Apprenticeships for Learners

Apprenticeships are real jobs for real people.

Are you itching to get out into the world of work and earn a living? With an apprenticeship, you can build valuable skills and start your career. An apprenticeship gives you practical on the job experience, essential learning tools and all important qualifications that will last you a lifetime. Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study.

As an apprentice you will:

  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • gain experience of the working environment
  • earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • study towards a related qualification
Girl who has taken on an apprenticeship

Earn While You Learn

People don’t usually get paid to learn something new! But as an apprentice, you’ll learn a new skill and get paid while you learn. While you’re on an apprenticeship, your employer pays you a salary and supports you in your training. You must be paid for your normal working hours (minimum 30 per week) and for the training that’s part of your apprenticeship.

As an apprentice you will receive the same benefits as other employees in the company – this may include pension contributions and subsidised canteen and leisure facilities. You may also be entitled to additional money for essential books, clothing or equipment, or to help you with a disability. You’ll get paid holidays too.

A Quick Start

An apprenticeship is a great way to enjoy a successful start in work. As well as learning the skills and gaining the qualifications you want, you’ll also gain confidence and the chance to learn while earning. Every apprenticeship is different, but each one is varied, stimulating and challenging.

Great Opportunities

With a nationally recognised qualification it will open up opportunities for your future.

With an Apprenticeship under your belt, employers will know that you’ve got the skills and training needed to do the job and they’ll be more likely to hire you. Taking an Apprenticeship doesn’t restrict you to one specific job role. During your training you’ll pick up a number of skills that will make you more attractive to other employers, from basic skills like teamwork and health and safety awareness, to more specialised capabilities that will help you progress through the industry. Employers respect apprenticeships and they think that apprentices are  more employable than those with other qualifications. They recognise that apprentices can do a practical job as well as understanding why.

A Skill You Can Use

Once you have completed an apprenticeship you will have a qualification that will be recognised for its relevant practical experience and training. You will have credentials that will be valued anywhere you go within the appropriate industry.

Who Can Apply?

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you’ll need to be:

  • 16 or over
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

Likewise, if you’re already working, you may be looking to try something new altogether or to improve your skills and knowledge to help you progress up the career ladder. You may also want to improve your prospects of finding a job in your chosen industry.

Maybe you have you been promoted into a new role that requires you to take on new responsibilities and exercise new skills and abilities or are you thinking about changing career. Perhaps you are moving from a manual role that is difficult to continue due to ill health, into a new job that requires totally different skills and abilities. Wherever you are in your career, an apprenticeship could make a big difference.

There’s no upper age limit for becoming an apprentice.

Whether you’re looking for your first role or are already in employment, apprenticeships give you the chance to develop and progress. They enable you to enter or stay in the world of work, earn a wage and learn new skills. An apprenticeship will offer you amazing opportunities to succeed in a job you enjoy.

A young apprentice

What Is Involved?

Most apprenticeships include the following elements:

  • A competencies qualification, which you’ll need to achieve to qualify for your apprenticeship certificate. This qualification shows that you are competent in performing the skill, trade or occupation your apprenticeship requires.
  • A technical knowledgequalification to show you have the necessary technical skills, knowledge and understanding of theoretical concepts as well as knowledge and understanding of the relevant industry and its market.
  • Either Key Skills (e.g. team-working, problem-solving, communication and using new technology) or Functional Skills to help you achieve a good standard of literacy and numeracy.


There are four levels of apprenticeship:

Intermediate-level apprenticeship (Level 2)

  • Working towards work-based qualifications such as a Level 2, competence qualification, as well as Functional skills and in most cases a relevant knowledge-based qualification. The qualifications you receive are equivalent to five GCSEs at grades A–C.

Higher Apprenticeship (Levels 4 to 5)

  • You’ll work towards work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 competence qualification and perhaps a learning-based qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree.

Advanced-level apprenticeship (Level 3)

  • You can expect to gain a work-based qualification such as a Level 3 competence qualification, as well as Functional skills and (in most cases) a relevant knowledge-based qualification. These qualifications are equivalent to two A-levels.

Degree Apprenticeship (Levels 6 and 7)

  • You can even achieve a degree-level qualification through an apprenticeship. Degree Apprenticeships are helping to build the high-level technical skills needed for the jobs of the future.

The Government is committed to expanding the number, range and quality of apprenticeships that offer training to degree level.

An apprenticeship is a journey – from being a novice in a role to becoming an expert.

Apprenticeships should be expansive, and focus on developing the whole person for a job, a career (and other careers), and for life. Going beyond that, an apprenticeship will instil a sense of curiosity, lifelong learning, discovery and improvement in all apprentices.

Advice and Guidance

For more information, advice & guidance please see the official Government website.

The website above can also be used to find apprenticeships as well as linking to hotlines for more advice & guidance.

NAS Helpline

Call the NAS helpline, 08000 150 600 for support using the online vacancy matching service. An advisor will also be able to give you general advice on applications and how to put yourself forward in the best light. The call is free and could lead to your future career.

Employer Contact

If you’ve found an apprenticeship within a company that particularly interests you then you can approach the employer directly. Before you contact them, it’s a good idea to check the company’s website as answers to the most common questions might be there. Remember that you’ll be contacting the company as a potential employee so act professionally – first impressions are important.

Already Working?

If you’ve got a job, why not ask your employer if they’d consider taking you on as an apprentice? Point them to the employers’ section of the government website for more information.