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What's an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a great way to learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.

Female mechanic

Female mechanic

You will spend most of your time in the workplace gaining job-specific skills, but you will also be supported by a specialist learning provider to build up your knowledge and qualifications.

Apprenticeship training can take between one and four years to complete and the length of your Apprenticeship will depend on its level, the industry you’re training in and the skills you already have.

You must be 16 or over to start an Apprenticeship and there are three levels you can study at:

Who are they for?



Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged above 16 years-old - whether you are leaving school, have finished college or sixth form or are already in work. They can lead into full-time work or if you find you enjoy working and studying, you can carry on taking more qualifications and even progress to a degree.

There are no set entry requirements as this depends on the Apprenticeship, however, competition for Apprenticeships can be fierce, so good qualifications are important, as well as being motivated and committed. Research by the BBC found that a record 11 applications are being made for each Apprenticeship vacancy in the UK. Some Apprenticeships are more competitive with 17 applications per place, for example in the arts, media and ICT.

But don't be put off - the highest number of Apprenticeship vacancies ever has recently been recorded, which means there are plenty of opportunities.

What will I get paid?

A sal

A sal

All apprentices under the age of 19, or in their first year of an Apprenticeship will be paid at least £2.68 per hour. You will receive pay for the time you spend working, plus the time spent training so if you are a full-time apprentice that’s a minimum of £99 a week. If you’re 19 or over and past your first year you get the rate that applies to your age - check what that is here.

Many apprentices earn significantly more and the average Apprenticeship salary is about £170 per week.

How many hours work?

The minimum amount of time you would be expected to be in work is 16 hours, but working 30 hours or more each week is more typical during your Apprenticeship training. The hours you would be expected to work depends entirely on your employer and how their business operates.

You will also get at least 20 days paid holiday a year as well as bank holidays.

What Apprenticeship?

Why not have a look at the 2014/15 edition of Open Doors Media's What Apprenticeship?

This online handbook contains information to help you decide whether an Apprenticeship is right for you and, more importantly, what Apprenticeship is right for you. The handbook has detailed information on nine employment sectors offering Apprenticeships.