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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. It guarantees top quality training, but lets you develop skills and gain 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 give you the chance to learn - and gain nationally recognised qualifications - while getting a weekly wage.

There are more than 180 Apprenticeships available across more than 80 industry sectors. They include accountancy, business administration, construction, engineering, manufacturing and many more.

Is an Apprenticeship right for you?

First you’ll need to decide which career suits you best. Next, you’ll have to judge whether you can commit to the demands of an Apprenticeship. This means juggling work and study long-term - a period of one to five years.

How long does an Apprenticeship last?

It varies. Most last between one and two years, though some take up to five. How long it takes will depend on the profession you choose, your level of ability and your employer’s needs.

Who can apply

There are no fixed entry requirements for most Apprenticeships. However, for some more technical Apprenticeships you may need GCSE grades A*-C in maths, English and science.

If your application is successful, you’ll be offered either an Apprenticeship or an Advanced Apprenticeship.

Which type you’re offered will depend on the skills, experience and qualifications you already have.

To qualify for either type of Apprenticeship, you need to be:

  • living in England, and
  • not in full-time education

Programme Led Apprenticeships

If you want to do an Apprenticeship but haven’t yet found an employer you can start a ‘Programme Led Apprenticeship’.

This means beginning your studies at college - and getting some work experience - before you move onto an Apprenticeship with an employer.

Money and holidays

If you’re doing an Apprenticeship with an employer

You’ll get a wage of at least £80 a week. In fact, most Apprentices are paid more than this.

If you’re doing a Programme Led Apprenticeship

If you’re aged between 16 and 18 and doing a Programme Led Apprenticeship, you may qualify for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).


You’ll get at least one and a half days’ paid holiday for every month of your training. This is on top of bank holidays.


Apprenticeships (and Advanced Apprenticeships) can lead to:

  • a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 2 or Level 3
  • Key Skills qualifications like problem solving and using technology 
  • (in most cases) a Technical Certificate such as BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award
  • other qualifications needed for particular occupations

Further study

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

If you’re under 16: Young Apprenticeships

If you’re aged 14 to 16, you could get a taste of real work while you learn through a Young Apprenticeship. See ‘Work experience in Years 10 and 11’ to find out more.

New for 2007: opportunities for adults aged 25 plus

From August 2007, there will be Apprenticeship opportunities for people aged 25 and over.

What’s available in your area will depend on the types of skills local businesses need from their workers. You’ll be able to apply whether you’re already in work or not.

Finding out more and making an application

To find out more about Apprenticeships, including how to apply, call the free national Apprenticeships helpline.

  • Apprenticeships helpline 08000 150 600

You can also use the link below to get an Apprenticeship advisor to call you back - calls to UK landlines and mobiles are free.

Alternatively, visit the Apprenticeships website. You can get further information and request an information pack.

Advice for young people

If you’re aged 13 to 19, your Connexions personal advisor can give you advice and more details about Apprenticeships.

You can also get free, confidential advice about careers and courses from Connexions Direct.

  • Connexions Direct: 08080 013 219

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