Apprenticeships Explained

Apprenticeships Explained

Posted in Applying & Advice on Dec 16, 2020 by

University Finder

What Are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are work based training for people who want to gain qualifications and work in a specific industry. Apprentices work full time while studying towards a vocational qualification, ranging from GCSE level to Masters degree level. An apprenticeship is a real job, with real responsibility. From day one you’ll be given projects and tasks, where your input and opinions are valued.

What Areas Can You Do An Apprenticeship In?

Apprenticeships are available in over 170 industries, from boatbuilding to advertising, from construction to animal care, from social care to catering, from engineering to law, whatever you’re interested in you’re sure to find an apprenticeship that suits you.

  • agriculture, horticulture and animal care
  • arts, media and publishing
  • business, administration and law
  • constructing, planning and the built environment
  • education and training
  • engineering and manufacturing technologies
  • health, public services and care
  • information and communication technology
  • leisure travel and tourism
  • retail and commercial enterprise
  • science and mathematics

What Are The Entry Requirements?

In order to be an apprentice you must be aged 16 or over, and are not in full time education. Academic requirements vary depending on the level of apprenticeship and the company you’re applying to. Most require a GCSE in English and Maths, with additional qualifications such as a specific number of GCSEs, NVQs, or A-Levels, depending on the apprenticeship level.

How Long Are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships vary in length depending on their level and employer, as a rough guide:

  • Level 2 Apprenticeships take between 15 to 18 months to complete.
  • Level 3 Apprenticeships take around 2 years to complete.
  • Level 4 & 5 Apprenticeships take between 3 and 5 years to complete.
  • Level 6 & 7 Apprenticeships take between 3 and 6 years to complete.

Do Apprentices Get Paid?

Yes! For apprentices aged under 19, or aged 19 and in your first year as an apprentice, you’re entitled to the apprentice minimum wage of £4.15 an hour. Apprentices aged 19 or over who’ve completed their first year of their apprenticeship are eligible for the National Minimum Wage which varies depending on age.

Lots of apprenticeship providers pay more than the minimum wage Increasingly, degree apprentices are earning as much as a graduate starting salary at companies such as Jaguar Land Rover and EY.

Find out more about apprentice pay and and conditions here.

What Levels of Apprenticeship Are There?

There are four different types of apprenticeship: Intermediate, Advanced, Higher, and Degree. Each type of apprenticeship has different entry requirements and are available in over 170 different industries. Over 90% of apprentices go onto work or further training after their apprenticeship.

The Four Levels of Apprenticeships:

Intermediate Apprenticeships(Level 2) are the equivalent of 5 good GCSE passes A*-C (9 - 4). Apprentices gain a Level 2 National Vocational Qualification and a knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC diploma. In 2016/17 over 261,000 people started a Level 2 Apprenticeship in England.

Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3) are the equivalent of 2 good A-Level passes. Apprentices will work towards a work-based learning qualification such as a Level 3 NVQ, and a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.

Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4 & 5) are the equivalent to a HNC, a foundation degree, or the first year of an undergraduate degree. Applicants must have a Level 3 qualification or equivalent A-Levels to do these apprenticeships

Degree Level Apprenticeships (Level 6 & 7) qualify you with a Bachelors degree (Level 6 Apprenticeship) or a Masters degree (Level 7 Apprenticeship). These apprenticeships take at least 3 years. Entry requirements for these levels are quite high, applicants must have A-Levels/the equivalent apprenticeship qualification/vocational qualifications.

For more information:

The GOV UK Website has more information about the technicalities and legalities of apprenticeships.

Rate My Apprenticeship has a library of reviewed companies and apprenticeships written by current and former apprentices.