From education to employment

School leavers urged to choose an apprenticeship as their “genius decision”

With school leavers across Wales now considering the first important step in their career journey, a federation of 70 work-based learning providers is advising them that choosing an apprenticeship is a “genius decision”.

The National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) says more than a quarter of Welsh businesses rate apprenticeships higher than any other qualification. Employers recruit apprentices to create a motivated workforce and a future pipeline of talent.

Apprenticeships offer the perfect combination of earning and learning, allowing apprentices to continue their education and gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst working alongside experienced staff.

They are open to everyone over the age of 16, of all abilities, and support is tailored for each apprentice to work confidently to reap the rewards from a successful career.

Over a working lifetime, those with job-specific skills will earn £100,000 more than those who are unskilled. Apprentices at the start of their career must be paid at least the apprentice minimum wage, though many companies pay more than this.

Jobs are available in 23 sectors, ranging from a builder, hairdresser, chef and dental assistant to an engineer, cyber security analyst, bank teller and gas main fitter.  Available at four levels, there is an apprenticeship to suit every learner.

A Foundation Apprenticeship is equivalent to five good GCSE passes, an. Apprenticeship is equivalent to two A-level passes, a Higher Apprenticeship is equivalent to a HNC/HND or Foundation Degree level and above and a Degree Apprenticeship is equivalent to a full bachelor’s degree.

Degree Apprenticeships are available in the Information and Communication Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing sectors. Apprentices can learn bilingually or through the medium of Welsh.

John Nash, chairman of the NTfW, said: “An apprenticeship is a great way to continue your education. Working with your employer and training provider, you will gain skills, knowledge and qualifications to provide you with a life-long career.

“What’s more you’ll earn a wage from day one. I would urge all school leavers to consider an apprenticeship as their next step in life.”

One person who made a “genius decision” is Codi Wiltshire who has recently completed her Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Business Administration with training provider Educ8. It is her seventh qualification since she joined builders’ merchants Jewson in Builth Wells in 2015.

Codi’s apprenticeship journey has included Foundation Apprenticeships in Business and Team Leading, Apprenticeships in Business Administration and Customer Service and an ILM Level 3.

She was promoted to assistant manager last year and hopes to progress to ILM Level 4 when she achieves her ambition of becoming a manager.

“I don’t think people realise the outcome of doing an apprenticeship,” said Codi. “If you go to college or university, you are not guaranteed a job at the end of it and you’ve got no work experience.

“In my opinion, an apprenticeship is the best thing I have ever done. As an apprentice you are paid whilst learning on the job and I am always encouraging people to do an apprenticeship.

“I thought I was only at Jewson for a year to do my first qualification and now, seven years later, I am ready to move on to become a manager.

“I’ve continued studying because I just love gaining qualifications. It feels great to update my CV and I get a buzz out of it.”

School leavers interested in an opportunity to earn while they learn, can find out how to sign up at or call 0800 028 4844.

For those that are not ready for an apprenticeship, has top tips on learning new skills, writing a CV and advice about work

Employers in Wales can find out more about the benefits of recruiting an apprentice by visiting or calling 03000 603000.

Picture caption:

Codi Wiltshire – “an apprenticeship is the best thing I have ever done”.

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