What are apprenticeships?

  • Apprenticeships offer structured training with an employer and lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
  • They provide a route into hundreds of different careers, including many in organisations providing NHS healthcare.
  • Apprenticeships can take anything from one to four years to complete and are open to anyone from the age of 16.
  • Apart from learning in the workplace, you may go on day or block release to a training centre or college.
  • You work towards a competence qualification (based on what you can do in the workplace) and a knowledge qualification, or a qualification combining both elements.
  • You will develop your skills, including English and Maths.
  • If you are in your first year of an apprenticeship, you should receive at least the National Minimum Wage for apprentices (£3.30 an hour). Once you have completed your first year, if you are over the age of 19 you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage rate for your age, however many employers pay well over the minimum.

Apprenticeships are available at three levels:

  • Intermediate level – leading to qualifications at level 2 (equivalent to GCSE’s)
  • Advanced level – leading to qualifications at level 3 (at least A Level standard)
  • Higher level – leading to qualifications at level 4 or higher (such as a Foundation Degree)

Entry requirements

There are no set entry qualifications, but employers will want to make sure that you can cope with the work involved.  Requirements depend on the employer and the type and level of apprenticeship.  For instance, for direct entry to an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you may need four or five GCSE’s at grades A-C or equivalent, sometimes including particular subjects (please note a new grading scheme will be introduced for GCSE’s in future).  Sometimes you will be assessed prior to starting your apprenticeship.  To start a higher apprenticeship you are likely to need a level 3 qualification or sufficient experience.