We could beat around the bush a bit on this one but instead, we’ll just come out with it:
No. You do not have to pay to do an apprenticeship. Cool, huh?!
With that nicely cleared up, you might have a few other questions around the financial side, like, will employers pay you a wage during your apprenticeship and how much might you earn? They’re pretty good questions to ponder so let’s see if we can help you answer them!
So, who actually pays for the apprenticeship?
If you’re aged between 16 and 24 years old, your tuition fees are completely covered by your employer and the government. Usually, the government covers the majority of any fees, sometimes with employer contributions depending on what level you’re studying at.
This includes degree apprenticeships, which is one of the reasons they’re such an exciting and competitive pathway – nabbing a degree and graduating debt-free is a pretty enticing benefit!
It’s also worth noting that as an apprentice, you will not be eligible to apply for any student loans or financial grants that are dedicated to paying for tuition or study fees.
Who pays your salary and how much will you be paid?
You’ll be employed by your employer, so they’ll be responsible for paying your salary. There is a different National Minimum Wage for apprentices of £3.50 an hour currently, but many employers acknowledge this is quite low and often pay more than the legally required minimum.
This can be especially true for higher and degree apprentices, where salaries can reach anywhere up to £26, 000 per year. If you work your way up through different apprenticeship levels with the same employer, you’ll probably find they offer salary increases as you obtain more experience and qualifications.
Do you get any other entitlements?
In terms of the workplace, you will be entitled to other benefits such as paid annual leave and be able to participate in any other benefit schemes the company may offer. This could be for things such as reduced gym or health club memberships, and even free cinema tickets!
As an apprentice, you might be entitled to additional perks, especially around travel. In London, Transport for London offer the Apprenticeship Oyster Photocard which allows you up to 30% off travel fares for certain journeys. We recommend that you speak to your local transportation office to find out more.
The National Union of Students (NUS) also offer a specific discount card for apprentices: the NUS Apprentice Extra Card, which entitles you to discounts at over 150 high street shops and retailers.
Being an apprentice can be a really empowering and positive experience. Earning a salary is a big responsibility, so make sure you get proper advice and guidance from someone you trust about budgeting and starting a savings account. That way, you can really set yourself up for financial success!