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What is an Apprenticeship?

Modern apprenticeships are school leaver schemes which have been designed for 16-18 year olds. They are different to traditional apprenticeships, which were associated with trade industries like plumbing and carpentry. The modern apprenticeship covers a wide-range of industries, including accounting, banking, law and IT. Apprenticeships combine full-time work in an industry, with studying for nationally certified qualifications. Apprentices benefit from on-the-job training, and the academic training which is needed to gain the relevant qualifications. These schemes offer a pathway for school leavers towards higher education, or a means of fast-tracking a career. All apprentices are also paid a salary for the duration of their scheme.

Levels of Apprenticeships

Intermediate (Level 2) Apprenticeships

The intermediate apprenticeship is the first level of the modern apprenticeship. These schemes are aimed at 16 year olds, and can last anywhere between 12-18 months.

Entry Requirements

For level two apprenticeships, employers look for applicants with two or more GCSEs (A*-C). There are some employers who accept applicants without the sufficient grades, if they have relevant work experience, or have shown a passion for the scheme. Furthermore, traineeships have been developed as an alternative route into level two apprenticeships. Traineeships are designed for students who have left school without the skills or qualifications they need to apply for an apprenticeship. These schemes focus on improving a student’s numeracy and literacy skills, and can last up to six months.

What Qualifications Will I Receive?

Intermediate apprentices work towards…

  • A Level 2 Competence Qualification
  • A knowledge based qualification (such as a National Vocational Qualification or a BTEC)

(These qualifications equate to 5 GCSE passes, and will make you eligible for an advanced apprenticeship!)

Advanced (Level 3) Apprenticeships

Advanced apprenticeships, also called level 3 apprenticeships, are the next level of apprenticeship available to school and college leavers. Advanced level apprenticeships last between 12-18 months, in which the apprentice receives on-the-job training from an employer, and works for widely-respected qualifications on the side.

Entry Requirements

Employers look for applicants with 5 GCSEs (A*-C), or an intermediate apprenticeship in a relevant field.

What Qualifications Will I Receive?

On top of 12-18 months of cracking work experience, and a salary, advanced apprentices receive…

  • A Level 3 Competence Qualification;
  • and a knowledge based qualification

These qualifications are equivalent to 2 A levels, and will qualify you for a higher apprenticeship!

Higher (Level 4/5) Apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeships, also referred to as level 4 or level 5 apprenticeships, are designed for school leavers aged 18 or above. These programmes focus on imparting management-based skills, as well as the practical skills which are required to work in a particular field. These types of apprenticeships can last anywhere between three to four years. The academic modules are usually spent in a further or higher education institution; the rest of a higher apprentice’s time is spent working for a company.

Entry Requirements

All applicants for higher apprenticeships must 18 years old or older. Employers look for candidates with two or more A levels, or an advanced level apprenticeship. What Qualifications Will I Receive? If you complete a higher apprenticeship, you will be awarded with…

  • Level 4 Competence Qualification
  • Knowledge based certificate – such as a higher national diploma, a foundation degree or undergraduate degree.