Facebook Pixel

What is an apprenticeship?

Paper cut outs of question marks

An apprenticeship is a paid job with training that gives people the chance to gain skills and qualifications in a particular industry.

At the end of an apprenticeship qualified apprentices should have the skills and experience to take a job with an employer, or start a career in a particular trade or industry.

How do apprenticeships work?

Apprenticeships are jobs with a training element. An apprentice has time allocated every week or month which is devoted to training and study. Apprenticeships are advertised like regular jobs, with an application and interview process. You are paid a wage, which may be less than comparative jobs, but your employer has to offer you at least 30 hours of work per week (including training).   

At least 20% of an apprentice’s time is spent on training. This normally equates to a day’s release at a training college each week. Apprentices study for nationally-recognised qualifications that will contribute directly to their chances of progressing in their career. Industries have an interest in offering apprenticeships; they need new people to learn the skills to continue these trades, or to fill their own job vacancies in the future.

Check out what a construction apprentice does in their role.

What is the difference between a job and an apprenticeship?

With a normal job, there is no requirement for an employer to provide any off-site training or vocational education. Someone in a normal job would simply have tasks allocated to them and be expected to perform them; an apprentice will be given tasks to do, but they will be geared to the overall objective of improving the skills of the apprentice in a specific job role.

Apprenticeships are entry routes into industries for people, usually straight from school or college. You split your time in an apprenticeship between on-the-job experience with an employer and a training provider.

Who is eligible for an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships will be most suitable for school leavers or young people who have just left full-time education – but anyone over the age of 16 can apply for an apprenticeship. You should live in the UK and not be in full-time education. You can apply for an apprenticeship while you are still at school and not yet 16 but you must have celebrated your 16th birthday by the time you start the apprenticeship.

How much do apprentices get paid?

Apprentices over the age of 23 have to be paid at least the National Living Wage. If you are aged between 16 and 23 you qualify for the National Minimum Wage at various levels. However, these are just the minimum wage levels. Apprentices can earn up to £20,000 for certain job roles in specific industries.

Types of apprenticeships

There are different levels of apprenticeships. The length of your apprenticeship will depend on your existing experience, qualifications and the job role you choose.

The different levels of apprenticeships mean that you can enter at a level that’s right for you and progress in your career. The types of apprenticeship are:


Equivalent Educational Level 




A Level 


Foundation degree and above 


Bachelor's or master's degree 


Equivalent Educational Level 


Scottish National 4/5 or Higher 6


Higher 6, Advanced Higher 7, Awards, Scottish Baccalaureate


Professional Development Awards 9-11


Equivalent Educational Level 


5 GCSE passes at grades 4-9


2 A-Level passes


HNC, Foundation degree or 1st year of Undergraduate degree


Full Honours degree

Find out more about apprenticeships

If you think an apprenticeship is right for you, learn about the different levels, entry requirements, what apprenticeship roles are available in construction and how to apply.

Web design by S8080