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Apprenticeships. They’re an excellent gateway to launching your career. But are they for everyone? The short answer: no. The long answer: it’s complicated.

Basically, if you wish to undertake an apprenticeship, especially one in engineering, you’ve got to be prepared to work hard and be dedicated to reaching your goals.

This is easier said than done, however, as there are some factors you should be aware of before deciding to undertake one.

Just to be clear, this isn’t designed to discourage anyone looking to do an apprenticeship, only to caution to make absolutely sure it’s the right decision for you.

Below are some of the reasons why apprenticeships can be difficult to do.

Low Pay

The primary factor that many new apprentices struggle to get to grips with is the comparatively low pay in comparison to other jobs.

All apprenticeships start on an apprentice wage, which tends to be lower than the national minimum wage, especially if you’re under 18.

As of April 2019, the current national apprentice wage is £3.20 which, many of us would agree, isn’t a lot to live off.

Having said that, most apprentices tend to be aged sixteen to nineteen, many of whom are still living at home, so needing a liveable wage isn’t exactly a necessity.

However, it’s still a pain and can be a bit discouraging when the amount of work you put in is not reflected in your earnings.

On the other hand, once you are a year into your apprenticeship, the law requires your employer to pay you the national minimum wage.

Regardless of your age, this is a guaranteed pay rise and can be really satisfying.

Independent Working

Apprenticeships involve a lot of hard work and most of it is meant to be done on your time. In short, you are left to your own devices for the most part and you have to make the effort to arrange the time to do your coursework.

If you have no experience in doing this, this can be difficult to adjust to. While your mentor and employer can help guide you, this isn’t like school.

Completing your apprenticeship is a very hands-on experience and it’s recommended that you enjoy being highly motivated to do your own work before undertaking one.

Sometimes, it can feel a bit draining, especially with the above, but it all pays off in the end.

Different Levels

As of 2020, there are several different levels of apprenticeships you can undertake. In other words, if you choose the wrong one, or even choose one in a profession you’re not all that interested in, you’re going to struggle.

Make sure you do your homework and research everything about the apprenticeship and the company it’s with before applying.

It may be that you simply want a refresher course or to actually earn a degree. There are a number of options for this you can undertake.

If you’re interested in taking on an apprenticeship in engineering, visit our page at GET to get an idea of what you can apply for!