Apprenticeships for Leavers of Care in BLMK

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is an opportunity to work and study at the same time. Most of your time is spent doing on-the-job training, and the rest is spent working towards a qualification. You’ll get paid a salary and be part of a team, just like a standard employee, but you’ll also get dedicated study time throughout the week.

The qualification you can achieve could vary from the equivalent to GCSEs, to a master’s degree depending on the level of Apprenticeship you take. There are different types or levels of Apprenticeships depending on where you are in the UK. Each level apprenticeship will have different entry requirements.

Taking an Apprenticeship in England

There are Apprenticeships available for thousands of different jobs in a range of industries. From something hands-on like engineering, nursing or construction, to a career in marketing, law or project management, to name a few.

With an Apprenticeship, most of your learning is through on-the-job training and you’ll work towards a qualification at the same time. You get paid a salary just like a normal employee, and you get dedicated study time throughout the week too.

To be considered for an Apprenticeship programme in England, you need to be:

  • aged 16 or over
  • living in England, the British Overseas Territories, or Crown Dependencies (Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
  • not in full-time education

Care-experienced students

If you’re a care experienced Apprentice, you could be entitled to extra support during your Apprenticeship. Someone is care experienced if they’re currently in care or have been in care at any time in their life.

Apprenticeships care leavers’ bursary

If you started your Apprenticeship before 1 August 2023, you could be eligible for a £1,000 bursary. If you started your Apprenticeship on or after 1 August 2023, you could be eligible for a £3,000 bursary.

To receive the care leavers’ bursary, you must be:

  • under 25 when you started your Apprenticeship
  • either an eligible child, a relevant child or a former relevant child

Eligible child

You’re an ‘eligible child’ if you:

  • are 16 or 17 years old
  • have been looked after by a UK local authority or health and social care trust for a period of at least 13 weeks since the age of 14
  • are still being looked after by a UK local authority or health and social care trust

Relevant child

You’re a ‘relevant child’ if you:

  • are 16 or 17 years old
  • left care within the UK after your 16th birthday
  • were an eligible child before leaving care

Former relevant child

You’re a ‘former relevant child’ if you’re under the age of 25 and were either an eligible or a relevant child before turning 18.

Children’s rights organisation Coram Voice has guidance that can help you understand your leaving care status. You could also talk to your social worker or local authority adviser for advice about your leaving care status.

How do I claim the care leavers’ bursary?

Your training provider will need to claim the bursary for you. If you’re eligible, you should talk to your training provider about claiming this. You won’t have to give them details about your care experience.

Your training provider should also ask if you’ll let them share your care leaver status with your employer. You don’t have to share your status, but your employer can receive additional funding to help support you if you do.

When will I receive the bursary?

If you’re eligible for the £1,000 bursary, you should get this around three months after starting your Apprenticeship. Your training provider receives your bursary after you’ve been an Apprentice for 60 days and passes this on to you within 30 days.

If you’re eligible for the £3,000 bursary, you’ll get this in instalments. Your training provider receives your bursary in three £1,000 instalments and passes these on to you. You’ll get:

  • £1,000 around three months after starting your Apprenticeship
  • £1,000 around six months after starting your Apprenticeship
  • £1,000 within 12 months of starting your Apprenticeship

You can only receive the care leavers’ bursary once. Claiming this bursary won’t disqualify you from getting other support. You can’t claim this if you’ve finished your Apprenticeship.

If you haven’t received a bursary payment from your training provider, you should talk to them about this.

What if I’m not eligible for the care leavers’ bursary?

You may still be entitled to support from a local authority, such as a grant to help you access education, work and training. Contact the local council where you were in care to find out what support is available to you. You can also talk to your training provider or employer about getting support.

Can I claim benefits as an Apprentice?

As an Apprentice, you’re entitled to benefits depending on your circumstances and how much you earn. Your benefits won’t be affected by any financial support you claim as an Apprentice either, as long as your total savings are less than £6,000. You can learn more in the care leaver covenant’s support for care leavers on apprenticeships or in employment factsheet.

You’re also entitled to minimum rates of pay as an Apprentice. You can read more in about apprentices.

Am I entitled to other support?

Local authorities have a legal duty to support care leavers until the age of 25. You may be able may be able to get support with your:

  • travel expenses
  • work clothes
  • documentation costs for your job, for example a passport

You can find out more in the care leaver covenant’s support from local authorities and central government factsheet.

Are you getting the support you need?

If you’re not getting the help you need or are eligible for, talk to your training provider or employer. They’re supposed to support apprentices and make sure you know how to raise any issues, concerns, or complaints you may have.

You can also get support from Care X, which is a network for care experienced apprentices. Care X members support each other academically, socially, and emotionally through their Apprenticeship. If you’re care experienced, you can sign up to Care X.

If you’re in care, or have experience of being in care, please visit Amazing Apprenticeships Care Leavers Guide gives info about Apprenticeships and what help is available if you’re considering an Apprenticeship in England, including financial assistance. Alternatively, for further information, please email:

Entry requirements for Apprenticeships in England

An Apprenticeship is a real job, so you’ll also need to meet any other criteria set out by the employer. Entry requirements are different depending on the employer and the role, and will vary per vacancy. Make sure you read the vacancy carefully and get in touch with the employer if you have any questions.

Remember, it’s not all about qualifications. Employers will be looking for willingness to learn, passion, and transferrable skills you could bring to the role.

How to become a paramedic: Tanoh’s story – BBC Bitesize