Is an apprenticeship full-time education?
The short answer is yes, an apprenticeship is considered full-time education. Full-time education is defined as “more than 12 hours a week of supervised study or course-related work experience” excluding breaks and unsupervised testing time.
Apprenticeships can be a bit confusing. Yes they are proper jobs where you work and earn a wage, but they are also training and a place to gain a qualification.
According to the UK government, apprenticeships do count as full-time education. This means you can start an apprenticeship at 16 and still receive the benefits associated with being at school.
When can I start an apprenticeship?
It is important to know that you are not breaking the law if you leave school at 16 to begin an apprenticeship.
If you are 16-19 and studying for a degree or similar qualification as part of your apprenticeship, you are in full-time education. The difference is that apprenticeships combine classroom learning and practical on-the-job training. You are in both full-time education and full-time work and can expect to work around 30 hours per work as an apprentice. You may have one day a week of in-classroom learning and complete independent study towards your apprenticeship qualification.
What benefits are there?
There are a few benefits to being classed as in full time education. For example, if you are in a position where you would normally have to pay council tax, this is not required if you are in full time education.
If you are still living with your parents or someone who claims employment or housing benefit, the classification of your working status can also have an impact on the amount that can be claimed.
Finally, it also means that you are eligible for student discounts. For example, the NUS Apprentice Extra discount card.