If you are interested in starting work and are keen to learn some skills and gain qualifications, then an apprenticeship could be the right option for you. On an apprenticeship, you study for qualifications while working and you will learn the skills you need for the job are doing.

To start an apprenticeship must be 16 or over, eligible to work in the UK, and not in full-time education. There are different levels of apprenticeships for young people with average GCSE grades through to those with A levels or an Advanced Diploma.

Apprenticeship benefits

There are lots of benefits to doing an apprenticeship. You can learn while you earn and in a way that is best suited to you. As an apprentice you will:

  • earn a salary
  • get paid holidays
  • be paid while attending college
  • receive training and gain qualifications
  • potentially be able to progress to degree level

How does it work?

Apprenticeship training can typically take between one and five years to complete (the minimum being 12 months.), but the length of an apprenticeship depends on its level, the industry and level of skill already possessed.

Training takes place in the workplace,but you will also spend some time at a local college or another learning provider. Apprentices are taken on directly by employers and work alongside other employees.

These are real jobs like any other non-apprenticeship job so they have to apply to an employer and compete against other applicants. Entry requirements vary depending on the level of the apprenticeship and the nature of the job.

Apprenticeships are amazing –

Explore a wide range of inspirational and informative resources, everything you need to know about apprenticeships whether you’re a parent, teacher or thinking of becoming an apprentice yourself.



Apprenticeship Levels

Knowing what level apprenticeships you can or should be applying for can be confusing. The level of apprenticeship you can apply for depends on what qualifications you have, and there are plenty of options for progression once you have completed your chosen apprenticeship. Below is a breakdown of each level, and a little bit about what apprenticeships entail.


All Apprenticeships

All apprenticeships are focused around work based learning, with formal and theoretical learning taking place through college or a private training company. They can take between 1-4 years to complete. The majority of your time will be spent working with the employer, and some at college or with a training provider. To start an apprenticeship, you must be age 15 or older and no longer in full time education. You must also not already have a qualification at level 4 or above.

On completing an apprenticeship, you will gain:

  • A technical certificate that demonstrates achievement of skills and knowledge related to the wider industry.
  • An NVQ or competency qualification showing they can perform well in their profession.
  • A range of transferable skills including English, maths, ICT, teamwork and problem solving.
  • Employer rights and responsibilities (ERR) demonstrating knowledge of employment related legislation and health and safety.

Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2)

Level 2 apprenticeships are equivalent to 5 GCSE passes. To be accepted for an intermediate apprenticeship you need to be enthusiastic, keen to learn and have a reasonable standard of education.

After completing an intermediate apprenticeship, your options include:

  • Moving into full time employment in the company you completed your apprenticeship with.
  • Applying for jobs related to your intermediate apprenticeship qualification.
  • Or progressing onto an advanced apprenticeship with a new or existing employer.

Level 2 (Intermediate Apprenticeships) can include:

  •        GCSEs grades A*–C
  •        BTEC First Diplomas and Certificates
  •        OCR Nationals
  •        Key Skills Level 2
  •        NVQs at Level 2


Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3)

Advanced apprenticeships are equivalent to 2 A-level passes. To be accepted you should have 5 GCSEs or more, or have completed an intermediate (level 2) apprenticeship.

After completing an advanced apprenticeship your options include:

  • Moving into full time work with your existing employer.
  • Applying for jobs related to your level 3 qualification.
  • Gaining a degree level qualification.
  • Or progressing onto a higher apprenticeship with a new or existing employer.

Level 3 (Advanced Apprenticeships) can include:

  •        A Levels
  •        Advanced Extension Awards
  •        GCE in applied subjects
  •        International Baccalaureate
  •        Key Skills Level 3
  •        NVQs at Level 3
  •        BTEC Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  •        BTEC Nationals
  •        OCR Nationals

Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4/5)

Level 4 apprenticeships are equivalent to a foundation degree. To be accepted you should have a level 3 qualification, such as A-levels, or have completed an advanced apprenticeship.

After completing a higher apprenticeship your options include:

  • Studying for a degree at university.
  • Progressing onto a degree level apprenticeship (only for qualifications such as aerospace engineering and product design and development).
  • Moving into full time work with your existing employer.
  • Finding a new job related to your qualification.
  • Working freelance or self employed in your chosen career path.

Level 4+ (Higher Apprenticeships) can include:

  •        NVQs at Level 4
  •        BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  •        Foundation Degrees
  •        Honours Degrees and more

What is the National Minimum Wage for an apprentice?

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations depend on your age, but there is also a special rate for apprentices who are under the age of 19 or are in the first year of their apprenticeship. The table below summarises the position.

Age From 1 April 2018 (current)

Rate per hour

From 1 April 2017

Rate per hour

25 and over (National Living  Wage) £7.83 £7.50
21 and over £7.38 £7.05
18 to 20 £5.90 £5.60
Under 18 £4.20 £4.05

(all apprentices under age 19 AND any apprentice, regardless of age, in first year of  apprenticeship)

£3.70 £3.50

From 1 April 2016 the National Living Wage must be paid to employees aged 25 and older except for those who are in the first year of their apprenticeship. The NMW rates will apply to workers aged below 25 or in their first year of an apprenticeship.

You can find information on the NMW of earlier years on the GOV.UK website.


Search for an Opportunity – Right Now!

If you would like to begin your search for an Apprenticeship opportunity right now, remember you can start an apprenticeship at any time of year, you don’t have to wait until the start of a new academic year. On this site you can create your own account and apply online instantly (you may need to upload your CV), alternatively you can get text alerts when new opportunities come available which match your search criteria.


Having trouble finding an apprenticeship opportunity that is right for you?

You could contact local training providers, who train apprentices in various sectors.


Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships

Possibly an alternative to University?  

The Complete Guide to Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships – can answer all the questions you might have.












Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeship Opportunities can be hard to find!  Begin your search here ( LINK below) a listing of the higher and degree vacancies available in the UK with a variety of apprenticeship employers. If you are interested in a job role, click the link to apply or submit an expression of interest.  Remember also, that contacting prospective employers directly can be the best way to find a position.

Wheels 2 Work

At the age of 16 it may be difficult to get to your place of work, help is at hand!

Wheels 2 Work is a moped loan scheme, helping people get to work, apprenticeships, or training, where no other form of transport is available.

Eligible candidates receive a moped after they have completed the compulsory basic training (CBT).


Careers Partnership