Apprenticeship Factsheet

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. As an employee, you can earn as you learn and you gain practical skills from the workplace.

Apprentices learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining equalisations and earning money all at the same time.

Employers all over the country recognise and value Apprenticeships as they show that you've been trained in the skills they need.

Apprenticeships typically take between one and four years to complete, depending on the type of framework.

There is no set time to complete an Apprenticeship as they vary widely in content and size. The length of time taken will depend on the ability of the individual apprentice and the employer's requirements.

Earn while you learn

Apprentices do real jobs for real employers. If you are entering work for the first time, you will start earning from day one of your Apprenticeship, all employed apprentices must receive the National minimum wage for an apprentice which is age related.

Apprenticeships are increasingly recognised as the gold standard for work-based training. Already, more than 130,000 employers offer Apprenticeships.

Levels of Apprenticeships
There are three levels of Apprenticeship available for those aged 16 and over:
1. Apprenticeships (equivalent to five good GCSE passes)
  • Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Key Skills and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.
  • These provide the skills you need for your chosen career and allow entry to an Advanced Apprenticeship.
    2. Advanced Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A-level passes)
  • Advanced apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 3, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge based certificate such as a BTEC.
  • To start this programme, you should ideally have five GCSEs (grade C or above) or have completed an Apprenticeship.
    3. Higher Apprenticeships
  • Higher Apprenticeships work towards work-based learning qualifications such as NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation degree.


    Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well.
    There are targets and checks to make sure that your employer is supporting you and you are making progress.

    As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation.
    The amount of time you spend varies according to your Apprenticeship. It could be anything from one day every other fortnight to two days every week.

    You also spend time off the job with a training provider often a local college or a work-based training provider studying for vocational equalisations. So all the things you study will be useful in your job and help you succeed in your future career.

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