Apprenticeships have come a long way in recent years, they help people ‘get in and go far’ but there are still a lot of myths surrounding the choice to combine earning whilst you learn, instead of the common further education choice of attending university.

Many people in the construction industry started out as an apprentice – and lots of those are now CEOs and Managing Directors!

There are still myths surrounding apprenticeships – and we are here to help bust them.

Myth 1: You can’t get a good qualification doing an apprenticeship

BUSTED: Apprenticeships allow you to gain a nationally recognised qualification while working in a real job.

There are various levels of qualifications you can work towards during your apprenticeship, ranging from a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship to Level 4 and 5 Higher Apprenticeships. You can even work your way up to a Level 7 Master’s Degree Apprenticeship in some industries.

Myth 2: Apprenticeships are just for young people

BUSTED: Apprenticeships are relevant for everyone over the age of 16 looking to improve their skills and progress their careers. They can be for both new members of staff and members of the existing work force – many people, including Larissa Hardisty, use their apprenticeship to change careers to a job they love.

Myth 3:  Apprenticeships are only entry level

BUSTED: Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Levels 6 and 7 (equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree). Some apprenticeships may also offer additional professional qualifications, such as ACCA.

You can check the Institute for Apprenticeships website, which is constantly being updated as new standards become available. 

Myth 4: You can’t study an apprenticeship if you have a degree

BUSTED: If you have a degree you will be still be eligible to receive funding to obtain a new apprenticeship qualification. This is as long as your new qualification is different and offers substantial new knowledge while you learn, gain vital work experience and set yourself on a fast-track to a successful career.

Myth 5: Apprentices will never earn very much

BUSTED: Apprentices must receive at least the national minimum wage (currently £4.30, but £4.81 from April 2022 per hour for 16–18-year-olds and those aged 19 plus in the first year of their apprenticeship), though many employers do choose to pay more. 

In the long-term, individuals with an Advanced Apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more in their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications. While those completing a Higher (degree level) Apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.

Myth 6: Employers don’t value apprenticeships

BUSTED: Research indicates that apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by, on average, £214 per week, so an increasing number of employers are now choosing to grow their business through apprenticeships.

Also with employers saying that former apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications, apprenticeships genuinely do provide a stepping stone to a brighter future.

Myth 7: An apprenticeship won’t lead to a full time job

BUSTED: In fact, more than 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their course ends, with 67% remaining with the same employer.

Myth 8: Apprenticeships are for people who want to do more ‘manual’ jobs

BUSTED: The apprenticeship sector has many offerings in construction, engineering and beyond but there are also apprenticeships in business admin, marketing, IT and more.

Myth 9: University graduates earn more than apprentices

BUSTED: There is a common belief among students (and their parents) that a university education will set you up to earn more money than an apprenticeship.

Although apprentices start at lower wage, by the time they reach graduation they are just as qualified as a graduate, but with on the job experience to boot! Sure, some graduates go on to earn a good salary, but so do many apprentices. But remember, you’ll be without the burden of student debt.

Myth 10: Businesses aren’t taking apprentices on

BUSTED: Like any other job, an apprenticeship may depend on factors that are out of your control.

Factors such as location (where you live), transport links (commuting), job responsibilities (environment) and many more. However, with the government pledging to create more schemes, it’s clear that the number of opportunities is set to rise.