How Old Is Too Old For An Apprenticeship?

When people think of apprentices, they typically imagine young adults having just finished school or college, who are trying to carve out a career for themselves in their chosen field. However, there are no age restrictions when it comes to apprenticeships, with the scheme being open to those beyond their teens.

To find out more, read on.

Can I start at any age?

Despite a lot of people becoming apprentices at the start of their career path, you can do so at any point in your life. For instance, you might want to learn new skills, you need a job that will fit in with family life after having a baby, or you simply feel like you never found your ideal job, no matter how old you are.

That is why it is useful to know you can start an apprenticeship at any age. What’s more, there are plenty of opportunities for higher and degree apprenticeships that are equivalent to a foundation degree and beyond.

A degree apprenticeship, which might involve academic study, a work placement, or a combination of the two, is the same as a full bachelor’s or Master’s, depending which level you complete. Therefore, they are highly regarded and would look invaluable on your CV.

Post-graduate choice?

In fact, there is even the chance to apply for an apprenticeship after completing your degree and becoming a graduate. If you want to acquire new skills, so you are not learning the same things twice, you can become an apprentice to add to your qualifications and get work-based experience.

Despite this opportunity, most people assume they should find a job straight away after university, even if they are not 100 per cent sure of their career choice. Completing an apprenticeship, however, gives them practical experience while obtaining further qualifications.

It also enables graduates to earn while they learn, so they do not add to their student debt and can walk away with vocational skills that will be relevant to a future job.

Nearly half of apprentices are over 25

Despite most people being given information and advice on apprenticeship schemes while they are at school or college, nearly half of apprentices in the UK are 25 or older.

According to parliamentary statistics, 47 per cent of those who undertook apprenticeships in 2019/20 were over the age of 24. In fact, those who were 17 had the largest decline of starts.

Fill a skills gap

The UK is currently suffering from a skills crisis, which is why embarking on an apprenticeship at any age would benefit the economy.

Older workers come to the programme with more experience, a greater insight into what their passions or skills are, and most likely, more responsibility, meaning they have to take the scheme seriously to achieve their qualifications and walk away with a secure job.

According to the Training Zone, “learners should be given the opportunity to pursue training that will enhance their career prospects” no matter how old they are.

Benefits to businesses

An increasing number of businesses might start to consider hiring older apprentices, as they offer many benefits. These include greater staff retention, being able to utilise their previous work experience, and re-skilling employees that are too valuable to lose.

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