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A parent's guide to apprenticeships

Business Admin Apprentice

With an ever-changing job market, giving career advice to your children is certainly a difficult task. A survey from the National Apprenticeship Service found that 87% of parents give career advice to their children, but as many as 90% don’t feel equipped to give it in the first place. Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular route, but information and guidance can be hard to find and complex. This article is designed to equip parents, guardians and educators with all you need to know about apprenticeships, to help you feel confident in speaking to your children / students about their options.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a full-time job with training, which allows trainees to earn while they learn, as well as gaining a nationally recognised qualification. Most apprenticeships range from 12-18 months but can be anything between one and five years.

Who delivers apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are delivered by apprenticeship providers; organisations that deliver the training and qualification element of the apprenticeship. Many apprenticeship providers, like WhiteHat, also provide the recruitment of apprenticeships on behalf of employers.

Apprenticeship levels 

There are four levels of apprenticeship:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2 - equivalent to GCSE)
  • Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3 - equivalent to A level)
  • Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4-7 - equivalent to Foundation degree and above) 
  • Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6 and 7 - equivalent to Bachelor’s or Master’s degree)

Entry requirements

To be eligible for an apprenticeship in the UK, an individual must be:

  • Aged 16 or over
  • Not in full-time education
  • Have been a resident in the UK or the EU for the past 3 years. 

In addition to these set entry requirements, there are different entry requirements depending on the sector, job and apprenticeship provider. WhiteHat’s additional requirements are:

  • 5 GCSEs including English and Maths at a 4/C or above (or equivalent)
  • Some qualifications also require a level 3 qualification (A level or BTEC level 3) or other more specific requirements
  • Must be a non-graduate 

What subjects can you do an apprenticeship in?

There are apprenticeships available in thousands of different areas, from more manual roles like engineering and construction, to professional services like accounting, digital marketing and software engineering. 

WhiteHat specialise in the following for school leavers:

  • Accounting
  • Digital Marketing
  • Business Administration
  • Software Engineering 
  • Data Analytics


The minimum wage for apprentices is £3.90 per hour, but many employers pay more than this. 

Read more about wage levels.

The average salary of a WhiteHat apprentice is £18,000 which is significantly above the minimum, but varies by qualification and employer. 

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?

  • Earning a salary whilst you train
  • Training in specific skills employers want and are aligned with what the future workforce will need
  • Dedicated time to training - employers are required by law to allow apprentices 20% of their time for ‘off the job training’ i.e. their apprenticeship study
  • Excellent progression opportunities - at WhiteHat, we work with all of our apprentices to explore progression, whether that be another apprenticeship at a higher level, or exploring their next role
  • Dedicated support and guidance - at WhiteHat, each of our apprentices is assigned a Coach who has practical experience in the qualification they are delivering, as well as experience teaching and coaching young people. They meet the apprentices regularly, deliver all of their training and provide pastoral support and guidance to ensure their success on programme and beyond
  • Increased future earning potential - Level 3 apprenticeships can boost earnings by up to 16%*, and higher apprenticeships could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime
  • Receive perks and discounts - Apprentices are considered students so benefit from many of the perks that students access including NUS cards, reduced Oyster card costs in London, etc. 
  • Paid holidays!
  • Community - the WhiteHat community is a thriving group of hundreds of apprentices on programme who support each other and connect via social events, personal and professional development opportunities, leadership opportunities and micro-networks. The community ensures that no one who chooses to do an apprenticeship over university or other routes misses out on social and professional network development opportunities.

How to apply 

The government apprenticeship website includes up to 20,000 apprenticeship vacancies across the country. You can search by keyword (job role, occupation type or apprenticeship level) and by location. 

Your child or student can simply register on the website and follow the step-by-step instructions.

How to apply for a WhiteHat apprenticeship 

  1. Visit the WhiteHat website and create an account - it only takes a few minutes!
  2. Eligibility check - WhiteHat then complete a quick eligibility check to ensure the individual is eligible based on UK guidelines and WhiteHat requirements
  3. Complete online profile - WhiteHat have made the application process simple by not accepting CVs and instead enabling your child / student to showcase their potential to employers via their online profile. It’s simple to complete with step-by-step instructions. See a good example here
  4. Record a video - A key part of the online profile is the video. This is a chance for your child / student to showcase their personality and passion for doing an apprenticeship. They can be as creative as they would like - make sure they speak about their achievements, passions and hobbies. See examples here.
  5. Phone screening - Once their profile is complete, someone from the WhiteHat team will be in touch to do a phone screening. At this stage Whitehat are looking to find out even more about your child / student and find out how much knowledge they have about their desired qualification. First impressions count so encourage them to come across as professional and prepared.
  6. Kick off day - Once the WhiteHat team are confident the individual is ready to be put forward, they will be invited to a kick off day which will either be in person at the WhiteHat office in London or via video call. This is an opportunity for your child / student to learn more about WhiteHat, the apprenticeships on offer and to have a one-on-one with a member of the Talent team. This helps WhiteHat to support the individual in making sure their profile really shines, as well as identifying relevant businesses and roles to put them forwards to.
  7. Job interviews - WhiteHat manage the process of booking in and preparing your child / student for the interviews with a range of their employers, including having a pre-interview preparation call to ensure the highest chances of success.
  8. Choose a role - Following the interview, WhiteHat will let your child / student know if they have been successful and will formally make an offer. WhiteHat give successful candidates 24 hours to decide if the apprenticeship is right for them. If they are unsuccessful the first time around, WhiteHat keep working with them to find something that is right!
  9. Attend a Future Leaders Day - Before starting at their job, they will be invited for a full day session at the WhiteHat offices with fellow new apprentices. This day will kick them off on their apprenticeship journey, ensure they know exactly what to expect and welcome them into the WhiteHat community!

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