Types of apprenticeships

Think you won’t suit an apprenticeship? Think again…

There are opportunities out there to suit every skill, from science, engineering and IT to healthcare, business, media and sports. You just need to decide what ‘type’ of apprenticeship scheme you want to undertake.

There are three levels of apprenticeship, all of which can last between 12 months and 4 years, and the one you choose for will largely depend on the skills and qualifications you already have.

Here’s a quick guide to what apprenticeships are available:


Intermediate Apprenticeships


What is an Intermediate Apprenticeship?

Intermediate Apprenticeships are the first level of apprenticeships, providing you with all the skills and vocational qualifications you’ll need to break into your chosen industry.

Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications, such as an NVQ Level 2, which is mixed with Key Skills in English, Maths and ICT. Most will then progress to a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.


What subjects can I do?

Intermediate Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of different industries.

So whether you’re interested in cooking, customer service or carpentry, there’s probably an apprenticeship out there for you.


How long will an Intermediate Apprenticeship last?

An Intermediate Apprenticeship will usually last for around 12 months. Once completed, you’ll be able to progress onto an Advanced Apprenticeship – or start looking for permanent employment.


What is this scheme equivalent to?

Five GCSEs.


How do I qualify for an Intermediate Apprenticeship?

For some apprenticeships you will need to have obtained some GCSEs, but for the majority of schemes at this level you may only need to show you have the skills through work experience, or volunteering.

The government also offers Access to Apprenticeship programmes, which are a great way to get started.



Advanced Apprenticeships


What is an Advanced Apprenticeship?

Advanced Apprenticeships are the second level of apprenticeships, coming after Intermediate Apprenticeships.

Apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications, such as NVQ Level 3, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC.


What subjects can I do?

Advanced Apprenticeships include everything from vehicle maintenance and mechanical engineering, right through to hairdressing, and health & beauty.


How long will an Advanced Apprenticeship last?

Advanced Apprenticeships last somewhere between 12 and 24 months.

Upon completion, you’ll be eligible to move on to a Higher Apprenticeship.


What is this scheme equivalent to?

Two A Levels.


How do I qualify for an Advanced Apprenticeship?

Applicants will normally require 5 GCSEs (grade C or above), or will have previously completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship.

Advanced Apprenticeships: What you need to know


Higher Apprenticeships


What is a Higher Apprenticeship?

Higher Apprenticeships are the highest level of apprenticeships – and are intended to provide post A level, work-based qualifications.

These apprentices will work towards qualifications, such as an NVQ Level 4 or above, and in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a HNC, HND or a Foundation degree, with some progressing to higher education to study a degree at university.


What subjects can I do?

As they’re the highest level of apprenticeship, opportunities may be slightly more limited than at other stages.

However, more and more employers are turning to Higher Apprenticeships to train their staff, so always check with employers you want to work for to see what’s on offer.


How long will a Higher Apprenticeship last?

Higher Apprenticeships take the longest time of any type of apprenticeships – and can last anywhere up to 48 months.


What is this scheme equivalent to?

Level 4 is equivalent to a first year of an undergraduate degree, whereas Level 5 is equivalent to a second year of an undergraduate degree.


What do you need to qualify for a Higher Apprenticeship?

Apart from being over the age of 18, there are no mandatory entry requirements or minimum academic entry criteria (except where employers set their own).

That said, schemes can be highly competitive, and having additional qualifications, such as two A levels or an Advanced Apprenticeship, could boost your application chances.


What are the differences?

Whilst the obvious difference between each of the above levels is how advanced the skills and knowledge you acquire will be, there are other things which separate one from the other and not all apprenticeship schemes are open to everyone.

For instance, certain healthcare schemes are only available to those who qualify as an Advanced Level Apprentice. Similarly, not all schemes are of equal length – the higher the level, the longer the duration of your apprenticeship.

Higher Apprenticeships also differ somewhat to Advanced and Intermediate Apprenticeships in that upon completion of the scheme you could end up with a professional qualification, such as a Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB).

Furthermore, Higher Apprenticeships could also open the way to you potentially moving on to university, if you’d like to pursue a degree in the subject.


Final thoughts

Regardless of which level you start at, the opportunity to move to the next level and the one after that is readily available.

All you have to do is find the right apprenticeship scheme which suits you and you will soon find out what you are capable of achieving in your career both in the short and long term.



Feel like an apprenticeship is the right option for you? View all available apprenticeships now.


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