Increasingly, the Linden Management team have been approached by both employers and potential adult learners enquiring if they are ‘too old’ to consider starting on an apprenticeship journey to support career progression, or indeed a change in career.

The good news is, that anyone over the age of 16, living in England and not already in full time education is eligible for an apprenticeship. Recent changes in government funding has not only changed the face of apprenticeships, but also the age; there is no upper age limit.

If you are an adult looking to retrain or strengthen your existing formal qualifications, then apprenticeships could be for you. From an employer’s perspective, the advantages of maturity and experience could outweigh the financial benefits offered by a school leaver. Either way, there are several factors that will be considered.

Apprenticeships offer career development.

With four levels available, an increasing number of people are improving their skills and formal qualifications through an apprenticeship and their career development. The current levels of apprenticeship that are available are:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2)

Intermediate apprenticeships are Level 2 apprenticeships, and generally considered to be the same level as five GCSE passes.

  • Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3)

Advanced apprenticeships are also called Level 3 apprenticeships, and generally considered to be the same level as two A level passes.

  • Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4 and above)

Higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain Level 4 qualifications or above, with most apprentices gaining an NVQ Level 4, HND, or foundation degree. Some offer the opportunity to progress to Level 7 (which is postgraduate degree level).

  • Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 5 to 7)

Degree apprenticeships are a new type of programme offered by some universities. Students can achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship.

Salary expectations for Apprentices.

Within the first year of your training the minimum wage for apprentices currently stands at £4.30 per hour. If you are aged 19+, after you have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, this rises to the national minimum wage:

Age Category National Minimum Wage (at April 2021)
18 – 20 years £6.56
21- 22 years £8.36
23+ £8.91

In addition to your salary, if you are aged over 19 years, you may be eligible for adult skills funding if you undertake an Advanced Level (level 3) or Higher Level (level 4 and above) apprenticeship. For further details, visit the Student Finance England website.

Whilst we are unable to make any guarantees, the Linden Management team actively encourage the employers we support with apprenticeship training to pay more than the apprentice minimum. Mature candidates with on-going financial commitments often find the lower wage a barrier to development through an apprenticeship. However, there is additional financial support available (dependant on personal circumstances and living situation) through the government backed Universal Credit scheme.

Apprenticeship funding for employers.

As apprenticeships are employment-based learning schemes, the training costs are usually paid for by the employer. Depending on the size of employer, and the age of the apprentice, there is a range of government funding and incentive payments available.

For apprentices aged 16 – 18 years old there are government incentives of up to £4,000 per apprentice available and for small businesses the government will support with training fees.

For apprentices aged 19+ employers are able to claim a government incentive of £3,000 per apprentice and, in if you are an SME sized business exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy the government will support with up to 95% of training costs.

What’s the next steps?

Adult apprenticeships can help shape career options and development for the individual and support business growth models for the future.

If you are an employer, wanting to invest and develop your workforce, or want to find out more about the apprenticeship incentive schemes available to your organisation, contact Rebecca Smith at Linden Management today: Rebecca.smith@lindenemanagement.org.uk