Apprenticeships - a great step onto the career ladder

With many young people coming out of university with debts of almost £30,000, apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly attractive option instead of college or higher education. There are no tuition fees and they allow young people to gain a nationally recognised qualification whilst also earning a wage.

Apprenticeships are available to anybody over the age of 16, not in full time education. There is something to suit everybody as they cover a range of qualification levels and more than 170 industries and 1,500 job roles, ranging from digital marketing and electronic engineering, to childcare and sports coaching.

Apprenticeships last between one and four years with apprentices working a minimum of 30 hours per week. The training is delivered by professional training providers who meet regularly with the young person to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need for their area of work. This is complemented by the employer who provides the apprentice with mentoring and support as well as practical experience that will boost their CV.

Earn while you learn
One of the excellent benefits for young people doing an apprenticeship is that they are paid by the employer, get at least 20 days of paid holiday and gain first hand experience of what it’s like to be in the workplace. The minimum wage for an apprentice between 16-18 and those aged 19 or over in their first year is £2.68 an hour, although employers often pay more than this with the average weekly net pay for an apprentice being £170.

The experience of working with an employer means apprentices can gain the transferable skills that employers are looking for when they recruit, such as communication, flexibility, time management and team work.

Research has shown that 86% of apprentices stay in employment after their initial apprenticeship finishes. Examples of those who have experienced fantastic apprenticeship success include John Frieda, who started out as a hair salon apprentice and Jamie Oliver who began his career as a culinary apprentice.

To find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships and to browse the wide range of opportunities available, please visit and the Apprenticeships in Surrey page on the Surrey County Council website.

An apprenticeship success story
Ryan, a young man taken on as a Cinema Assistant apprentice by the Ambassadors Cinema in Woking is a fantastic example of the success apprenticeships can bring. He achieved an NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service alongside his apprenticeship and, since then has been taken on as a permanent employee with additional responsibilities in the projection department.

Dominic Foster, Deputy General Manager of the Ambassadors Cinema Woking, highlighted that Ryan is a key member of staff and that his success has encouraged them to take on more apprentices "Towards the beginning of this year, mindful of the fact that Ryan was due to complete his apprenticeship and had done so well, I actually took on a further two apprentices in the cinema, both of whom are doing fantastically!" Not only have they recruited for cinema apprentices but they have also extended this to their maintenance department with another apprentice studying towards an NVQ Level 2 Diploma in General Maintenance Operations.

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Ryan former apprentice for Amabassadors cinema Woking and David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council
Ryan former apprentice for Amabassadors cinema Woking and David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council
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