Everything you need to know about Apprenticeships (and more!)


What is an apprenticeship?

  • An apprenticeship is a full-time job which combines learning in the workplace with related training/ study
  • They generally involve 4 days a week in the workplace and 1 day a week at college or at a training centre. Note: In some instances, the study elements of some apprenticeships may be delivered in-house by the employer
  • They provide opportunities to gain English and maths skills and qualifications
  • You will earn at least the National Minimum Wage while you train
Portrait of a apprentice gardener with gardening scissors in his yard.

How old do you have to be to do an apprenticeship?

  • You must be 16 or over to do an apprenticeship
  • You can apply for apprenticeships while still at school, but you need to be 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays to start an apprenticeship

There are four different levels of apprenticeships available.

  • Intermediate (Level 2) – equivalent to five good GCSE passes and take 12 – 18 months to complete
  • Advanced (Level 3) – equivalent to two A-level passes and take 2 years to complete
  • Higher (Level 4 and above) – equivalent to the first stages of higher education, such as a foundation degree and can take 1–5 years to complete
  • Degree (Levels 6 & 7) – equivalent to a degree or Masters degree and can take 3 – 6 years to complete

Benefits of an apprenticeship may include:

  • Earn a salary while learning
  • Gain nationally recognised qualifications
  • Enhance your CV and general employability
  • Develop skills and gain first-hand experience of the world of work
  • Same rights as other employees, e.g., wage, holiday pay and working hours
Content confident young carpenter in glasses wearing blue overall and yellow ear protectors on neck crossing arms on chest and looking at camera in workshop

Things to consider about apprenticeships

  • You can apply for apprenticeships at any time of year
  • It is not possible to do an apprenticeship and a full-time college course at the same time
  • They are not an easy option; they require high levels of motivation and commitment along with a willingness to learn
  • Check the entry requirements for individual apprenticeship vacancies – they can and do vary
  • Check job descriptions to find out about required skills and what the job involves
  • Some providers offer apprenticeships in specific vocational areas (e.g., business & finance, childcare, motor vehicle etc) whilst others cover a broader range of vocational areas
  • Further Education colleges manage vacancies on behalf of employers and usually deliver the study components of an apprenticeship
  • If you do not find ‘live’ apprenticeship vacancies that appeal to you, you can still register your interest with the individual training providers They can then contact you if/when they have a vacancy that matches your interests
  • You can register and open an account with the National Apprenticeship Service – www.apprenticeships.gov.uk. You should receive updates re: opportunities that match your interests

Salaries and minimum wages for apprentices (2023)

The current minimum hourly rate for an apprentice is £5.28 but the government plans to increase this to £6.40 per hour from the 1st April 2024.

Portrait of positive volunteer in neon vest and gloves standing at scrapyard and smiling at camera

What can you do after you have completed your apprenticeship?

You could:

  • Receive an offer of a permanent job with your employer
  • Gain the qualifications needed to progress to university/higher education
  • Find a new job with a different employer
  • Do another apprenticeship at a higher level

Useful websites

Thinking of doing an apprenticeship? Get in touch with our careers team today!

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  • Michael picken

    I would like to know what apprenticeships you have on offer at the moment please.
    Do I find them online or am I better to call into positive steps ?
    Thank you

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