What is an Apprenticeship?

You might be familiar with apprenticeships but not realise how many industries depend on them to thrive. Here is a literal definition of how an apprenticeship is described:

Apprenticeshipis a kind of job training that involves following and studying a master of the trade on the job instead of in school. Carpenters, masons, doctors, and many other professionals often learn their trade throughapprenticeship.”

In fact, apprenticeships help more and more businesses employ skilled workers who meet their needs. So, what is an apprenticeship? Find the answers you need are below…

What is an apprenticeship?

  • An apprenticeship trains someone to become skilled in a particular trade.
  • Apprenticeships combine hands-on work with classroom learning to give an all-round understanding and experience of the role.
  • Apprenticeships are considered full-time employment. As the apprentice is learning, they are also applying what they’ve learnt through their work.
  • A company/business has to go through rigorous checks to ensure they are fit to have an apprenticeship programme. There are many safety procedures in place for the apprentice.

Levels of apprenticeship

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels;



Equivalent educational level






A level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Some apprenticeships may also give you an additional qualification, such as a degree.

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you’ll need to be:

  • 16 or over by the end of the summer holidays
  • living in the UK
  • not in full-time education

And that’s it. Nearly anyone can begin an apprenticeship and it definitely doesn’t matter how old you are!

How long do apprenticeships last?

The time it takes for an apprentice to complete training and receive their certification varies

Apprenticeships can last between 3-6 years. Factors like industry, the specific role and the level of apprenticeship will all play a key part in how long the actual apprenticeship is.

Do apprentices earn money?

Apprentices are paid! ‘Earn whilst you learn’.

  • Depending on company, level and individual role, salaries will vary.

Why do an apprenticeship?

Learning under a skilled & experienced co-worker helps an apprentice understand and master their trade.

When an apprentice completes their apprenticeships, they will receive a qualification in their field of study. Along with this, they will often be offered full-time employment by the company.

Depending on the level of the apprenticeship, you could go on to do a higher apprenticeship, a degree apprenticeship or a full-time job.


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