Apprenticeships are one of the main post-16 or post-18 options that you can choose to do, although you may also choose to do them at a later stage. They allow you to train in a specific career, through a mixture of on-the-job training and classroom-based learning.
As you are technically both working and being educated throughout your apprenticeship, it can seem strange to put them into either category of full time education or full time work and even more difficult to figure out if apprenticeships actually fit into one of these categories.
In short, an apprenticeship can be considered as full time education, although it will depend on the scenario. For example, in terms of children in England needing to be in education until they’re 18, an apprenticeship would count as full time education. However, in other situations, such as for NHS services, such as getting prescriptions as well as schemes that are in place to support children and their caregivers, apprentices are often not counted and so would be unable to access these discounts or support services.
Continue reading for more about why apprenticeships may or may not be considered full time education. This article will talk you through some of the scenarios, where one of the eligibility requirements for discounts, exemption or aid is being in full time education, and how apprenticeships relate to these.
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Does an apprenticeship count as full time education?
During an apprenticeship, apprentices will spend 20% of this being taught in a more traditional way, such as in lessons at college or something similar. In this time, apprentices will often be working towards a qualification related to their apprenticeship, such as an NVQ.
For the other 80% of their apprenticeship, apprentices will spend it in a working environment. This is where they will receive on-the-job training and can put this and what they have learnt in the classroom-based setting into practice. To learn more about this, check out this Think Student article.
The exact definition of full time education can be a bit confusing as it can change drastically depending on the course itself. In some cases, depending on the level of the qualification, full time education can be as little as 5 hours per week but in other cases it may be much more at over 20 hours per week. To learn more about this, check out this Think Student article.
Due to this, despite only 20% of an apprenticeship being in traditional education, it isn’t immediately ruled out from being classed as full time education.
In England, you need to be in some form of education until you turn 18, this can include if you are taking an apprenticeship. Due to this, an apprenticeship does technically count as full time education as it allows you to meet the school leaving age laws. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the government.
Despite this, an apprenticeship doesn’t always count as full time education. To find out how whether or not apprenticeships are viewed as full time education, keep reading as this article will tell you more about how apprenticeships are viewed in different scenarios.
Does an apprenticeship count as full time education for prescriptions?
In the UK, if you are between 16 years old and 18 years old, you can get a free NHS prescription if you are in full time education. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the NHS Business Services Authority.
In this case and for other NHS services, such as dental treatment or an eye test, an apprenticeship won’t be considered as a form of full time education. This is because it is a form of work-based learning, which the NHS considers separate from full time education. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the NHS Business Services Authority.
Despite this, apprentices may be able to get some aid towards prescriptions and other NHS services. This will be dependent on their income as an apprentice.
As part of the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS), people who make below a certain amount will be able to gain access to certain NHS services, such as prescriptions, dental care and travel costs for healthcare for free or at a discounted amount. This will be dependent on how much these costs are for each person and how this relates to their income.
Also, to be eligible, you will need to have below a certain amount in your savings. In England, this will be below £16,000 per year or below £23,250 if you live in a care home.
If all of this is applicable to an apprentice, then they may still be able to get some financial aid for prescriptions, although this won’t be due to being a full time student. To learn more about all of this, check out this guide by the NHS.
Does an apprenticeship count as full time education for child maintenance?
In the UK, child maintenance is a financial arrangement made between separated parents in order to cover their child’s living costs if one of the parents don’t live with the child. To learn more about what child maintenance is, check out this guide by the government.
You need to have a child maintenance agreement if your child is under the age of 16 or under the age of 20 and in full time education. To learn more about who needs a child maintenance agreement, check out this governmental guide.
If your child is between the ages of 16 and 20, whether an apprenticeship is considered full time education is crucial for child maintenance.
For child maintenance, an apprenticeship is not considered full time education. This is because with an apprenticeship, the child has a full time job and due to this, they are technically not in full time education.
This means that if your child is above the age of 16 and taking an apprenticeship, you will no longer have to pay child maintenance. To learn more about this, check out this article by Complete Apprenticeships Guide.
Does an apprenticeship count as full time education for child benefit?
Child benefit is generally available to help support the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a child under the age of 16 or similarly to with child maintenance if the child is under the age of 20 but in full time education or an approved training scheme. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the government.
For this full time education to be approved, it must be at least 12 hours per week and must not be paid for by an employer or considered “advanced”, such as a form of higher education, such as an HNC. Due to this, an apprenticeship is not considered a form of full time education for child benefit as the education you receive as part of your apprenticeship is paid for by the employer.
Also, most apprenticeships will not be considered a type of approved apprenticeship. This is because for a training scheme to be approved for child benefit, it must be unpaid, which most apprenticeships are not.
This means that you will be unable to receive child benefit on behalf of children over the age of 16 who undertake any kind of paid apprenticeship.
However, Foundation Apprenticeships, which are available in some parts of the UK, are unpaid and so are an approved form of training. To learn more about Foundation Apprenticeships, check out this guide by Skills Development Scotland. For more information about what is considered approved full time education or training for child benefit, check out this governmental guide.
Does an apprenticeship count as full time education for council tax?
For council tax, if you are a full time student living in a household with all full time students, then you won’t need to pay Council Tax. In this case, to be considered a full time student, your course will need to last at least a year and be at least 21 hours per week.
Alternatively, if you are under 20 and your course is at A-Level or below, it will only need to last 3 months and be 12 hours per week. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the government.
When it comes to Council Tax, apprentices aren’t considered to be in full time education. Despite this, they may be still able to get some discounts or exemption on their Council Tax.
If an apprentice is under the age of 18 and lives alone or without anyone over the age of 18, then they will be exempt from paying Council Tax.
As an apprentice, regardless of age, you may also be able to get a discount if you earn less than a certain amount per week, this amount will depend on your local council. From my research, it appears to range from about £190 per week to about £250 per week but your council may have figures in between these amounts or either lower or higher than this range.
Also, to be eligible for this discount, as a part of your apprenticeship, you will generally need to be studying towards a recognised qualification. To learn more about this, check out this guide by Aberdeenshire County Council and this guide by City of Westminster. You can also use this page on the government website in order to find your council’s website, which will have more specific information.
If you would like to learn more about the taxes that apprentices need to pay, check out this Think Student article.
Does an apprenticeship count as full time education for car insurance?
Student care insurance is very simply a type of car insurance that better takes into account the age and circumstances of the student. For example, as students may leave their car at home and study elsewhere, this will be taken into account.
Due to the nature of things like car insurance, whether or not doing an apprenticeship will mean that you count as being in full time education and thus as a student will fully depend on their company. Due to this, you will simply need to make sure that you fully explain your situation to the insurance company to avoid there being any mix-ups and to ensure that everything is done correctly.
To learn more about this, check out this guide by Adrian Flux.
*Please note that all the facts and figures included in this article are true at time of writing (May 2023) and may have changed by the time you read this.