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Has your child decided to take a different route and not go to university on a full time basis? Tell the National Apprenticeship Service about your experience. £300 voucher to be won! NOW CLOSED

(168 Posts)
PoppyMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Aug-17 11:47:28

Figuring out whether your DC wants to go to university or not can be a stressful period for both parents and DCs alike. If your child has decided not to go to uni full time, it’s often hard to know what other options are out there. The National Apprenticeship Service, which is part of the Department for Education, wants to hear about Mumsnetters’ experiences of finding alternatives to uni. They want to know whether you’ve heard of the different apprenticeships options and whether they’re appealing to you and your DCs.

Here’s what the National Apprenticeship Service has to say on apprenticeships:

“The government has stated that all young people must stay in some sort of education or training until at least their 18th birthday. This does not necessarily mean staying in school. Young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training post 16. One of these choices could be an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a real job, with real training, meaning you can earn while you learn and gain the necessary skills and professional competencies in your chosen career. They are available to anyone over the age of 16 living in England. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job and can last from a minimum of one year up to five years.

At any one time, there are up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies available online in a variety of careers and industries across England such as the likes of Rolls-Royce, BBC, ASOS, ITV, Barclays, Airbus, IBM and Google, as well as thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.”

Here is more information from the National Apprenticeships Service about apprenticeships

They also have a partnership with The Student Room which you can access here

Here are a few questions that the National Apprenticeships Service is interested in hearing your thoughts about. Please comment on the thread below.

- If your child has decided not to go to college/university, have you been able to find out what other options are out there?
- Do you know how apprenticeships work - do you know what qualifications they give and what they pay? Please tell us about your experience.
- How difficult has it been for you to find information about apprenticeships and what types of apprenticeships are available?
- Did you know that there are degree apprenticeships?
- Did you know you can become a solicitor without going to university full time?

Everyone who posts on the thread will be entered into a prize draw and one person will win a £300 voucher.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

MNHQ

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Theimpossiblegirl Mon 14-Aug-17 13:44:01

We're starting to looking into options as dd1 sits gcses next year so needs to tjink about the next steps. She wants to go to uni but her friend wants a trade so is hoping to get an apprenticeship. He wants to be a plumber so it makes perfect sense.
Uni is not for everyone and it's a lot of money to spend.

ChasedByBees Tue 15-Aug-17 17:52:05

My DD is a bit young for these yet, but really interested to hear that there are other routes to university opening up. I think it's often too expensive for university now but degree apprenticeships would be a great way to open this up.

butterfly56 Wed 16-Aug-17 10:53:20

My son started on the Apprenticeship Scheme in Engineering.
He decided to take the route of being paid whilst training rather than going to University.
He completed his Apprenticeship and went into the Aerospace Industry then went on to do a part time degree in Integrated Technologies then a Masters Degree.
Within 3years of finishing his Apprenticeship he was a Unit Leader then promoted to Fabrications Manager.
He was invited to Australia House in London as he always wanted to emigrate. He was offered 3 positions open to him at any time once he landed in Australia. He emigrated 18months later.
He has done really well and put a lot of work into his career but all his hard work has paid off.
He has said he would not be where he is today if he hadn't chosen the Apprenticeship Scheme over University.

sharond101 Wed 16-Aug-17 11:45:13

My children are only young but I see this as a good option for them. There are so many people now who go to University and struggle to find work and learning skills via an apprenticeship is in some ways better equipping them for the future.

SandyDenny Wed 16-Aug-17 12:09:14

If your child has decided not to go to college/university, have you been able to find out what other options are out there? "I was told about the givenrment apprentice portal by my child's school, I found other websites on my own via google and general research. I was also sent a book by the school which was very helpful. afaik this book was only sent because I enquired about apprenticeships, I don't think it was available to everyone"
- Do you know how apprenticeships work - do you know what qualifications they give and what they pay? Please tell us about your experience. "Yes, having been through the application process and by doing research I think I understand how they work. Alll the positions on the gov website included salary information and I know from my own job the sort of salary that can be expected."
- How difficult has it been for you to find information about apprenticeships and what types of apprenticeships are available? "Not too difficult but defintely not as easy as applying through a centralised process for a university place. It was down to me to support my child with the application and interview process. I think there could be improvements for students who may not have a parent able to do that for them. I'm not sure how well teachers can be expected to guide students if they themselves haven't experienced trying to get a job in a non school role"
- Did you know that there are degree apprenticeships? Yes
- Did you know you can become a solicitor without going to university full time? No

foxessocks Wed 16-Aug-17 14:00:46

I chose not to go to university despite everybody else I knew going and it being the 'natural" next step for me . I didn't regret it at all I went straight into work and worked my way up.

Ajengsyd Wed 16-Aug-17 14:58:32

My son took car mechanic Apprenticeship at beginning of year 11.after 3 weeks working 12 hours shift 5 days a week and they made him nothing more just becoming workshop cleaner on $7 an hour, he quits. He turned 18, 2 weeks later and he did his RSA/RCG course.Since then he worked his way up in hospitality. At Age 22 now he is a manager in small club and doing his certificate 4 in hospitality management at Tate through work. My son is a hard worker but hate school. He got A only for sport. And the rest of subjects at school were bore him. But hard work in his 3 weeks stint doing car mechanic apprenticeship did give him a wake up call what life and future about. Hope this help experience helps other

ssd Wed 16-Aug-17 16:02:01

They are available to anyone over the age of 16 living in England

does this apply to Scotland?

BabsGanoush Wed 16-Aug-17 16:20:04

- If your child has decided not to go to college/university, have you been able to find out what other options are out there?
It’s only because I knew about Apprenticeships that I have researched them. My daughter is completing A Levels but we are not sure she is ready for Uni, therefore we are looking at other options. I don’t think the school/college have promoted them much – more A Levels and Uni.

- Do you know how apprenticeships work - do you know what qualifications they give and what they pay? Please tell us about your experience.
Yes, I do know this because I have researched them. The qualifications are very dependent on the employer and type of industry though. There is a danger that some employers just want cheap labour. The grey area is accountability - I don’t know what criteria employers have to meet. What guidance (if any) do they follow to ensure the young person is gaining experience and qualifications?

- How difficult has it been for you to find information about apprenticeships and what types of apprenticeships are available?
I have alerts set up on the Gov.UK website. I live in a deprived area there aren’t many apprenticeships around here.

- Did you know that there are degree apprenticeships?
No. Whilst this is fantastic I doubt there will be any employers near me offering/leading to this.

- Did you know you can become a solicitor without going to university full time?
No.

Whatawaytomakealiving Wed 16-Aug-17 16:30:00

My ds decided university wasn't for him and chose an apprenticeship. All well and good but...
Information for us as parents, both online and from school was very limited and difficult to understand. We had no idea of the quality of what was being offered, few ways to find out. We had little understanding of the process.

His choices were limited by the location we live in, what was available that he could travel to. We realised that his wish to follow his love of engineering would mean a move from his home town, nothing available here.
As he chose to follow his key skills and interests he needed to move away from home, yet doesn't earn enough to allow this to happen. How would he rent on such a low wage?

At 17, when he started, he was also very young to live alone. He didn't have the friendship groups around him that university provides, it was worrying to let him move away without support.

Finances are difficult, he doesn't earn enough to support himself, he doesn't access a loan (not sure if he can unlike a uni student)

He didnt have any chance of supported accommodation, no 'halls of residence' to give him a start in his first year.
No 'student services' to offer him help.

He has followed his dream, was living away from home at 17, but living in an awful house, horrible area, no friends (he works as the only apprentice with older men) with little financial security other than us paying to support him. He has no security beyond the end of his apprenticeship. The balance between managing and not is a really fine line. He is scraping through financially but any small set back or occurrence would change that.

Apprenticeship has been the tight choice for him in terms of practical experience but there really does need to be an infrastructure around apprenticeships if young people are to succeed. As a university graduate myself and having other children through university, this apprenticeship is a much tougher, less supported route. The onus is much more on us as parents to support financially, to work out a place for him to live, to make sure his health and wellbeing are fine. It has given my ds much less choice in following his dream.

fleshmarketclose Wed 16-Aug-17 16:35:05

If your child has decided not to go to college/university, have you been able to find out what other options are out there? Ds and dd's school were very good at ensuring all students knew their options.
- Do you know how apprenticeships work - do you know what qualifications they give and what they pay? Please tell us about your experience. Yes,ds and dd decided against an apprenticeship as the pay was poor and it felt like slave labour to them. They both work in Local Government and could have had an apprenticeship there but chose to apply for the vacancies instead. They earned a proper wage and ds completed a degree and a Masters fully funded and dd is on the same path. Had they chosen an apprenticeship there they would be at least two years behind where they are now.
- How difficult has it been for you to find information about apprenticeships and what types of apprenticeships are available? School were very good so it was easy
- Did you know that there are degree apprenticeships? Yes
- Did you know you can become a solicitor without going to university full time?Yes

user1497557435 Wed 16-Aug-17 16:38:46

My DD would love a degree apprenticeship but there are none available in our area in a field she's interested in.

Pandamanda3 Wed 16-Aug-17 17:28:01

Really glad this thread has popped up!
In short no none of the above info was provided to us upon leaving school, we had to root it all out ourselves really.

Id like to ask as I feel it's important about the lack of financial support for young people going into apprentership schemes.
My son is 18 he was kept back a year due to Sen, he went onto college and re-say his gcse's but worrys he wouldn't have got his c's that is often required now by employers so we hope and pray next week will be good news.
However his father is an electrician and has offered him a chance at his company to train as an apprentice.
The problem we have is my ex & I are divorsed and I provide for my son financially with the help of working / child tax credits.
When renewing recently I was informed if he accepts this apprentership then we will no longer qualify for that help.
We would basically loose most of our income as my business is small just starting out and I suffer I'll health.
So how do I support him?
The tc advise that if the child is paid in the apprenteership (which is a very very low wage) then this is not recognised as an approved education course?

So how do the government expect low pay family's to manage with no support.
In our case my son would earn £90 week for working at placement need to attend and then college 2 times a week.
I would only be entitled to £62 per wk for us both as that is the help given to a single full time working person.

Im petrified at how we are going to manage, iv been told there is nothing else we can do.
But if he goes to college full time and then gets a part time job, not only is he able to earn that extra income but we are still entitled to all our tax credits?

It makes no sense, sorry for rambling but why do the government not acknowledge this as an approved training scheme so poorer family can access them.
Please can you help? And advise, my son has a great chance given to him that he would otherwise struggle to get because of his Sen/autism.
His dad pays minimum maintenance and hates me so woukd do nothing to help other than give our son this job.
Appologies for the long post!

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 16-Aug-17 17:45:52

Who are these apprenticeships being aimed at?. I also think apprenticeships remain the poor relation and knowledge of these is scant from both school and college. We had to do all the legwork for this matter.

There are still not enough of them and many of them last far less than 3 or 4 years. Also there is the issues that Pandamanda writes of; I have also seen similar happening in my own social circle.

When looking on the government based website for this I noticed that
a number of adverts for intermediate apprenticeships are asking for both Maths and English GCSEs at C grade or even higher.

Not all potential apprentices have both Maths and English at grade C or level 4. It is crucial to look at all the relevant skills and experience each applicant can offer, not use just one or two criteria as a rigidly applied filter.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 16-Aug-17 17:58:33

Their parents also lose their child benefit and tax credits because an apprentice, despite attending classes and studying towards a vocational qualification, is no longer considered to be in education.

Maisiesaves Wed 16-Aug-17 18:20:54

I have a brother about to finish his 4 year BMW apprenticeship. He has loved it and will have a job there on completion or be able to look elsewhere.

I also didn't go to University and after a 5 year gap from work, I started an apprenticeship. I think they are brill for young people and adults who learn best by doing and being shown the ropes. Apprenticeships also encompass so much more such as functional skills and employment rights, for example.

Downside is... the first year's pay/minimum wage for the amount of hours worked (up to 40 a week) borders on criminal!

SandyDenny Wed 16-Aug-17 18:35:02

Not all potential apprentices have both Maths and English at grade C or level 4. It is crucial to look at all the relevant skills and experience each applicant can offer, not use just one or two criteria as a rigidly applied filter

Are you saying that you know that employers don't look any further than the Maths and English grades? That's not my experience, , it wasn't an issue for my child but I know others who started apprenticeships without C grades and re-sat as part of their college course. I also know of young people who stated their apprenticeships before they even had their GCSE results.

The points about the additional costs are valid ones. I think there is scope to look at that further to see if the rules can be changed for under 18s

SandyDenny Wed 16-Aug-17 18:37:35

Thinking further about the GCSE grades, this actually wouldn't be an issue in the circumstances being asked about as a young person without Cs in maths and English wouldn't be applying to university would they?

Pandamanda3 Wed 16-Aug-17 18:48:07

Sandy- I don't think it so much the actual employers who are more concerned with the c's in maths and English Id like to think they would look at the wider skills and potential in the person applying but I do know from experience the college courses that link in with the apprenterships are more demanding of c's
So in my case as an example my son and I have tried to access 3 different colleges to take the electrical course as part of the apprenteership has to be at college and they all have said c's for maths & English. So it's a stopping point for a lot of young ones. My son has so much potential so much to give and would be great for a lot of companys but sadly it's the c's that say YEH or na!
I suppose it's course dependant too but not fair really not all kids are able.
I have looked for example at many a course as a plan b for my son and in one college there wasn't 1 suitable course that did not want grade c.

I genuinly do not know what I will do financially it's keeping me awake at night honestly, I so want the best for him but with no support I just can't see how.
I am now actually looking at selling our home sad

Oblomov17 Wed 16-Aug-17 18:57:52

Fascinating. I think an Apprenticeship would be good for ds1.

Krystal5 Wed 16-Aug-17 19:50:57

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Beach11 Wed 16-Aug-17 20:30:53

- If your child has decided not to go to college/university, have you been able to find out what other options are out there? My DS & DD are both pre school age so answering as my experience as a secondary school teacher. There is information out there & can easily be found but I found that a lot parents do not believe in quality/value of the qualification compared to other qualifications such as A-levels, degree etc & some parents are worried that it narrows future options too early
- Do you know how apprenticeships work - do you know what qualifications they give and what they pay? Please tell us about your experience. Yes I know how apprenticeships work & what they pay. I think sometimes the pay deters students applying
- How difficult has it been for you to find information about apprenticeships and what types of apprenticeships are available? The apprenticeship website has a lot of information & I have seen adverts from individual companies.
There does need to be a system very similar to UCAS which centralises the application process & make it less of a faff & clumsy
- Did you know that there are degree apprenticeships? Yes
- Did you know you can become a solicitor without going to university full time? Yes I am aware but nothing further. There is definitely a lack of information & is the qualification actually valued within the profession?! Would the candidate have equal chance of getting the job against a candidate that followed the traditional route?

Whist I know that some apprenticeships are top quality & have great prospects there are also many which aren't.
Statistics on retention & employment would be great & might help other students to take an apprenticeships. smile


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TeenAndTween Wed 16-Aug-17 21:03:36

- If your child has decided not to go to college/university, have you been able to find out what other options are out there?

Yes, I researched hard when A levels started to look unlikely. DD ended up doing a BTEC at college and has just started an unrelated apprenticeship.

- Do you know how apprenticeships work - do you know what qualifications they give and what they pay? Please tell us about your experience.

Hopefully yes, given DD has just started one.

- How difficult has it been for you to find information about apprenticeships and what types of apprenticeships are available?

Flipping difficult. The accessibility of information on how apprenticeships should run is pretty much on a par with info on BTECs, which is basically rubbish. You can find very high level information quite easily, but even finding out info on amount of training to be offered, how they are assessed etc is next to impossible.

- Did you know that there are degree apprenticeships?

Yes

- Did you know you can become a solicitor without going to university full time?

Yes

TeenAndTween Wed 16-Aug-17 21:04:52

This is probably a good place to advertise the Mumsnet Apprenticeships board which is relatively new, and not many people have found yet.

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