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The rise of the apprentice

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service sets out why 2018 is set to be a crucial year for apprenticeships.

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 takes place from 5 to 9 March. The theme is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ and it’s a week-long celebration of apprenticeships in England designed to showcase how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy. During the Week, employers and apprentices will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships while encouraging even more people to choose an apprenticeship as the pathway to a great career.


Apprenticeships provide people of all ages the opportunity to progress in work and life. They offer the chance to earn a salary while learning the practical skills needed to get ahead, boosting earnings potential longer term and offering a high-quality work-based alternative to academic study. The lifetime benefits associated with an apprenticeship at Level 2 and 3 are significant, standing at between £48,000 and £74,000 for Level 2 and between £77,000 and £117,000 for Level 3 apprenticeships. And people taking Higher Apprenticeships could earn £150,000 more on average over their lifetime compared to those with Level 3 vocational qualifications.


With more high-quality apprenticeships on offer than ever before, the apprenticeship path is becoming an ever more attractive option to young people and their parents. This is reflected in the increased diversity of apprenticeships on offer, with opportunities ranging from Level 2 apprenticeships in butchery to Degree Apprenticeships in Aeronautical Engineering. Apprenticeship Trailblazers, groups of employers developing standards specific to their sector, mean we have more and more employer-led apprenticeships across a diverse range of sectors. The recently established Institute of Apprenticeships puts employers at the heart of decision-making processes and supports the quality of new apprenticeship standards, being developed by employers themselves.


Evidence shows that apprenticeships are delivering for both learners and employers. 86% of employers say that apprenticeships have helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, with 78% reporting improved productivity. Meanwhile, over four in five apprentices say the experience has improved their career prospects, with 85% going into work or further training after their apprenticeship ends.

Through apprenticeship reforms, we are improving the quality of apprenticeships for all, providing the skills that employers need to reach our commitment of 3 million starts in England by 2020. We’ve seen over 1.2 million apprenticeship starts since May 2015, providing more opportunities for people of all ages and from all backgrounds. We remain committed to helping even more people and employers benefit from apprenticeships, creating a stronger and fairer economy where people of all ages and backgrounds can fulfil their potential.

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 takes place from 5 to 9 March. The theme is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ to showcase how apprenticeships work for individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.

Employers looking to find out more about taking on an apprentice should visit: People looking for more information and support on applying for an apprenticeship can visit:


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