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If you’re struggling to choose between further studying and going into straight work an apprenticeship may be for you. Apprenticeships are perfect for people who still want to learn, but want to get some work experience under their belt. Work full time and study part time to earn a qualification from GCSE level to Masters university degree (without any student debt!). If you think this may be for you can find out all you need to know about apprenticeships below.

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 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 different Levels of Apprenticeships?

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.
  • 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 in order 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 or the equivalent apprenticeship qualification/vocational qualifications.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

  • Your studies are paid for by your company/the government so you leave with zero student debt!
  • You’re employed full time and earning a salary while you study
  • Apprenticeships allow you to get a head start in your profession over students leaving university without the same level of work experience you have.
  • Apprentices also develop ‘soft skills’ from working, which employers love such as communication skills, the ability work to deadlines and under pressure, teamwork, and problem-solving.
  • Get mentoring and support from your employer.
  • Years of networking experience and can make contacts that’ll help you later on in your career.
  • Apprentices are students so get all the student discount perks!
  • Most apprentice programmes will have a guaranteed job at the end of it, with lots of opportunities for progression within the company.

    If you're ready to find the right apprenticeship for you use Apprenticeship Finder's search tool