An apprenticeship allows you to gain industry experience and a qualification, while earning a salary just like any other employee. Your employer and the government will pay any tuition fees for your apprenticeship, including degree apprenticeships. This means you can graduate debt-free.
An apprenticeship is like a real job, so you aren’t eligible for student loans, and you’ll need to cover your day-to-day expenses like living costs, rent and travel in most cases.
Salaries and minimum wages for apprentices
As an apprentice, you must receive at least the apprenticeship minimum wage for your first year. After that you must receive at least the minimum wage for your age group:
|Age||Current hourly rate|
|Apprentice minimum wage||£4.81|
|18 – 20||£6.83|
|21 – 22||£9.18|
|23 and over||£9.50|
If you don’t know your hourly rate, use this calculator to make sure you’re getting the right wage.
To really get a feel for what you might earn, take a look at some real apprentice vacancies.
Do apprentices pay tax?
As an apprentice, you'll have to pay tax as long as you're earning enough. Any tax you pay is deducted directly from your earnings before they reach your bank account.
- If you earn over £12,570 per year, you’ll have to pay Income Tax.
- If you earn over £190 a week, you’ll also have to pay National Insurance contributions.
Extra benefits and discounts for apprentices
As an apprentice, you're entitled to:
- a salary, holiday and sick pay like any other employee
- a pension scheme, if you earn enough
You can also get other things like:
- some employers may offer other benefits, such as travel loans, a phone or car, leisure facilities, or a relocation allowance if you have to move
- an NUS Apprentice Extra Card for a small annual cost, which gives you access to lots of discounts
- discounts on public transport, like the Apprentice Oyster photo card in London, where you can get 30% off certain journeys. It's worth checking locally whether there are any apprentice travel schemes available
If the cost of living is making your next steps harder, read our support for dealing with living costs page.
What if I have additional needs?
Being disabled shouldn’t limit your job or study choice, and apprenticeships can be a great route for you to get into your chosen career.
Here’s a really useful guide to disability support for apprentices to help you find out more.
If you're an apprentice in England in care, or you have experience of being in care, you may be eligible for an apprenticeships care leavers' bursary of £1,000. Find out more about apprenticeships care leavers' bursary.