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Monday, 15 October 2012


If you’ve got a good idea of where you want to go with your career and like the idea of earning while you learn, an Apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll get top quality training, developing skills and gaining qualifications on the job.

Apprenticeships - earn while you learn

To give yourself the best chance of success in your career, you’ll need to carry on developing your skills throughout your working life. Apprenticeships are paid jobs which give you the chance to learn - and gain nationally recognised qualifications - while getting a weekly wage.

Apprenticeships are available in more than 190 roles across a wide variety of industry sectors. These range from accountancy and business administration to construction, engineering, manufacturing - and many more.

Is an Apprenticeship right for you?

First you will need to decide which career suits you best. Next, you’ll have to decide whether you can commit to the demands of an Apprenticeship. Being an apprentice involves both work and study over the long term.

How long does an Apprenticeship last?

It varies - depending on the sector, the qualification you’re going for and the skills you already have. Generally, an Apprenticeship takes between one and four years to complete. For example, an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Engineering may take four years to complete.

Apprenticeships are available in almost 250 job roles across a wide variety of industry sectors. These range from accountancy and business administration to construction, engineering, manufacturing - and many more.

Who can apply

You need to be 16 or over to apply for an Apprenticeship.

Entry requirements will depend on the Apprenticeship you want to do. There are three levels available:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to five good GCSE passes)
  • Advanced Level Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A level passes)
  • Higher Apprenticeships (lead to qualifications at NVQ Level 4 or, in some cases, a Foundation Degree)

Depending on your grades in GCSE Maths and English, you may need to take a literacy and numeracy test.

Young people aged 16-24 who need to improve their skills, such as literacy or numeracy, to get an apprenticeship might be able to join the Access to Apprenticeship scheme. It’s run by the National Apprenticeship Service and helps young people deal with the disciplines and routines of the workplace. Ask your apprenticeship provider about it.

Money and holidays

The National Minimum Wage for apprentices was increased to £2.60 per hour on 1 October 2011. (This is the minimum pay rate and many employers pay more as you develop your skills). If you work in agriculture, the minimum wage may be different.

The wage applies to:

  • all apprentices aged under 19
  • apprentices aged 19 or over in the first year of their Apprenticeship

All other apprentices are eligible for the full National Minimum Wage rate appropriate to their age.

Like most other employees, employed apprentices get at least 20 days’ paid holiday per year. This is on top of bank holidays.


Apprenticeships (and Advanced Apprenticeships) can lead to:

  • a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5
  • a Key Skills qualification, like problem solving and using technology
  • (in most cases) a technical certificate, such as a BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award
  • other qualifications needed for particular occupations
  • for higher Apprenticeships knowledge-based qualification such as an HNC, HND or Foundation degree

Further study

The qualifications you gain as an apprentice can also help you to get into higher education.

Finding out more and making an application

You can find out more - or search and apply for Apprenticeship vacancies in England - on the national Appenticeships website.

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