Apprenticeships are an alternative education route, they combine on-the-job training with classroom study. If you study an apprenticeship, you will be employed as a full-time member of staff and will receive a salary and benefits. You will also have a training provider which will be the college, university or specialist apprenticeship provider that delivers the taught element of your apprenticeship.

You will spend 80% of your time in your workplace and 20% of your time with your training provider. The most popular way an apprenticeship is delivered is four days a week in the work place and one day with your training provider. However this does depend on what apprenticeship you do. Other examples include block release (spending six weeks in the work place followed by two weeks with your provider) or full-time in the work place (20% of your time will be allocated to apprenticeship work). 

You will have an apprenticeship assessor who will visit you regularly in your workplace. They will assess any work you have completed and provide you with feedback and guidance. They will also meet with your manager to update them on your progress and gain insight into your performance at work.

An apprenticeship is made up of three or four different components, you will need to complete all components to achieve your apprenticeship qualification. They are:

  • An NVQ, which focuses on the practical skills required for the job and is learnt in the workplace and with your training provider. It is achieved through training and assessment e.g. you will be trained to complete a certain practical task then your assessor or teacher will assess you to ensure it is done correctly. There will be a number of practical elements you will need to complete to achieve your NVQ.
  • A technical qualification, is the theory side of the qualification. It gives you the knowledge and understanding to support your NVQ and is usually taught during your time with your training provider. It is assessed mainly through course work, however some apprenticeships will have exams.
  • Functional skills*, these include English, Maths and ICT, they are a compulsory part of the apprenticeship. If you have not achieved GCSE grades at grade 4-9 in these subjects they will be delivered to you as part of the apprenticeship.
  • Professional qualification, some apprenticeships also include a professional qualification which is a desired qualification for a certain industry e.g. an accounting apprentice would also achieve a AAT certificate.

* Higher and Degree Apprenticeships exclude functional skills, as you will already of achieved this as part of the entry requirements 

Levels of apprenticeships

Click on the links in the table to find out more information about each level and the subjects available.

Apprenticeship Level Equivalent qualification Entry requirements* Length
Intermediate 2 5 GCSEs, Level 2 BTEC Two GCSEs with grades 9 to 4/A* to C, including 12 -18 months
Advanced 3 3 A levels, L3 BTEC, T Level Five GCSEs with grades 9 to 4/A* to C, including English and maths. 

Level 2 BTEC or apprenticeship, including functional skills

1 – 2 years
Higher 4,5,6,7 You will achieve:

HNC (level 4), HND (level 5), foundation degree (levels 4 & 5) or a professional qualification (levels 4,5,6,7).

Same as advanced apprenticeship and level 3 qualifications including A levels, BTEC or apprenticeship 1–4 years
Degree 6, 7 You will achieve:

Bachelor’s degree (levels 6) 

Master’s degree (level 7)

Same as advanced apprenticeship and level 3 qualifications including A levels, BTEC or apprenticeship 3–6 years

*entry requirements can vary depending on employer or apprenticeship


Finding an apprenticeship 

There isn’t one single place to go to find all apprenticeship opportunities, you will need to do a bit of research!


Where How
National Apprenticeship Service The site is used mainly to advertise vacancies. Once you apply you will either be applying direct to the employer or apprenticeship provider. Register by completing some basic information about yourself then search for vacancies by subject and/or geographical area. If you find a vacancy you are interested in, click the apply button. Then complete an application form or submit your CV.
UCAS Hub The UCAS Hub advertises apprenticeships in a similar way to the National Apprenticeship Service. You will need to register and verify your account. You can use it to search and apply for vacancies or find out more information about the subjects available.
Employers Individual employers often advertise and offer apprenticeships via their own websites. Employers handle the recruitment themselves. You will either have to complete an application form or submit your CV and covering letter.
Apprenticeship training provider Apprenticeship training providers, such as colleges and universities, advertise vacancies on their websites on behalf of employers. They will shortlist applicants, conduct pre-interviews over the phone and put forward the best candidates for interview. 


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