What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships allow you to combine work and study by mixing in job training with classroom learning. You will be employed to do a real job while studying for a recognised qualification, usually for one day a week either at a college or a training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you'll hopefully have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level.

Apprenticeship Levels

Apprenticeships have four different levels:

  • Intermediate - equivalent to five good GCSE passes
  • Advanced - equivalent to two A-level passes
  • Higher - equivalent to the first stages of higher education, such as a foundation degree
  • Degree - comparable to a Bachelors or Master’s degree

There are various types of apprenticeships most job sectors offer apprenticeship opportunities in the UK, with a wide range of roles on offer. These include:

  • Business apprenticeships in roles such as accounting, marketing, people/HR administration, recruitment and sales
  • Construction apprenticeships in roles such as building, plumbing and quantity surveying
  • Engineering apprenticeships in roles such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering
  • Healthcare apprenticeships in roles such as dental, nursing and youth work, as well as NHS apprenticeships
  • IT apprenticeships in roles such as information security and software development
  • Law apprenticeships offered at paralegal, legal executive or solicitor level
  • Media apprenticeships in roles such as journalism, live events, costume design and media makeup

The length of your apprenticeship will depend on a number of aspects, such as the level of the apprenticeship, your chosen sector, employer requirements and your individual ability. The basic framework is below:

  • Intermediate apprenticeships tend to last between 12 and 18 months
  • Advanced apprenticeships are usually completed over two years
  • Higher and degree apprenticeships take three-to-six years to complete depending on the sector you have chosen

Pay Rates

If you're either aged under 19 and an apprentice, or 19 or over and still in your first year as an apprentice, you'll be entitled to the apprenticeship wage of £3.90. Apprentices aged 19 or over and have  completed their first year will be able to claim the National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £6.15 an hour aged 18-20) or £7.70 (21-24).

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