What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a proper job with training that pays you a salary. You will learn the job by doing it and you will be given time out during the week to work on gaining a nationally recognised qualification.​​​

The details

  • You must live in England, not be in full-time education and be at least 16 years old to start an apprenticeship. There is no upper age limit
  • You will be employed for at least 30 hours per week and for at least one year
  • You’ll do most of your training in the workplace, with support from your training provider
  • The qualification you complete as part of your apprenticeship links to the job you are doing e.g. retail apprenticeship = retail qualification
  • Apprenticeships are offered at several levels:
    • Intermediate Apprenticeship (NVQ Level 2) the qualification you will study is equivalent to 5 GCSEs
    • Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) is equivalent to 2 A-Levels
    • Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4 and 5) is equivalent to a foundation degree
    • Degree Apprenticeships (Levels 6 and 7) is a full degree
  • If you’re not quite ready for a full apprenticeship (for example, you might not be sure if you could complete a Level 2 qualification) then you could complete a Traineeship to help you prepare
  • Apprenticeship vacancies are advertised throughout the year and can be started at any time
  • The minimum wage for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour (from May 2018), but many businesses pay much more than this

Types of Apprenticeship

There are loads of different types of Apprenticeships available. You have to think about what they want and then decide which of your skills, interests and experience is most relevant to mention.

Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care

Gardener; Landscaper; Nursery Worker; Garden Designer; Parks Officer; Animal Groomer; Dog Handler; Zoo Keeper; Animal Management Technician.

Business Administration and Law

Accounting: banking; business administration; customer services; Human resources; Marketing; recruitment services; Sales and telesales.

Construction, Planning and the Built Environment

Construction Building: civil engineering; electrical and electronic servicing; Plumbing and heating and surveying.

Education and Training

Learning and development; learning support; professional development for work based learning; supporting teaching and learning in physical education and supporting teaching and learning school.

Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies

Bus and coach engineering; aviation; combined manufacturing; engineering in construction; environmental technologies; food and drink; gas industry; furniture, furnishing and interiors; nuclear and power engineering and rail services.

Health, Public Services and Care

Children and young peoples workforce; emergency fire services operations; allied health professional support; clinical health care; dental nursing; healthcare support; HM Forces; housing; paralegal police station representative; security services and youth work.

Information Technology

Digital marketing; software development; IT engineer; IT Support.

Leisure, Travel and Tourism

Gymnastic coach; personal trainer; gym assistant; Assistant play worker and lifeguard apprenticeship.

Retail and Commercial Enterprise

Bar and waiting staff; chef; hair professional; kitchen assistant; receptionist; front of house; sales administration and business support.

Arts, Media and Publishing

IT support; creative and Digital media; customer services: broadcast production; costume and wardrobe; journalism; live events and promotion and photo imaging.

You can learn more about apprenticeship pay and conditions on the GOV.UK - Become an apprentice page.

Who organises your training?

  • the Business – they employ you
  • the Training Provider – Training providers are paid by the Government to help employers recruit apprentices. Training providers are expected to:
    • create a job description and a person specification for each apprenticeship, and advertise and promote apprenticeship vacancies.
    • shortlist applicants to identify suitable candidates for each vacancy.
    • create the apprenticeship contract and enrol apprentices onto the correct training course.
    • support and assess apprentices throughout their apprenticeships and arrange the qualification certificate at the end of the contract

Ready for more? Find out about getting experience before starting an apprenticeship and how and where to apply.