Earn while you learn: financial advice on apprenticeship funding, salaries and apprentice discount cards.
While you’re on an apprenticeship your employer pays you a salary and supports you in your training. Financial support is available and you won’t have to pay any fees. If you’re between 16 and 18 the government will pay the full cost of your training, if you’re 19 or over your employer may be expected to contribute to these costs.
If you are aged over 25 and starting an advanced or higher apprenticeship you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your training and this can be done through a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan.
The National Minimum Wage at writing (Jan 2016) is £3.30 per hour for apprentices under 19 or those aged over 19 who are in their first year of an apprenticeship, £5.30 for 19 and 20 year olds and £6.70 for those aged 21 and over. Many employers will pay you more as you develop your skills and according to figures from Reed, the average engineering apprentice annual salary is £12,760.
As if getting paid to study wasn't enough of a perk, you'll also be entitled to paid holidays and bank holidays too. It's a good idea to discuss details with your employer before entering a training agreement, but you are entitled to at least 20 days of holiday every year - whatever you get on top of that is a bonus! There are some rules you'll have to follow when you take holiday (some employers don't let you take holidays at certain times of the year, for example). Speak to your employer to find out what their policy is.
And if that wasn't enough for you lucky lot, most employers give you days off to study. Hurray!
The National Union of Students (NUS) offers a discount card for apprentices called the NUS Apprentice extra card [new window]. This offers the sort of discounts on local and national businesses normally open to university students.
It costs £11 to buy, and in return you’ll have access to hundreds of discounts including cinemas, restaurants, shops and bus and train companies. Used wisely, it could save you over £500 a year. Definitely worth checking out.
Information from The Apprenticeship Guide [new window].