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What apprenticeship can I do at 16?

As soon as you are 16 you are old enough to apply for an apprenticeship in the UK. Though you won’t be able to start the apprenticeship until you have left school in England or Wales, you can apply before you have left school. In Scotland some apprenticeships can be combined with your studies in your last two years of school.

An apprenticeship is a job with training. You earn while you learn, and the amount you get paid will increase the older you get. By the end of the apprenticeship you will have achieved a nationally recognised qualification which will help you progress in your chosen career.

But what apprenticeships can you do at 16?

Intermediate apprenticeships for 16 year olds

These are Level 2 apprenticeships and usually take 12-18 months to complete. The qualification you gain is equivalent to five GCSEs, or NVQ Level 2. After completing an Intermediate apprenticeship you can move into full-time work, or apply for an Advanced apprenticeship.

In Scotland you can do a Foundation apprenticeship while you are still in years 5 and 6. In Wales you can do a Foundation apprenticeship when you are 16.

Advanced apprenticeships for 16 year olds

If you have passed enough GCSEs, you can go straight to an advanced apprenticeship at 16. These are Level 3 apprenticeships and usually take 2-4 years to complete. The qualification you gain is equivalent to two A-Levels, or NVQ Level 3. Completing an advanced apprenticeship often means you are qualified to work in certain trades, and you will have built up a significant amount of on-the job experience and skills. 

In Wales the equivalent apprenticeship type is known as the standard Apprenticeship level and you can apply even if you have not already done a Foundation apprenticeship. In Scotland you can do a Modern apprenticeship when you leave school.

What qualifications do I need?

You can usually apply for an Intermediate apprenticeship with two GCSEs, but some employers will have different entry requirements. English and Maths are two subjects most employers will want you to have passed. Advanced apprenticeships usually ask for at least five GCSE passes. English and Maths should be two of these.

An employer may accept you for an Intermediate apprenticeship even if you don’t have enough GCSE passes. They might be impressed by your enthusiasm at your interview or any work experience you have. You can always re-take your English and Maths GCSEs as part of your apprenticeship, as they will be useful to have. 

In Scotland, modern apprenticeship applicants would be expected to have three or more National 4 passes, or Standard Grades at general level. No formal qualifications are needed for foundation apprenticeships in Scotland and Wales. For a standard apprenticeship in Wales you will need to have three GCSE passes.

How do you apply for an apprenticeship?

If you are interested in apprenticeships in England at 16 you could look on websites like Talentview, TotalJobs, Indeed or the government’s apprenticeship service. You will be able to apply for apprenticeships by uploading your CV or applying directly to the employer.

In Scotland you can visit the Apprentiships.scot website for more details, case studies and to search for vacancies. If you are in Wales, the Welsh government’s apprenticeships website has more details of apprenticeships you can do at 16, the latest vacancies, entry requirements and case studies.

Begin an apprenticeship in construction

If you have just left or are about to leave school, have you thought about a construction apprenticeship? They are a great way to get into the industry. Go Construct has all the information you need to make a start, including guides to over 170 different job roles.

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