isn’t for everyone: why wait three years to get paid? Here you’ll read more about apprenticeships and where you can find them.
A-Level results day is a big deal if you’re going to university, but it’s not for everyone.
Whilst your friends spend thousands of pounds studying, you could learn a craft – and get paid while you do it.
And as university fees and living costs continue to grow, it’s worth considering all your options.
To apply, you need to be over 16 years of age and eligible to work in England (different schemes operate in Scotland and Wales). Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete depending on their level.
Some apprenticeships also give you the chance to work towards a qualification such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), a BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award, a Higher National Diploma (HND), or Foundation degree.
Apprenticeships are available in all types of career such as engineering, financial advice, veterinary nursing and accountancy.
Between April 2017 and this year, there were 290,500 apprenticeship starts in England alone.
How much do you get paid?
Apprentices aged 16 to 18, and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year, get paid the “apprentice minimum wage” which is £3.70 an hour
All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age (currently £5.90 for those aged 18 to 20 or £7.38 if you’re aged 21 to 24).
Whatever sector you choose, you’ll get sick pay, at least 20 days paid holiday per year and tax credits.
Where can I start looking for one?
A good place to start searching for vacancies is on the Government’s apprenticeships website. You can set up a home page listing your skills, then search for suitable openings and apply.
There are all sorts of different apprenticeships, bursaries and training schemes available to help you secure a job. These cover lots of sectors, such as arts, media and publishing, and health, public services and care.
If you’re interested in a career with the NHS and are accepted onto an approved nursing course, you could have your tuition fees paid in full and receive a £1,000 grant as well as a means-tested bursary.
A reduced rate Maintenance loan can also be made available to help with costs while you train, the amount you get depends on where you live and study and the year of your course.
You could get funding to become a teacher.
There are childcare and education apprenticeships available for those without a degree: find out more here.
If you’ve been to university, the Department for Education website explains the funding for employment-based, undergraduate and postgraduate teacher training.
Bursaries are available for trainees on some postgraduate courses in England with amounts varying depending on the teacher training subject and the qualifications or degree you hold. Bursaries are available to trainees with 2:1, 2:2 and first-class degrees who specialise in a range of subjects.
Those on a maths course can expect to receive £20,000 with a first, 2:1 or 2:2, while those on a chemistry or computing course can get £28,000 with a first, 2:1 or 2:2.
Scholarships of £28,000 are also available for physics, computing, geography, languages and chemistry trainees.
Work on the railways
Get paid while you undergo practical and theoretical training for a job on the railways.
Transport for London offers a range of rail and underground apprenticeships in areas such as engineering, management and planning, tech data or finance.
You might need certain attributes for the job, such as good eyesight and a long attention span, but you don’t need a university degree.
Salaries will differ according to the schemes; however, all offer a competitive package with at least the minimum living wage for London.
Higher Apprenticeships allow people to pursue degree level study while getting paid.
You can do an apprenticeship in aviation, low carbon engineering, legal services, space engineering and more.
For more companies offering Higher Apprenticeships take a look the Career Pilot website.
Bursaries for students
A number of charitable trusts and commercial companies offer bursaries or scholarships for university students.
The Scholarship Hub has a database of UK scholarships, grants or bursaries available to UK or EU students.
Some are based purely on academic merit, others on financial need, or on your special skills and abilities.