Can I Finish My Apprenticeship Early?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: October 10, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

If you are over 19 years of age then yes, you can finish your apprenticeship early.

Those aged under 19 need to stay on the course for a minimum of 1 year and 1 day.

You could technically finish all your modules early, but you would not receive your certification until 366 days have passed.

How Do I Finish My Apprenticeship Early?

To finish your apprenticeship early, you will have to be over 19 years old and have finished all of the course modules ahead of the deadline.

Your supervisor or tutor will have to sign off on all of the modules and the course leader will also have to sign off on your work before a certification can be issued.

How Do I End My Apprenticeship Early?

If you wish to end your apprenticeship early and leave without gaining a certificate, then you will have to give notice of your intention to leave.

If you are enrolled on an apprenticeship through an apprenticeship contract through an employer, you may have to pay back some of the training costs.

However, most apprentices in England and Wales are undertaking apprenticeships under apprenticeship agreements.

These agreements can be ended at any time by the apprentice, and you will not have to pay back any of the training costs as agreements are government-funded.

Can An Employer End an Apprenticeship Early?

An employer can terminate an apprenticeship early, but it depends on what kind of apprenticeship contract you have in place.

If you have an apprenticeship contract then it is easier for an employer to end the apprenticeship early, but only if they are able to demonstrate a valid reason why you cannot be trained (such as gross misconduct).

However, most apprenticeships operate under apprenticeship agreements, which means that your rights are the same as a full-time employee, and you can be dismissed under the same conditions as a full-time employee too.

Under an apprenticeship agreement, there is usually a clause that outlines acceptable reasons for the employer to end the agreement early.

The clause usually covers situations like redundancies or your conduct. 

What Happens After An Apprenticeship?

Depending on what kind of apprenticeship you have, you can either continue working for the organization that trained you, or you are free to apply for jobs and begin working elsewhere or can continue your training and enroll on a higher level apprenticeship.

Some apprenticeship contracts state that you must retain employment at the organization that trained you. If this is the case you will be made well aware of this condition before you accept the offer.

If you are under one of these contracts and you wish to leave the company after your apprenticeship has finished, you will still retain your certificates but you may have to pay back some of the training costs.

Are You Guaranteed a Job After An Apprenticeship?

Unless you complete your apprenticeship under an employment contract that states that you will have employment with the company after you have qualified, then no, completing an apprenticeship is no guarantee of a job.

But fear not! You stand exactly the same chances of gaining employment as anyone else with qualifications and are more likely to find employment than those who have no qualifications.

Below are the top companies in the UK that offer apprenticeships on an employment basis:

  • British Army
  • Royal Air Force
  • Greene King
  • BT
  • HMRC
  • Mazars LLP
  • Royal Navy
  • Optionis Group
  • Mitchells and Butlers
  • MTR Elizabeth Line

Can You Fail an Apprenticeship?

Yes, you can fail an apprenticeship, but the outright failure rate is not high.

That is because your apprenticeship provider and the awarding body usually take several steps to intervene before an overall failure mark is given.

Apprenticeships are split into modules and apprentices must pass a number of modules in order to gain the whole certificate.

Therefore if you fail a module then it does not necessarily mean you have failed the entire course, depending on how well you do, your other module marks can make up for that failure (unless if it is an essential or core module, such as health and safety, etc).

It all comes down to the final test. This must be passed and your final marks are compared to your other module marks and you will be given a pass or failure grade.

If you do fail, you will have a chance to retake the test, and extra support is often available.

What Do You Do If you Don’t Like Your Apprenticeship?

No one should feel forced to complete an apprenticeship, but starting something new often takes a little adjustment time.

It is possible for an apprentice to end their apprenticeship at any time, but before you throw in the towel you might want to consider the following options:

Set Realistic Expectations

If you only started your apprenticeship a week ago, give yourself a little time to adjust.

It is recommended that apprentices take at least 3 months to get used to the course, especially if it is in a skill area that is entirely new.

Accept Help

Accepting help is difficult for a lot of us. If you have been used to going it alone and are suddenly feeling out of your depth, do not shy away from reaching out for extra support.

That is what apprenticeships are for.

You would be hard-pressed to find an apprentice who hasn’t been in need of assistance once and a while.

Don’t Pressure Yourself

Apprenticeships can be a shock to the system, particularly for school leavers.

Apprenticeships are akin to full-time employment, which can be completely different from the school environment that you have become used to.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed, unable and incompetent at first. But trust us, it will get easier.

No one enters an apprenticeship knowing everyone and everything, it is not realistic and not expected of you – so don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you have considered all of these options and you still dislike your apprenticeship, then you are well within your rights to leave at any time.

All that will be expected from you is a little notice and you may need to cover some costs if you are under a contract

It is best to speak to your apprenticeship manager or course leader if you want to end your apprenticeship early.

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