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Apprenticeship guidance 

Information, advice and guidance for young people interested in apprenticeships.

An apprenticeship is a job with training which means you get paid to learn as well as work. Apprenticeships allow you to get practical work experience, to build your CV and pay you to study a related course alongside it with a college or training provider. To pass your apprenticeship, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve developed certain knowledge, skills and behaviours.  

Did you know… 93% of apprentices remain employed once they’ve finished their apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships have sometimes been viewed as a ‘back-up’ option next to going to university. In fact, most Further Education colleges still push all young people on a Level 3 course to apply for university, whether it’s the best option for them or not. The apprenticeship landscape has changed incredibly over the last 10 years, with more and more employers seeing the value of offering vocational pathways, to share the wisdom of their experienced employees with the new generation of workers.   

  • Depending on the sector (type of career) and level of the apprenticeship, they can be available for people aged 16+. There is no upper age limit to qualify for most apprenticeships, although some are targeted at specific age ranges. 
  • You must have a right to work in the UK, as apprenticeships are paid opportunities. 
  • Most apprenticeships require you to have already passed Level 2 English and Maths or to study and pass Level 2 English and Maths during your apprenticeship. 
  • The graphic below shows how each apprenticeship level relates to other forms of study and qualifications in school, college and university. For example, ‘Advanced’ apprenticeships are equivalent to Level 3 qualifications like A Levels, T Levels and BTEC Nationals.



This will depend on the type of apprenticeship (e.g. NHS, tech, banking, carpentry, hair & beauty), the level of apprenticeship (intermediate, advanced, higher, or degree), the organisation that you’re being employed by and potentially your age. The National Minimum Wage for apprentices aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship is currently £6.40 per hour. Apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age if they both: are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of their apprenticeship. For example, an apprentice aged 22, who has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £11.44 per hour. The rates change on 1 April every year. Lots of apprenticeships pay higher than the National Minimum Wage, no matter your age, so make sure to pay attention to each individual vacancy to check the salary.  

Apprentices who are in care or are care leavers under the age of 25 could be entitled to a tax-free £3,000 Care Leaver’s bursary once they have been on their apprenticeship for more than 60 days. The bursary is payable in instalments across the first year of the apprenticeship. Please note, there are eligibility requirements, including that you must have been in local authority care for a period of at least 13 weeks since their 14th birthday. Your training provider will claim the bursary for you from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and will require written confirmation from your local authority to access the bursary. This does not have to be paid back and aims to help to remove financial barriers to accessing and completing apprenticeships. The training provider can also claim £1000 to spend on supporting you in your role, for things like uniform and essential equipment.  

Not sure if you’re eligible? Do this quiz on Coram voice to check your eligibility.

Local authorities often have additional bursaries and grants you can access. They should also be able to support you with travel expenses, with clothing before you attend an interview or support in paying for any required documentation e.g. a passport. If you don’t have access to proof of address, your local authority can provide you with a care leaver letter to use as evidence of your home address. Please speak to your Personal Adviser (PA) so that you can fully understand what you may be entitled to. 

You’ll get paid a salary, be part of a team and get paid holiday days, just like a standard employee, but you’ll also get dedicated study time throughout the period of your apprenticeship. 

All apprenticeships last for a minimum of 12 months. Most apprenticeships take between 1 – 5 years to complete, however it will depend on the level and type of apprenticeship. 

Extra tip:

Don’t forget to share your plans with your teachers, social workers, personal advisers and carers.

They know you well and can offer advice and guidance on your options. You should include your hopes and plans for your education or career in your Pathway Plan. Pathway Plans begin no later than 3 months after your 16th birthday and should be regularly reviewed and updated for as long as the local authority is offering support. If you are planning to stay in education or do an apprenticeship, this should be written into your plan because it forms an agreement between you and your local authority about what kind of support they’ll provide you to succeed in this, for example, financial support, books or equipment. Having this written in the Pathway Plan is evidence of the support the Local Authority has agreed to give you  

T Levels

T Levels are a two-year course, taken after GCSEs, equivalent in size to three A levels but focusing on building vocational skills. T Level students spend 80% of the course in their learning environment (at college or with a training provider), gaining the skills that employers need. The other 20% is spent in an industry placement, where students put their new skills into action. The placement lasts at least 45 days (approximately 9 weeks), where students gain valuable work experience and employers get to nurture new talent in their industry. Unlike apprenticeships, the industry placement is unpaid but is still a brilliant opportunity to build positive relationships with the employer and hear about paid opportunities for after your course. 

Read more here on the Government’s website.

Find T Level opportunities near you here. 


Degree apprenticeships

A degree apprenticeship allows you to gain a full undergraduate or master’s degree while you work. They take three to six years to complete, depending on the course level. 

You apply for a degree apprenticeship in the same way you apply for a normal job. You’ll need to submit an application, which usually includes a CV and cover letter. If you’re also applying for university, you could use your personal statement as a starting point for your application. 

Employers advertise degree apprenticeships throughout the year and there is no set application cycle like there is with university. A vacancy will state when the application deadline is, and when the apprenticeship is due to start. Be aware that employers sometimes fill their vacancies before their closing date, so it’s always wise to apply early.  

Pros of doing a degree apprenticeship 

  • You’ll get real-life experience working alongside your degree. 
  • Your degree is fully paid for, so there’s no cost to you. 
  • You’ll get paid a salary just like a normal employee. 

Cons of doing a degree apprenticeship 

  • You’ll need to balance working and studying at the same time. 
  • You won’t qualify for any student loans. 
  • Apprentices don’t always get the traditional ‘university experience’. 

Read more here via the UCAS website.

Browse live vacancies via Amazing Apprenticeships’ annually updated list.

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