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What is a construction apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a highly valued entry route into construction and are open to anyone aged 16 and over.

They offer a chance to work on-the-job with experienced staff, and combine practical and academic learning.

As a construction apprentice, you’ll be employed full time. You’ll avoid student debt and earn a wage whilst gaining industry-specific qualifications. There are 100's of diverse, rewarding construction apprenticeships to choose from. You could be behind a drawing board, developing project management skills, training as a craftsperson and more.

Why do a Construction Apprenticeship? Benefits Explained | Go Construct | 01:00

The 14 best things about a construction apprenticeship

14 best things about construction apprenticeships

There are so many great reasons to do a construction apprenticeship! From helping others in your community, to saving money, making friends for life, or travelling the world, we’ve listed some of the biggest benefits, to help you decide whether an apprenticeship could be for you.

Earn while you learn

1. You can learn while you work

An apprenticeship is a job with training and while you won't be earning big bucks straight away, you'll get a wage, learn new skills, and gain recognised qualifications.

Won't rack up huge debts

2. You won't rack up huge debts

Many university graduates have large student loan debts which take years to pay off. An apprenticeship is free no matter what age you are.

gain hands on experience

3. Gain hands-on experience

During an apprenticeship you'll get practical experience. You'll see the job done first-hand - and then be able to have a go yourself. 

learn important life skills

4. Learn important life skills

Learn time-keeping, decision-making, how to meet deadlines, and even the importance of a good night's sleep! All will boost your confidence. 

What's it like to be an apprentice?

What types of apprenticeships are there?

There are different types of construction apprenticeships available. You can enter at a level which is right for you, depending on your existing experience, qualifications and your choice of job role.

Type of apprenticeshipLevelEquivalent qualification
Intermediate 2 5 GCSEs at grades 9–4 (A*–C)
Advanced 3 2 A-levels, a Level 3 Diploma or International Baccalaureate
Higher 4, 5, 6, 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6, 7 Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

Each type of apprenticeship will have different entry requirements and individual vacancies will state these. Employers will also take into consideration previous work experience and your enthusiasm for the role.

Course lengths vary depending on the type of apprenticeship and your employer. Once you have completed an apprenticeship, you can move on to the next level to progress and open up further career options.

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Should I do an apprenticeship or go to university?

It's a good question! There are benefits to completing a degree or an apprenticeship. Employers hold those from both routes in high regard.

Construction-related university courses often focus on theoretical study, but many include practical experience in the form of a year in industry. If you complete a higher or degree level apprenticeship, your qualification will be equivalent to an undergraduate or masters degree, but you will have gained much more hands-on experience.

Apprenticeship

  • Takes 1 - 5 years to complete
  • Start your career straight out of school
  • Time split between your employer and a training provider
  • Focus is on learning hands-on skills relating to a specific job role
  • Over 100 roles can be pursued through apprenticeships, with more being added
  • Earn as you learn, with no tuition fees

University

  • Full-time degrees take 3 - 4 years to complete
  • You can apply for higher-level jobs after graduation
  • Time spent in lectures and seminars or on individual study - or can be via distance-learning
  • Focus is on academic study, although many construction-related degrees offer a year in industry
  • 1000’s of courses to choose from, which could lead to careers in construction
  • You’ll pay tuition fees of up to £9,520 per year in the UK (correct as of 2020).

What happens when I finish my apprenticeship?

Once you have completed your construction apprenticeship, you will be awarded an industry-specific qualification.

Your employer may offer you a full-time job (on their wage structure) or you could discuss the possibility of progressing onto a higher level apprenticeship with them. Of course, you may choose to look elsewhere for work and gain experience with another employer.

If the company you completed your first apprenticeship with is unable to provide you with the correct work experience for a higher level qualification, you may need to look elsewhere to continue your training.

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