Reimagining the apprenticeship scheme

Myth-bust your assumptions and discover the facts about apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have come a long way since the UK’s first national apprenticeship system was introduced in 1563. The world also looks very different from 1994, when Modern Apprenticeships were launched — and the year the internet was born.

Since then, apprenticeships in the UK have seen much reform and, in turn, training today calls for digital skills that can keep up with the pace of change. Pioneering apprenticeship programmes are looking to the future to train people for tomorrow’s world of business—and the NCH at Northeastern apprenticeship programme is helping to lead the charge.

Reconsider what you think you know about apprenticeships and learn how they can benefit your business.

Myth: Apprenticeships are one-size-fits-all
Fact: Our on-the-job training is bespoke to each employer

NCH at Northeastern is a completely employer-centric apprenticeship programme made to fit with participant’s needs and schedules, and provides training designed to fill the skills gap of their department.

The NCH at Northeastern apprenticeship programme avoids the siloing of education and work experience. Instead, our apprentices learn the skills required in the employer-chosen specialism to support their success in vocations such as software engineering and cybersecurity. 20 percent of the apprentices’ work week is dedicated to learning that is directly applicable to the work they are doing.

We are stringent in our parameters of what an excellent apprenticeship programme entails, with the outcome being people having finely honed specialist skills rather than breadth without depth.

Myth: Apprenticeships are just for school leavers
Fact: About half of the UK’s apprentices are already part of the workforce

Data shows that less than a quarter of Britain’s apprentices are aged under 19.[1] Instead, apprenticeship programmes are increasingly attracting older and more experienced workers looking to reskill and upskill.

Over the last two years, two thirds of higher-level apprenticeships have been started by workers aged 25 and over. What’s more, almost half of those on UK apprenticeship schemes have been with their employer for at least six months before they started their training.[2]

The NCH at Northeastern apprenticeship programmes are designed to offer a flexible, bespoke, experiential learning opportunity for those looking to retrain or restart careers, as well as those entering the world of work for the first time.

Myth: Apprenticeships are a costly investment
Fact: Apprenticeships often have lower onboarding costs than brand new hires

Recruitment of a brand new hire comes with a price tag employers sometimes forget. Beyond the recruiter costs and salary, there are bonuses, national insurance, pension, equipment, investment in training and HR costs like holiday to consider.

Choosing to upskill an existing employee can be a more cost-effective route. What’s more, a number of research studies consider UK apprenticeships to deliver a large net benefit for not just the employer, but for public budgets and society at large.[3]

For NCH at Northeastern apprenticeship programmes, levy-paying employers can utilise their apprenticeship levy to cover up to 100% of the apprenticeship costs. Apprenticeship programmes provide the opportunity to look for talent within the ranks and provide the training needed to best support your department’s needs.

Myth: Apprenticeships are for tradespeople
Fact: Apprenticeships can provide professionals with the skills to ascend the career ladder

Apprenticeships have long been associated with learning traditional trades, and is a route that has been chosen by many a plumber, joiner and mechanic. Yet, apprenticeships are also pathways for progression into almost any professional industry, whether it be a IT Consultant for a medium-sized enterprise, for example, or a data analyst in the Fortune 500.

What’s more, for those who have their sights set on rising up the ranks, apprenticeships are not solely for those starting their careers, there are real opportunities for progression including getting a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s through the NCH at Northeastern apprenticeship programme.

With this in mind, employers can improve staff retention by placing professionals on an apprenticeship scheme as part of succession planning and leadership development.


The truth is apprenticeships offer considerable opportunities and valuable benefits for both employer and employee.

For information on NCH at Northeastern’s apprenticeship programmes, contact us at apprenticeships@nchlondon.ac.uk

[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government
[2] https://www.edsk.org/publications/runaway-training/
[3] http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1045&langId=en