Apprenticeships: Engineering

If we look around us everything we see is all about engineering. Engineering is about working in the real world, making things that make a difference.

You may be involved in the smallest part of the engine design for a Formula 1 car, but without your contribution it wouldn't leave a pit lane. Engineering is well paid, gives you excellent training and, if you are ambitious, no barriers will be put in your way.

Whatever your current qualifications and experience, if you are prepared to work and study hard, you will succeed. Engineering will give you a great future!

What is an apprenticeship?

As an apprentice, you will be employed to undertake education and training within a company that prepares you for your progression within your chosen career. You learn as you work. This normally means you will go to a Further Education College and/or a Training Centre for either a day a week or for longer periods called "block release". This, combined with on-the-job training in the company, provides the skills and knowledge that you will use in your career.

What entry qualifications will I need?

Entry qualifications are stated by the recruiting company and do vary, so look out for them when you read the advertisements in the directory. Generally, if you wish to become a technician (NVQ level 3), you will need four/five GCSEs at grade C as a minimum, including English, mathematics and science. For those students who are concerned with mainly practical craft skills (NVQ level 2), GCSE requirements are for four or more grades at C-G.

How old do I need to be?

Modern Apprenticeships are available to school/college leavers aged 16-18 and indeed to older candidates provided they complete their training to NVQ level 3 or 4 before their 25th birthday. Successful completion of advanced/intermediate level GNVQs in engineering or manufacture with associated work experience and Key Skills will be a big factor in your favour. Companies also recruit school/college leavers over 18 with A-levels or the International Baccalaureate.

What qualifications do I get at the end of my apprenticeship?

The qualification that you gain as an apprentice will vary depending on the type of apprenticeship you are undertaking. Most apprenticeships will lead to a level-3 NVQ as a minimum, and some lead to a level-4 NVQ. A number of companies will allow apprentices to go on to Higher Education and take degrees, either in business or in engineering subjects. In addition to the NVQ, many apprentices will also gain City and Guilds or BTEC qualifications.

Do I get paid?

Yes! Apprentices get paid throughout their apprenticeships and how much will depend on the company you work for, but you can expect £80-£120 a week to start with. This will increase during an apprenticeship to whatever the skilled job rate is that you are training for. Currently many skilled people in engineering and manufacturing industry are earning in excess of £300 a week ­ that is over £15,000 a year.

When will my apprenticeship start?

Companies normally start apprenticeships between June and September, but there is no fixed common starting date with you. The company will agree the start date with you, if you are successful.

How long does it last?

Modern apprenticeships in the engineering industry enable you to progress as quickly as you are able. They usually take between three and five years to complete, depending upon your background, experience, ability and the nature of the apprenticeship. Some companies still offer time-served apprenticeships, which vary in training content and duration.

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