What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a way to gain qualifications while earning. Apprentices work towards nationally recognised qualifications – generally at college, but sometimes through E-learning and webinars. The rest of their time is spent developing technical skills and ‘on-the-job’ training with an employer in their chosen industry.

 

How long do apprenticeships last?

Apprenticeships generally take between two and four years to complete. This depends on the level, the industry, and the job role.

 

Higher Apprenticeships/Professional or Degree Apprenticeships usually take four to six years to complete.

 

 

Are there different levels of apprenticeships?

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for an apprenticeship.

 

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, apprenticeships exist at three levels:

 

🔷 Intermediate Apprenticeships (same level as GCSEs/Standard Grades): Level 2
🔷 Advanced Apprenticeships (same level as A levels/IB/SB/Highers): Level 3
🔷 Higher and Degree Apprenticeships (same level as HND/degrees): Levels 4+

 

In Scotland, apprenticeships are known as Modern Apprenticeships, which involve training on-the-job and studying towards Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) from SCQF 5 upwards. Technical Apprenticeships (SCQF 8-9) and Professional Apprenticeships (SCQF 10-12) are also available.

 

 

How much does an apprentice earn?

Engineering employers tend to pay apprentices above the national minimum apprentice wage. Have a look at current apprenticeship vacancies to get an idea of typical earnings in the field you’re interested in.

 

 

What qualifications does an apprentice get?

Apprenticeships incorporate work-based qualifications (NVQs and SVQs), Technical Qualifications (Diplomas), Maths, English, ICT and other learning modules. The general term for these qualifications is vocational qualifications.

 

 

Where will it lead me?

Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you might decide to:

 

🔷 Remain with your employer – or within the industry – as an engineering technician or engineer

🔷 Continue your professional development. For example, if you have just completed an Advanced (Level 3) Apprenticeship, you could progress onto a Higher/Professional Apprenticeship, which may involve studying towards a degree.

🔷 Work towards achieving professional registration as an Engineering or ICT Technician, Incorporated Engineer or Chartered Engineer.

🔷 All of the above!

Registered technicians and engineers can use the globally recognised letters EngTech, ICTTech, IEng or CEng after their name. If you become professionally registered, your career opportunities and earning potential can improve.

 

 

How do you apply for an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is a lot like applying for a job. Think about your interests and ask people who know you well to help you identify your strengths. Important factors to consider when researching apprenticeships include location, learning methods, pay, level, qualifications awarded and opportunities for progression. Search online for apprenticeship opportunities through job and career searching sites. 

 

 

Traineeships

Traineeships are for young people over the age of 16 who are not yet ready to start an apprenticeship. They last between six weeks and six months and provide the young person with work preparation training, maths, English and work experience with an employer.

Links and resources

Apprenticeship booklet
Find apprenticeships and study courses
Apprentice Hub
Apprenticeships in Scotland
Apprenticeships Wales
Apprenticeships in Northern Ireland
Traineeships
Vocational Qualifications
FAQs