As your child approaches the end of their exams and contemplates the next steps in their career, for many it can often feel like a daunting experience. For years, university has been promoted as the primary option not only by schools but often by parents as well.
This emphasis on university is largely due to the lack of available resources for students and parents regarding apprenticeships, making it challenging to make an informed decision about the best path to take.
To make an informed choice, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what an apprenticeship will entail. This guide delves into the various aspects of these kind of schemes, including apprenticeship on the job training and apprenticeship off the job training.
One of the main positives about an apprenticeship is that they can be tailored to suit an individual’s prior experience whether this is entry-level with no experience to having a background within the sector. For example, if they have already completed the prior education required, what they learn on the apprenticeship will be adjusted to ensure they are continuing to learn and progress.
However, it is essential for any apprentice to have a minimum of a Level 2 English and Maths qualification. If your child hasn’t achieved this qualification, they are required to study for this exam during the working hours of the apprenticeship and it is not counted as part of the 20% off-the-job training.
Apprenticeship on the job training
For most apprenticeships, on-the-job training takes up 80% of the apprentice’s time. It is an essential part of the process as it allows individuals to develop the necessary skills and knowledge required for the job while benefiting from the safety net of support provided by their managers. This support ensures that they perform their tasks safely and accurately, which is particularly vital in a trade-oriented apprenticeship.
Examples of on the job training will differ with each apprenticeship and what that sector requires. However, here are a few key examples of what would be included in all on-the-job training within the construction sector:
1) Shadowing another employee
This could be going on site with them and watching what they do so they are prepared when they start the job.
2) Job rotation
This where the apprentice has specific time set for different areas of the job. For example, they may spend a week learning about how to brick lay and the next week learning how to set up reports for clients. One of the main perks of an apprenticeship is that they are able to try all aspects of the job before being fully qualified.
A demonstration involves an employee observing the execution of a task or a specific process.
4) Role play
Role play entails acting out a situation to assess an employee’s performance within specific circumstances. This provides them with the opportunity to practice how they would approach potential workplace scenarios.
Apprenticeship off the job training
The apprenticeship off-the-job training component complements the on-the-job experience by providing theoretical knowledge and a broader understanding of the trade or profession. It should typically take up at least 20% of an apprentice’s working week and it is designed to improve the apprentice’s knowledge, behaviours, and skills. This time is scheduled differently at the discretion of the employer. It could either be scheduled between one day a week, part of the working day or blocked out time. It can either take place at the apprentice’s place of work, online or at the college or university the training is provided.
Off-the-job training has four main rules:
- It must take place during a normal paid working day.
- It must focus on developing the skills, behaviours and knowledge of the apprentice.
- It must be separate from the day-to-day job and be conducted in a different working environment.
- It must be relevant to the apprenticeship.
Off-the-job training offers several significant advantages for apprentices. Firstly, it allows them to enhance their academic skills and knowledge. Additionally, they can work closely with inspiring and highly experienced trainers to further improve their skills.
This type of training provides apprentices with a deeper insight into the specific skills essential for their role. The flexible and practical environment improves their development and helps them acquire transferrable skills that can be valuable in various aspects of their professional life.
Some examples of off-the-job training include:
- Writing a reflective journal
- Assessments and reports that are relevant to their apprenticeship.
- Industry / site visits
- Workshops, webinars, and training days
- Coaching sessions or in-house training programmes
The next steps
All apprenticeships vary in terms of how long they take from one year up to four years. If successful, the employer may take them on as a full-time employee and progress them with more training. Alternatively, this is the opportunity where they can explore other places of work and continue to develop their skills with a new a company.
Overall, an apprentice is a brilliant opportunity to learn, develop and grow quickly, especially within the trades sector.
If you’d like any more information on trade apprenticeships, or what you can do as a parent or carer to best support an apprentice throughout their programme, you can get in touch with our team. If your child is interested in an apprenticeship, you can visit our Jobs Board here to find an apprenticeship that’s perfect for them.
Alternatively, we’ve also put together this in-depth Parent’s Guide to Apprenticeships.