Apprenticeships can be an alternative to going to college or sixth form at the end of Year 11, or an alternative to going to university at the end of Year 13. There are different types and levels of apprenticeships, which are often called different names. Within this blog, we will go through each to help you understand which is the right level for you.
Level 2 - Intermediate
An intermediate apprenticeship is the same level as a GCSE or Level 2 functional skills qualification. These are suitable for students who are leaving Year 11 and do not have enough GCSE passes to go straight onto a Level 3 course.
There are a wide range of industries and employment areas that you can complete an Intermediate apprenticeship within. This includes hands-on roles such as electrician or construction, office based roles such as business admin or digital marketing and vocational roles such as hairdressing.
For Intermediate apprenticeships, your employer will partner with a local college or private training provider who will provide your qualification as part of your course.
Level 3 - Advanced
An advanced qualification is the same level as A Levels, Level 3 BTec or T Level qualification. These are suitable for students who are leaving Year 11 and have enough GCSE passes to move straight to Level 3. Different employers will ask for different GCSE grades within their job advert. Entry requirements for Level 3 courses are higher than Level 2 courses.
Level 3 apprenticeships can also be a good option for students leaving Year 13 who want to take a sideways step into a particular career. For example, you may have completed a Btec Level 3 Sport course then move into a Level 3 Carpentry Apprenticeship.
For Advanced apprenticeships, your employer will partner with a local college or private training provider who will provide your qualification as part of your course.
Level 4 / 5 - Higher
A Higher apprenticeship is equivalent to a HNC (Level 4) or HND (Level 5). These are a good stepping stone for students who have completed Level 3 qualifications but are not yet ready to commit to a full degree apprenticeship programme.
You can only access Higher apprenticeships if you have passed your Level 3 qualifications, so this is only an option for students leaving Year 13 - not Year 11.
You have slightly more options for Higher apprenticeships in terms of subject or employment area. There are more options available that you cannot complete at Level 2 or 3. These include; Facilities Management, Information Security, Intelligence Operations, Legal Services and Sustainable Resource Operations.
For Higher apprenticeships, your employer will partner with a local college, university or private training provider who will provide your qualification as part of your course.
Level 6 / 7 - Degree
This is the highest level of apprenticeship in the UK, equivalent to a Bachelor's Degree (Level 6) or Master’s Degree (Level 7). These programmes are usually very competitive and require you to have passed your Level 3 qualifications to a good standard. The employer’s job advert will tell you exactly what grades you need to apply for their apprenticeship programme.
There are a few subject areas that are only available at Level 6 / 7, including Broadcasting Technology, Construction Management and Professional Aviation Pilot Project. The large majority of professions are accessible at Higher and Degree level.
For Degree apprenticeships, your employer will partner with a university who will provide your qualification as part of your course.