Apprenticeships are employed work-based training programmes in which apprentices must work with experienced staff, this will lead apprentices to nationally recognised qualifications and/or achievement of an apprenticeship standard. Apprenticeships can take between one to five years to complete, depending on the level of which apprenticeship you want to do.

I think that there is a lot of confusion within the public about apprenticeships…who are apprenticeships for? Who qualifies? Who is eligible?

Well, to cut a long story short, apprenticeships are for everyone as long as you’re 16 or over, living in England and not currently in full time education. This type of learning can be for school leavers or those who are seeking to start a new career opportunity and for those already employed as a way to develop and progress into new high level roles.

As mentioned apprenticeships can take between 1 – 5 years to complete depending on the level, you will find that there are different levels of apprenticeships which are; Intermediate Apprenticeships, Advanced Apprenticeships, Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships.

So, let’s get back to the question… who is eligible?

If you’re under 16

You can apply for apprenticeships at any age but you will need to have reached the official school leaving date for your last year of statutory schooling to be able to be accepted and employed on an apprenticeship.

Tip: At this stage try to gain some experience if you are over 14 (you will still need permission from a parent or guardian), whether this is helping a family friend at the weekend or after school. If you are thinking of doing an apprenticeship then start researching the requirements of which you are interested in, so you can start to work towards them.


16 and over with GCSE’s below grade C or equivalent

If you do not have an English or Maths GCSE (or equivalent) grade 4 (C) and above, as part of the apprenticeship, apprentices will complete their Functional Skills Maths and English qualifications. Employers normally have a requirement of English and Maths GCSE’s or equivalent grade 4 (C) and above, but in some cases employers may over-look this due to your work experience and the level of apprenticeship.

If you have applied for apprenticeships but have not been successful, you can ask for feedback which is advisable. You may also benefit from doing a traineeship to get some work experience under your belt, however you can only apply for a traineeship if you are unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week, have little or no work experience at all, or are aged 16-24 and qualified below a level 3. If you already have some work experience this is great, and you could be ready to start looking for apprenticeships.

Tip: Try gaining that all important work experience, it will look great on your CV, and will provide you with a better chance of getting a job, traineeship or and apprenticeship.


16 and over with GCSE’s grade A* – C or equivalent

Depending on what level of apprenticeship you are aiming for, you could be ready to start an apprenticeship. For example, for an advanced apprenticeship (Level 3), employers normally have a requirement of five GCSE’s (or equivalent) grade C or above or that you have completed an intermediate apprenticeship (Level 2). For a higher apprenticeship (Level 4,5, 6 and 7) some employers ask for A levels or equivalent or an advanced apprenticeship qualification.

Again, if you have applied for apprenticeships, always ask for feedback on your application if you weren’t successful to interview stage or for the apprenticeship, this will help you improve on areas that employers believe you could improve on.

Tip: Start to read testimonials on apprentices and their journey; research what employers are looking for within the apprenticeship area you are interested in.