Parents / Guardians

What do parents and guardians need to know about apprenticeships?

If your child is moving on from school, college, or sixth form and wondering what to do next, an apprenticeship could be the perfect opportunity for them. It is now a government requirement that all young people from 16 to 18 stay in education, an apprenticeship counts as education, whilst also being a full-time paid job. Whilst working the apprentice will undertake studying and gain a nationally recognised qualification. Anyone that is over the age of 16 and not in full-time education is eligible for an apprenticeship. Optimum Skills provides high-quality apprenticeships to the North-East and Yorkshire areas, we can assist your child in finding the right apprenticeship for them, leading them to a successful and rewarding career.

An apprenticeship is a job that your young person can get from the age of 16 years and over where they work full time for a company and training is provided alongside work. A salary is earned and they are treated as an employee with all of the benefits, support and security, providing the independence and responsibility that they would get if the preferred route was moving straight into a job. As part of the apprenticeship, 20% of the time is spent in training, learning new skills, knowledge and behaviours in order to progress through the chosen career path.

Apprenticeships can be started anytime from the age of 16 years old and there is no maximum age.

Here is some more key information

  • Length of time can be from 1 year to 5 years, depending upon the chosen apprenticeship and level.
  • There are 4 possible levels; Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3), Higher (Levels 4-7), Degree (Levels 6-7)
  • Independent training providers, colleges or employer providers can deliver the apprenticeship working in partnership with the employer of the apprentice.
  • Entry requirements differ depending on prior qualifications and experience, however, if your young person is 16-18 years old it is likely they are progressing from school/college therefore an intermediate or advanced level is suitable.

How much will they be paid?

Apprentices have a minimum wage that rises according to their age and experience as an apprentice. The minimum an apprentice can earn is £6.40 an hour. This is only for 16–18-year old’s and 19 year old’s with less than one years’ experience of an apprenticeship. The employer may choose to pay the apprentice more than £6.40 at their discretion.

How to find an apprenticeship?

There are a number of apprenticeship pathways available through the apprenticeship route. Here at Optimum Skills we can offer apprenticeships in Business Administration, Butchery, Bricklayer, Carpentry and Joinery, Lean Manufacturing, find the full list here.

What sectors are apprenticeships available in?

The governments ‘Find An Apprenticeship’ website list most of the apprenticeship schemes, on here you can apply appropriate filters of preferred location, distance and level.

Here at Optimum Skills, we offer apprenticeship roles recruiting on behalf of employers, these vacancies can be found here.

What is involved in the training and how can parents or guardians support this?

The employer is responsible for providing 20% off the job learning to the apprentice, this will involve specific teaching sessions with a tutor to learn new knowledge, skills and behaviors, shadowing practice in the workplace, independent research and self-directed studies including writing assignments, projects and presentations. English and maths form an important part of apprenticeships and if the young person is not exempt, they will be required to complete Functional Skills in English or maths or both. This teaching will be provided by a tutor and be planned in work time.

As a parent or guardian, you can support your young person through their apprenticeship learning by ensuring they are completing their work, they understand their targets and deadlines and are prepared and prompt for learning sessions.


Apprenticeships have great benefits for young people, they give them a foot in the door, gaining real work experience which could potentially lead to a career in their chosen sector. Apprentices are entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, and all other benefits employees get.

A lot of companies which employ apprentice’s will keep on successful apprentices at the end of their qualification as full-time permanent staff, there can even be the opportunity to progress onto higher level apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships with Optimum Skills offer bespoke training and study programmes, we ensure each apprenticeship is an individual experience for each and every apprentice, regardless of how many apprentices an employer takes on board.

An apprentice will only be required to do their studying during working hours, this is called off-the-job training. At Optimum Skills we provide training in the workplace, meaning no need for an apprentice to have to attend college (Bricklaying/Joinery/Property Maintenance apprenticeships have day release to our construction academy). This off the job training could be tasks set out by tutors, visits, shadowing.

Success Stories

Applying for an Apprenticeship

Applying for an apprenticeship is a different process to applying for college, sixth form, or university.  It is best to apply for several apprenticeships to have a better chance of securing one, much like applying for a job most vacancies will require a CV, and there will be an interview process.

What’s Next?

If your young person would like to apply for an Apprenticeship or you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will ensure they are signposted to the correct team member.

For more parents and guardians information contact the Optimum Skills team