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Top 10 Myths About Apprenticeships

  1. Apprenticeships tend to be for people who didn’t do well at school.

There has also been a bit of a misconception that apprenticeships were for those of us who tended to find school to be a bit of a boreThis is simply not true as there are levels of apprenticeships ranging from level 2 all the way up to level 7 (equivalent to a degree!). So no matter if you were a high school genius or you were asleep most of the time, there is an apprenticeship for you! 


  1. Apprenticeships are for people who want to do more ‘manual’ jobs.

Don’t let the common perception of apprenticeships only being for manual jobs deceive you. There are lots of apprenticeships in areas such as marketing, business admin, IT and many more. In fact, I bet you thought you had to go to university to get the following jobs: 

  • Solicitor (up to level 7) 
  • Actuary (up to level 7) 
  • Marketing Manager (up to level 6) 
  • Physiotherapist (up to level 6) 
  • Junior Journalist (up to level 3) 
  • Teacher (up to level 6) 
  • Aerospace Engineer (up to level 6) 
  • Advanced clinical practitioner (up to level 7) 
  • Architect (up to level 7) 
  • Business leadership and management (up to level 7) 


  1. Apprenticeships are low paid

One of the greatest benefits of apprenticeships is being able to earn while you earn, a slogan I’m sure you’ll have heard many times. This is for good reason though as you will likely earn a nice living on an apprenticeship, in fact the average starting salary for a degree apprentice in 2019 was £17,800 which is certainly enough to treat yourself every now and again. 

  1. Apprenticeships are only for young people(16 to 18-year olds) 

Despite what you might think you can start an apprenticeship at any age. They are not just a way to start your career, but a way to develop it! If you are 18 and have just left college, they can be a fantastic way to enter a particular field you are interested in, or if you are 35 and want to upskill in your current role, or you fancy a career change, then they are just as useful. 

  1. Apprenticeships don’t lead to a full-time job

But what happens after I finish my apprenticeship?” I can hear you say. Well don’t worry, over 90% of apprentices either stay employed or go on to further learning upon completion of their apprenticeship. On top of this, 1 in 5 companies have a former apprentice at board level, so you could even go on to be a board member at a company you started at as an apprentice! If you decide you don’t want to stay at your current company however, 92% of apprentices said that their employment prospects improved as a result of doing an apprenticeship, making finding another job even easier. 

  1. Apprenticeships are too expensive

The apprenticeship levy introduced in 2017 means all businesses with an annual bill more than £3 million are required to pay a 0.5% compulsory tax of the pay bill. Companies who don’t pay the levy pay 10% towards the cost of an apprenticeship, with the government covering the remaining 90%. This makes funding an apprenticeship an extremely feasible option for any business. 

  1. Apprenticeships cannot be used for existing staff

False! Many people forget that apprenticeships are not just for people looking to start their career or even have a change in career, but can be used to upskill current staff. This means if you identify any skill gaps in your companies’ workforce, then apprenticeships are a great way to close this skill gap without having to hire new employees. 

  1. Apprenticeships are only entry level – they are for low skilled people

As mentioned before, apprenticeships are available from level 2 up to level 7 across a wide range of industries. No matter what your skill level is, you can find an apprenticeship for you and increase your skill level by developing the skills you already have or learning completely new ones. 

  1. Providers have to advertise apprenticeship vacancies for us

As an employer you might be put off hiring apprentices by thinking you have to use apprentice providers as a middleman and advertise vacancies through them. This is in fact not the case as you are free to advertise apprenticeships on your own website, along with any other details including application processes. 

  1. 20% off the job training is inflexible and the apprentice has to spend 1 day a week at college 

Not true! The off the job training can be provided in what ever way suits you and the employer. This means the apprentice doesn’t need to be off site for their training, nor do they need to take 1 day off at college every week. Instead they could do online sessions that fit in with their shifts, if that is the preferred method. This means there is a great deal of flexibility for both employer and apprentice when it comes to the learning aspect. 


Taking the first steps towards hiring an apprentice is easy. Here at Skills for Growth SME Support we offer a free consultation. We have an Apprenticeship specialist, Suzanne McNicholas who can guide you through how an apprentice can help your business growth, showcase the financial gains for recruiting apprentices, introduce you to the funding available for all ages and help you with local authority connections. 

To find out more, talk to Suzanne and the team by calling 0161 237 4444, or contact 


The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years. 

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.  

The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.  

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit 

About the author

Suzanne McNicholas

As Apprenticeship Specialist for Skills for Growth - SME Support, Suzanne McNicholas works with a wide variety of businesses and individuals, helping them to better understand apprenticeships as a whole, and to find the right training and providers to suit every individual's needs.