What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of the apprenticeship, you’ll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.

It can take between one and six years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is, and your previous experience. It is funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.

What can an apprenticeship lead to?

Many employers consider apprenticeships to be a long term investment in an employee. Often an apprenticeship can lead to a permanent job with the same employer, or give better opportunities when applying elsewhere for a permanent job. Sometimes apprenticeships can be extended, allowing the young person to continue working a studying for a higher level apprenticeship.

At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent education level:









A Level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

What do I need to apply?

To become an apprentice you must:

  • Be 16 or over
  • Not already be in full time education
  • Live in England

You can start an apprenticeship at any level.  Depending on the level some apprenticehsips may:

  • Require previous qualifications such as English or Maths GCSE
  • Give extra training in the English or Maths skills needed so you're at the right level.

What can I earn?

What you earn will depend on the industry, location and type of apprenticeship you choose. If you're aged 16 to 18 or in the first year of your apprenticeship you're entitled to the apprentice rate. If you're 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship you'll earn the National Minimum Wage. This is the minimum you will earn - many employers pay a lot more and offer their apprentices a competitive salary.

Apprenticeships are funded from contributions made by the government and your employer. This means you will not have any student loans or tuition fees. 
You just need to cover the cost of your day to day expenses, such as lunch and travel.

If you’re 16 to 24 and a care leaver, you’ll receive a £1,000 bursary payment to support the first year of your apprenticeship.

More Information

Students and parents who are interested in apprenticeships can email for details of the Apprenticeships Information Google Classroom, where details of apprenticeship opportunities and general information is posted regularly.

Please see the Useful Websites page for more information about apprenticeships at different levels and in different industries.