Many of us at Damar are parents and we have helped thousands of young people take the first step on their careers. We want to help you and your child make the best choice possible - apprenticeship, college, sixth form or university. And with the cost of university approaching £50,000 (including living expenses), making the right choice is more important than ever.
You can always visit us, ring us on 0161 480 8171 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question about apprenticeships.
To help get you started, here are some questions we are often asked.
Nearly all apprenticeship vacancies are advertised on the Government’s Find an Apprenticeship website. You can use the site to see all current vacancies near you and find out about the apprenticeship providers that deliver the training. Even if your child is not looking to start straight away, you can research what’s available and draw up a shortlist of training providers.
Speak to the careers adviser at school or college as they will know about the local training providers. Bear in mind though that many providers (including Damar) operate nationally.
Once you have a shortlist of training providers, have a look on their websites.
The training provider delivers the training and assessment that form part of the apprenticeship. At Damar, we also support candidates through the recruitment process and, once the apprenticeship is underway, they will also have support from our student welfare team and specialist trainers if required.
Most training providers specialise in particular areas and it usually pays to choose a specialist. At Damar, we specialise in business and professional skills, particularly law, accountancy, administration and management. You should also look at their latest Ofsted report (ours is here).
Always speak to and, ideally, meet the provider as well as going on their website.
Apprenticeships are jobs with training and some candidates simply apply for vacancies that they are interested in. A problem with this is that many vacancies are for an almost immediate start – not much good if your child is leaving school or college in several months' time. Also, it isn’t always possible to tell if a vacancy is the right one from an online advertisement. That’s why we recommend that your son or daughter registers with Damar in his or her final year of school or college. This gives us time to meet you and discuss the options in detail. It might be that the right apprenticeship is in an area that your child had not previously considered, or that an apprenticeship isn’t the best option.
A good apprenticeship always has three things:
- A supportive employer. If your child is thinking about an apprenticeship and is aged 16-18 then the employer should always be willing to meet you as well. Ask the training provider about the employer. How many apprentices has the employer recruited? Have the apprentices stayed with the company? What opportunities are there for progression or further study?
- A committed training provider. Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions. What are the provider’s success rates for the course? Can you meet some of the trainers?
- A dedicated apprentice. An apprenticeship isn’t easy. It means juggling work, study and other commitments and there are bound to be challenges. But, with support from family, colleagues and the training provider, after only few months, many apprentices have a level of responsibility that they couldn’t have dreamed of at school.
Most Damar apprentices earn above the minimum apprentice wage of £3.30ph. But it’s not all about the money - also consider the progression opportunities and the experience that your son or daughter will receive.
Usually nothing. The Government pays all the fees if your child starts aged under 19 and will make a contribution if your child is 19 or over when they start, with the employer paying the balance. If your child decides to drop out part way through then your child’s apprenticeship contract with the employer may provide for reimbursement of some of the fees they have paid.
In your child has qualifications higher than A level (such as a foundation degree), they are generally ineligible for apprenticeship funding.
An apprenticeship is completely different from school or college. At Damar, it’s a bit like university, with most of the learning being done outside the tutorial visits. It’s a different type of learning though. There is reading to do and assignments or written work but much of what your child will learn will be on the job from the experienced colleagues they are working with. All our apprentices have a nominated supervisor at work who is there to help them. They also have a Damar trainer who makes regular tutorial visits and is available by phone or email between visits. The trainer will make sure that the learning is being embedded and will assess whether the apprentice is applying their knowledge effectively at work.
Most apprenticeships contain a nationally recognised certificate or diploma in the relevant subject area issued by a respected awarding body such as City & Guilds and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. If your child doesn’t already have good GCSEs in maths, English and IT, they will also achieve functional skills qualifications in these areas. Your child will also receive a certificate to prove they have completed their full apprenticeship framework. We celebrate all of our apprentices' achievements on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.
All apprenticeships last for at least a year. Some of our advanced and higher level apprenticeships take longer - up to two and a half years.
The vast majority of our apprentices stay with their employers once they have completed their apprenticeship. As qualified apprentices, they take on more responsibility and many receive a pay rise. Some apprentices go on to continue their studies with a higher level apprenticeship, professional qualifications or part-time study at university.