Parents & carers

Are you considering an apprenticeship for your school leaver? Has your child shown an interest in apprenticeships? Or do you simply want to get a clearer picture as to what an apprenticeship entails? Read on.

What is an apprenticeship?

The 2016 Enterprise Bill protects the term apprenticeship so that anyone undertaking one is assured that it will meet a high-quality standard. Under this initiative, an apprenticeship is defined as:

a job that requires substantial and sustained training, leading to the achievement of an Apprenticeship Standard and the development of transferable skills.

This definition is underpinned by four principles:

  • An apprenticeship is a job, in a skilled occupation
  • An apprenticeship requires substantial and sustained training, lasting a minimum of 12 months and including off-the-job training
  • An apprenticeship leads to full competency in an occupation, demonstrated by the achievement of an Apprenticeship Standard that is defined by employers
  • An apprenticeship develops transferable skills, including English and Maths, to progress careers. The Apprenticeship Standard for each occupation has then been developed by a group of employers working together to design standards for occupations within their sectors. Professional bodies and training providers have also been involved.

CILEx and CILEx Law School both contributed to the development of the new Paralegal Apprenticeship standard so we fully embrace the standard of transparency and excellence the government is seeking to set.

How will my child benefit?

An apprenticeship is a unique chance to work, learn and train at the same time.

A formal education at university can lack the real-world grounding that will enable a young person to start their career. Graduates can also struggle to find work after university, ending up in low-skilled employment or unpaid internships. An apprenticeship offers the best of both worlds: the apprentice will get hands-on work experience and on-the-job mentoring from industry professionals alongside studying for recognised qualifications (which can include full degrees, as is the case with the solicitor apprenticeship).

The result is an independent, confident and qualified young person who already has a job, a salary and industry experience, as well as valuable contacts. The other major benefit is that the training they receive does not require any funding on the part of the apprentice (or parents!) so your child can avoid graduating with the ever-increasing amount of debt (currently averaging £50,000) that will take them years to repay.

How do I know it’s the right choice?

Not everyone is suited to an apprenticeship but there are a number of reasons why it might be the right choice for your child, including:

  • they want to stay close to home
  • they are not interested in spending years studying at university
  • financial circumstances mean that university is not a viable option
  • they want to start their career straight away

There are also some aspects of an apprenticeship to take into consideration:

  • it’s a commitment, often for several years – but can offer stability and security during that time
  • it requires the discipline to work and study at the same time – though they will benefit from a lot of support
  • it offers a different type of social development from university – socialising is with colleagues and mentoring comes from the employers
  • it does not preclude going to university – in fact it’s a very flexible option, often with a number of progression routes

We would recommend sitting down with your child and weighing up the pros and the cons. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need more information or would like some additional advice.