The information you need to get started
An apprenticeship is made up of two different kinds of training:
1 – Work-based. You’re taught on the job, learning the specific skills you need while working for your employer and being paid.
2 – Qualifications-based. You might train at work, at college or online, completing assignments and assessed work to earn a nationally-recognised qualification and other technical certificates.
To complete an apprenticeship you’ll work at least 30 hours per week for between one and five years, depending on the apprenticeship level and the job you do. You can find out more about some of the industries you could work in and the apprenticeships available over the next few pages.
Apprenticeships are actually made up of a few different parts. They vary slightly according to your specific apprenticeship, but they can include:
a vocational qualification (or NVQ) at level two and above, depending on the apprenticeship
a knowledge-based qualification such as an HNC, HND or foundation degree
a technical certificate (such as a BTEC) relevant to your particular apprenticeship
training in maths, English and ICT (levels two and three only)
professional qualifications related to your job
The different levels available are:
Intermediate apprenticeship / Level two. Equivalent to five GCSEs, grades A* – C.
Advanced apprenticeship / Level three. Equivalent to two A Levels.
Higher and Degree apprenticeship / Level four and above. Equivalent to a foundation degree and above. Degree apprenticeships are a new development and give you the chance to earn a full bachelors degree within the structure of an apprenticeship – so you get paid at the same time.
What’s it worth?
An apprenticeship isn’t a second-best option compared to GCSEs, A Levels or degrees. It’s just a different way of learning that has a focus on the workplace. That’s why apprenticeships are described as ‘equivalent to’ a certain number of GCSEs, etc. It means that employers or colleges / universities should view them equally when you apply for a job or a course.
Not ready for an apprenticeship yet?
If you don’t quite have the qualifications or experience to begin an apprenticeship yet, a traineeship will help you prepare. They’re also great for giving you the skills you need to start work. Visit apprenticeships.gov.uk to get more info.
You can learn more about apprenticeships near you at careermap.co.uk or visit apprenticeships.gov.uk to find out what it’s like to be an apprentice.