Qualifying income

It is a lot easier once you are in the UK and if both of you are earning.  Much better for the blood pressure.

You and your partner must have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year if:
You’re applying as a partner and you want to settle in the UK (get ‘indefinite leave to remain’) within 5 years

You must prove you have extra money if you have children who:
are not British or Irish citizens
do not have pre-settled status
are not permanently settled in the UK

If you need to prove extra money for your children, you’ll need to earn an extra:
£3,800 for your first child
£2,400 for each child you have after your first child
This is called the ‘minimum income requirement’.

You may be able to use your savings instead of income. How you prove you have the money depends on how you got the income.

What counts as income
You and your partner can use:
income from employment before tax and National Insurance (check your P60 or payslips) – you can only use your own income if you earn it in the UK
income you earn from self-employment or as a director of a limited company in the UK – check your Self Assessment tax return
cash savings above £16,000
money from a pension
non-work income, for example from property rentals or dividends

If you’re using income from self-employment or employment, you’ll need to prove you or your partner received that income for 6 months or more.


You’ve worked with the same employer earning £18,600 or more for 6 months or longer.

What proof you need to give

You’ll need to provide proof of your income with your application. If you or your partner are employed, you could include:
bank statements showing you or your partner’s income
6 months of payslips
a letter from an employer, dated and on headed paper
The employer’s letter should confirm:
you or your partner are employed there
the job title or position you or your partner hold
how long you or your partner have worked there
the type of contract (for example, permanent, fixed term)
what you or your partner earn before tax and National Insurance
how long you or your partner have been paid your current salary
the payslips are genuine

You’ll be told exactly what documents to provide when you apply online.

You need to show you and your family have enough money to adequately support and accommodate yourselves without relying on public funds. The caseworker considers your income and housing costs.


Each formal apprenticeship has an equivalent eductional level. Intermediate level 2 is the equivalent of GCSE. Advanced level 3 A Levels, Higher 4,5,6,and 7 are equivalent to a Foundation degree and the Degree 6 and 7 equates to a Bachelors or Masters degree. Some apprenticeships may also give you an additional qualification, such as a diploma.

Higher apprenticeships (levels 4-5) are regulated by Ofsted and the Office for Students. Degree apprenticeships (levels 6-7) are regulated by the Office for Students who follow guidance from QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) – the UK’s quality body for higher education.

Degree apprenticeships offer a win:win for everyone.  Universities expand their student population and revenue streams. Employers build a pipeline of skilled talent within their business. And students get the opportunity to gain degree-level qualifications without paying substantial university fees – as is the case with traditional undergraduate degrees. 

So how are degree apprenticeships funded? 

The quick answer is: usually by the employer – but there is loads of government funding available for degree apprenticeships. Smaller businesses might see up to 95% of costs covered.  

They may take the form of general IT or digital apprenticeships that allow you to focus on a particular area, such as:

  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • computer programming, including coding
  • computer science
  • information and communications technology (ICT)
  • networking
  • software development
  • software engineering.

The programme may then allow you to specialise even further. For example, computer science degree apprenticeships typically allow you to develop skills as a programmer while you decide whether to go into data analysis, tech consulting or forensics.

If you have a passion for gaming and would be interested in game design and development apprenticeships, read more about video game careers.

There are also apprenticeships for those considering cyber security training.

What does an IT apprenticeship involve?

An apprentice should be employed for at least 30 hours per week where they’ll complete a minimum of 12 months training. Most IT and digital apprenticeships are longer and can last for up to 24 months.

Apprentices undertake training both on and off the job, but all apprentices must be given a minimum 20% of off-the-job training to meet the requirements of the programme. This training must be structured, reviewed and most importantly help the apprentice achieve the knowledge, skills and behaviours included in the apprenticeship standard.

Off-the-job training must be ‘away’ from the workplace but does not have to be ‘outside’ the workplace – so it can include a range of methods such as role-play, online learning, job shadowing or industry visits.

At the end of the training period, the apprentice takes an end-point assessment managed by an independent assessor. The IT and digital end-point assessments include the collection of key pieces of work in a portfolio, an employer’s reference, a project and finally an interview with the assessor. At the end of the process the apprentice is graded.

The BCS Digital IT Apprenticeship Standards, set out by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, provide more information and cover key IT and digital apprenticeship roles at Levels 3 and 4, including:

  • artificial intelligence (AI) data specialist
  • cyber security technologist
  • data analyst
  • data technician
  • digital marketer
  • infrastructure technician
  • IT technical salesperson
  • network engineer
  • software developer
  • software tester.

If you complete an IT/digital apprenticeship through BCS, you can apply for recognition of attaining the professional RITTech standard and get added to their register. Registration lasts for three years, and you’ll also have one free year as a BCS Associate member.

How much will I be paid?

All apprentices are paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which currently stands at £5.28 per hour for apprentices under 19, and those aged over 19 who are in their first year (as of April 2023).

If you’re over 19 and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship you must be paid the minimum wage rate for your age.

To check apprentice rates and the NMW, visit GOV.UK – Become an apprentice.

As an apprentice you’ll be paid for your normal working hours, as well as for any training that is part of your scheme. You’re entitled to 20 days’ paid holiday per year, plus bank holidays.

Salaries are determined by individual employers. For instance, you could earn £21,220 plus benefits as part of Barclays’ four-year Cyber and Security Degree Apprenticeship. Accenture pay apprentices on their two-year Masters-level Digital and Technology Solutions Apprenticeship programme a starting salary of between £25,700 and £29,480, depending on your level of experience.

For detailed information about how apprenticeships work, pay rates, entry requirements and the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship, see what is an apprenticeship?

How do I apply?

Most applications are made online by completing an application form, although some methods may vary so check with the organisation first.

Apply for apprenticeships as you would for a job. Thoroughly research the company that you’re interested in and ensure your CV is up to date. You’ll need to tailor your application to fit the role by including evidence of relevant experience and examples of when you’ve demonstrated the required competencies.

For IT and digital roles, you could provide examples of any programming you’ve done or systems you’ve built – either in your spare time or as part of a university project.

Some organisations may ask you to sit situational judgement, numerical and psychometric tests as part of their initial recruitment process. You may then need to attend an assessment centre or undergo telephone or video interviews before reaching the final interview stage.

Read more about how to apply for an apprenticeship.

Find out more

Termite mushrooms

Every year stalls pop up on the 3086 from Kanchanaburi selling termite mushrooms which the local villagers collect from the mountain forests.

Termite mushroom sellers Nong Prue Kanchanaburi

The het khone termite mushroom is regarded by Thais as the king of them all. And at the height of the mushroom madness cars from Bangkok and even further afield can be seen queuing up to buy this expensive and much sought after delicacy.

Termite mushroom madness Nong Prue Kanchanaburi

They appear when the weather starts to change at the end of the rains. After the termites have swarmed from their nests to establish new colonies. Giving the mushroom spores in the organic matter the ants have gathered, the chance to germinate and sprout.

In the central region het khone are found in the Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi provinces as well as the mountainous part of Suphan Buri. But the sweetest, tastiest mushroom are to be found in Nong Prue in Kanchanaburi.

This small farming town has a well established reputation as the mushroom capital of Thailand. And the stalls pop up every year at the intersection with the road into the town, transforming it into a bustling market as the customers arrive in search of the freshest and the best mushrooms on offer.

These are special days for the local people who wait patently for the first mushrooms to appear. And just before the rains cease completely there will be extreme hot and oppressive weather which they refer to rawn het or “mushroom heat”.

There is another variety of het khone grows in Isan. They are called het pluak by the locals and can be found at the beginning of the rainy season, from late May through early June. And the villagers gather them for eating rather than to sell. But when the price goes up they find their way to the markets in Bangkok.

Golf in Kanchanaburi

There are a couple of world class golf courses in Kanchanaburi. Located in Tha-Muang the Evergreen Hills Golf Club and Resort offers a standard 18-hole, 72-par golf course. The resort also offers a fully equipped meeting room, clubhouse, restaurant, driving field, tennis court, swimming pool, camp fire, karaoke and snooker room.


Thailand is home to over 1,100 species of butterflies. They can be seen anywhere: in the National Parks, in the city gardens, in beach-side resorts and all over the countryside. … the best butterfly watching National Parks are Khao Yai and Khaeng Krachan

Siam Butterfly Farm


We are not farmers by any stretch of the imagination. Nor are we strictly organic. But I am constantly reminded of the practical necessity of growing organic produce as we browse the local market where all the vegetables look crisp and perfect.