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Myth #1: Apprenticeships are only for people aged over 18

BUSTED: Apprenticeships are rapidly becoming the preferred way for 16 to 18-year-olds to get a foothold on the career ladder. Employers are being actively encouraged by the government to take on apprentices aged between 16 and 18 and they are often eligible to claim incentives for employing young people in this age bracket. There are a few employment sectors where there are limitations on the employment of under 18s for health and safety reasons.  

Myth: #2: I have to find a job before I can become an apprentice 

BUSTED: You don’t have to be employed before you can become an apprentice. There are basically two ways of becoming an apprentice:  

1. You are employed already, and your employer has agreed to let you enrol as an apprentice, in which case you just need to seek advice from us about which course would be right for you and your employer. 

2. You can apply for one of the many apprenticeship vacancies advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website, or here on our college website. If you apply for one of our vacancies, we will invite you to come in for some simple tests and a chat to confirm that you are right for the role and we will put you forward to the employer for an interview. If successful, the employer gives you the job and we enrol you onto the apprenticeship training programme. If you are unsuccessful at the interview on this occasion but you are still interested in an apprenticeship, you can apply for other vacancies, and we will retain your details to put forward for other suitable opportunities as they arise.  

Myth #3: Apprentices are ‘just cheap labour’

BUSTED: Many businesses want to recruit and train young people to help their business grow and succeed. Many young people fresh out of school or college have yet to gain the skills and experience that would make them employable at positions other than at a low level. An apprenticeship is the ideal way for employers to bring new talent into their business, and for the apprentice to gain work experience and a formal qualification at the same time - earning while they are learning. At Havering Colleges New City College we have committed to only working with employers who pay a minimum wage of £5 per hour to apprentices who are in their first year of study. 

Myth #4: If I choose to do an apprenticeship I won't be able to go to university or get a degree 

BUSTED: Apprenticeships are formal, recognised qualifications and can be used as an alternative route into university or into degree level study. Please seek further advice and guidance from college staff (Admissions or Business Development) as there are variations on what is available according to the subject area taken. You can now achieve a degree as an apprentice - apprenticeships are available up to Level 7 which is equivalent to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.  

Myth #5: Apprenticeships are for people who can't get into university 

BUSTED: Many professions such as surveying, accounting, design, IT, architecture, and so on, can be accessed through an apprenticeship route, and many employers are preferring to take on new staff through this route because of the value added to the business by an apprentice from day one. Higher and degree level apprenticeships are being developed across many occupational areas. It is worth noting that we get numerous applications for apprenticeships from people who already have degrees and who are finding it difficult to enter the job market because they do not have the required job skills and experience.