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How long do apprenticeships last?

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Apprenticeships can take 1-6 years to complete.

The length of time required for an apprenticeship will depend on the type of apprenticeship you are undertaking – some apprenticeships could take only a year, but further training and study may be needed to fully qualify in your chosen career. Other apprenticeships might take up to six years when they are degree equivalent. These apprenticeships can be advantageous for competitive roles, such as architecture or engineering.

Another factor that will affect the length of an apprenticeship is if you study full or part-time. Part time apprenticeships will take considerably longer to complete but may be the right option for some people.

Length of different apprenticeships

Here are the approximate lengths of time it takes to complete varying levels of full time apprenticeships


  • Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2) – 12-18 months
  • Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3) – 2-4 years
  • Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4-7) – up to 5 years
  • Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6/7) – 3-6 years


  • Foundation Apprenticeships – 12-24 months
  • Modern Apprenticeships – 2-4 years
  • Graduate Apprenticeships – 3-6 years


  • Foundation Apprenticeships (Level 2) – 12-18 months
  • Apprenticeships (Level 3) – 2-4 years
  • Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4-7) – up to 5 years
  • Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6/7) – 3-6 years

How many hours of work are required per week?

Full-time apprentices are required to work between 30 and 40 hours a week, including time spent studying or at college. Part-time apprentices should work at least 16 hours a week, but the exact hours for part-time apprenticeships can be agreed between the apprentice and the employer, for the mutual benefit of both parties.

It does not matter what the level an apprenticeship is – apprentices have the same rights under employment law as full-time employees, and applies for whichever level of apprenticeship you are taking. You are entitled to paid holiday and sick leave, and will pay income tax and National Insurance contributions.

Full-time vs part-time apprenticeships

While full-time apprenticeships may be the most popular way to take an apprenticeship, they may not be for everybody. Employers should appreciate that not all apprentices are 16 or 17-years old. Some people who have other domestic commitments may need to work and study more flexibly; that is why part-time apprenticeships could be the answer for them.

Part-time apprenticeships will take longer to complete, but offer flexibility and are adapted to the work-life balance that suits you. However, they might be hard to find, and are not often advertised as part of the application process. You will need to negotiate with your employer about the exact terms and conditions of your part-time apprenticeship.

What if I change my mind in the middle of the process?

Sometimes an apprenticeship doesn’t work out. You might find the job isn’t right for you, or there are personal or family reasons why you can’t continue with the apprenticeship. It is quite acceptable to leave an apprenticeship before you have completed it. You won’t have to repay any fees or costs, and depending on the apprenticeship you may be able to change job roles but remain on the same apprenticeship.

Find out more about apprenticeships

If you think an apprenticeship is right for you, learn about the different levels, entry requirements, case studies and find out how to apply.

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