School leavers are facing big decisions about which next step to take. Many will go on to university, others straight into work, and now a growing number of young people will choose the best of both worlds - an apprenticeship programme.

However, it’s a common myth that apprenticeship programmes are just for school leavers, when in fact they are open to all whether a person is 18 or 58. Figures for the first two quarters of the 2021/22 academic year show that under 19’s only accounted for 27.6% of apprenticeship starts.

Over the past five years apprenticeships have been transformed into a high-quality skills programme for learners and employers. To ensure that apprenticeships continue to create better outcomes for learners of all ages, it’s important to bust the myths that can accompany them and ensure that they remain accessible. The government is doing its part by bringing in a number of improvements and simplifications to apprenticeships that will come into force from August.

Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart, said; “We have transformed apprenticeships so they offer a high-quality route into professions as diverse as engineering, healthcare, and digital for young people starting their careers, or adults hoping to retrain and upskill. We now want to focus on making the system as simple and user-friendly as possible, reducing bureaucratic burdens on employers and providers and giving apprentices the best possible experience.”

These improvements include:

  • Making it simpler for individuals to accelerate their apprenticeship. With funding available for providers to do a robust upfront assessment, apprentices will be able to cut out training they do not require and complete their apprenticeship more quickly.
  • Introducing a consistent baseline for off-the-job training. This specifies the minimum number of hours that a full-time apprentice must spend in training.
  • Changing English and maths requirements for Level 2 apprentices. People who start a Level 2 apprenticeship without Level 1 English and maths will be able to focus on securing those qualifications, instead of having to automatically take the Level 2 qualifications.
  • Providing a more efficient payment service for providers. Data requirements are being reduced, with help available to support providers to understand what they’re being paid for each apprenticeship and why.


Ensuring older people are aware of apprenticeship opportunities is one important area to focus on, but there are other myths to bust too.

1.    Apprentices are poorly paid
For young people starting out, or mature learners who want to reskill and change careers, apprenticeship programmes are more cost-effective than heading to university with the tuition fees that go with it. In short, a Level 6 apprenticeship can provide a route to a degree, without the debt, where learners get paid to train. Plus, a study from the London School of Economics found that apprentices can earn up to £7,000 more in their twenties than graduates. 

2.    An apprenticeship won't lead to a full-time job.
At a time when many employers are facing dire skills shortages in areas such as digital and data literacy, apprenticeship programmes provide an effective way to upskill and reskill staff and move them into roles where they are desperately needed. This creates better outcomes for employers and greater job security for learners. 

3.    Apprenticeships are just for ‘manual’ jobs
Traditionally apprenticeships have been seen as a route to careers in construction or mechanics. However, at Capita we deliver apprenticeship programmes for some of the UK’s biggest employers in the public sector, financial services, energy and utilities, and emergency services. So, whether a learner wants to start a career in procurement or financial services, or become a project manager, we have a range of programmes to suit. 

Find out more about how our apprenticeship programmes work for employers and learners

Written by

Lisa Khosla

Lisa Khosla

Head of Business Development for apprenticeships at Capita Education & Learning

Lisa joined Capita in 2021 to drive growth within the Apprenticeship Business Development Team. With many years of experience in the sector, Lisa’s vision and mission, is to make Capita, the Apprenticeship Provider of choice, for all businesses in the UK.

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