Apprenticeship Levels and Qualifying criteria

Apprenticeship Levels

Our simple guide to understanding the different apprenticeship levels and which apprenticeships are right for you to become an apprentice.

Apprenticeships  are separated in to a total of 6 levels. Those levels then fall under four separate headings from Intermediate to Degree Apprenticeships.

Each apprenticeship level has it's own qualifying criteria, this is to ensure that the training provided is consistent with the apprentices studying. If you do not have the relevant qualifications then you would be unable to start an apprenticeship at that level, to save time and disappointment we recommend not to apply for an apprenticeship unless you have the qualifying criteria.

The four separate headings or categories for the apprenticeship levels are Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree. Understanding which level you should be applying for is very important.  The separate levels start at Level 2 which is the Intermediate Level apprenticeship programme and then 3, 4, 5, 6 and finally 7.

You may have noticed there are four categories and six levels? This is not your eyes playing tricks with you. Two of the categories have two levels in each as there are two separate level qualifications available within that category. An example of this is Degree Apprenticeships covers levels 6 & 7 which represents Bachelors or Masters degrees.

You can find further information and explanations, along with the qualifying criteria for each apprenticeship level below in our "Apprenticeship Levels Explained" section.


What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a form of further education which offers on the job training for you to gain a nationally recognised qualification whilst studying part-time with an apprenticeship training provider, college or university through workshops or classroom training.

Apprenticeship training has to be delivered by a registered apprenticeship training provider which can also be an employer-provider, where the employer you are training through are on the register of training providers to be able to deliver their own training requirements. If an employer acts as an employer-provider they will usually employ a number of people such as Apprenticeship Assessors, Mentors and Managers to support you through your apprenticeship programme.

During your apprenticeship you will receive a salary and all the other benefits permanent employees receive. An apprenticeship job is only for a specified time as stipulated at the beginning of your apprenticeship training which can last anything from 12 months to 5 years.

 

Why should you start an apprenticeship?

If you are considering your post 16 options you probably wouldn't have considered an apprenticeship a few years ago and would be struggling or worrying what to do when you leave school. It is a legal requirement for you to now stay in some form of further education until the age of 18 and you now have three options A-Levels, College or an Apprenticeship.

You can start an apprenticeship at the age of 16 through the Intermediate or Advanced level apprenticeship programmes across many industry sectors from Construction, Technology or even Marketing. There are no entry requirements for the intermediate apprenticeship, however you will need at least 5 GCSE's at grade 4 (previously C grade) or above to qualify for the advanced apprenticeship. On completion of the intermediate you will gain the qualifying criteria for a level 3.

The best reason for starting an apprenticeship is on completion of each level you will receive a nationally recognised qualification from an NVQ all the way up to a degree level apprenticeship such as a Bachelors or Masters.

 

How can you become an apprentice?

There are a number of ways to become an apprentice so we thought we would list them for you:

  • Register with websites like ourselves, there are others available.
  • Apprenticeship Job Fairs are great for meeting employers and training providers.
  • Contact training providers in your area, a simple Google search "Training providers near me" will give you the information you need.
  • Contact your local colleges or universities or visit their websites to see if they offer apprenticeship training.
  • UCAS promote apprenticeship opportunities on their website on behalf of employers.

and finally......

  • Do some research on apprenticeships and find a topic or industry that you would like to start an apprenticeship in and then research local companies in those sectors and visit their websites to see if they offer apprenticeship training and apply directly with them.


Apprenticeship Levels Explained



Intermediate Apprenticeships

Intermediate Apprenticeships

Intermediate Apprenticeships are your entry level into the world of apprenticeships more commonly known as a Level 2 Apprenticeship. Level 2 apprenticeships offer an excellent route into further education post 16, as an alternative to staying on at school, whilst receiving on the job training and studying towards a nationally recognised qualification.

During your intermediate apprenticeship you will study part-time with a college or a training provider, 20% of your training, towards an NVQ Level 2 and knowledge based qualification such as a BTEC, together these qualifications are the equivalent to 5 GCSE's grades 9 - 4 (A* - C on the old grading system). You will also receive a Level 2 Functional Skills in Maths and English if you don't already have them.

An Intermediate Apprenticeship is great for learning work related skills as apposed to being given more responsibility. This level of training will make you work ready and train you in the hands on skills required to undertake the responsibility of the task and give you the employability skills you need to be successful.

Qualifying Criteria

There is no formal qualifying criteria for a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship however some employers may ask for a minimum of 2 GCSE's to be able to join their apprenticeship programme.

 

Advanced Apprenticeships

Advanced Apprenticeships

Advanced Apprenticeships or commonly known as Level 3 Apprenticeships are the equivalent to doing 2 A-Levels and are the next level from an intermediate apprenticeship. Level 3 apprenticeships are great for you to start once you have completed your GCSE's and have attained the correct grades to be able to start at this level.

Starting at the advanced level even if you already have A-levels enables you to gain on the training, of which some employers prefer you to have before starting a Higher or Degree apprenticeship.

Just like an intermediate apprenticeship you will be required to spend at least 20% of your time studying with a college or training provider to be able to achieve the qualifications. On completion of you r apprenticeship you will achieve the equivalent of 2 A-Levels in the form of an NVQ Level 3 and a knowledge based qualifications such as a BTEC diploma.


Qualifying Criteria

To qualifying for a Level 3 advanced apprenticeship many employers ask for a minimum of 5 GCSE's which must include Maths and English, this is why an intermediate apprenticeships gives you these qualifications on completion. Although an advanced apprenticeships is the equivalent of 2 A-Levels some employers may add A-Levels as their requirement at this level also.

Find companies advertising advanced apprenticeship jobs on our website.

Higher Apprenticeships

Higher Apprenticeships

Higher Apprenticeships are your Levels 4 and 5 qualifications and enable you to study towards a HNC or HND respectively whilst at Level 5 you can also attain a foundation degree which is great if you want to continue in your studies towards a bachelors degree.

During your higher apprenticeship training you will be required to studying part-time with a training provider, college or university which along with your on the job training will enable you to train towards a Level 4 or 5 NVQ and BTEC diploma along with their respective HNC or HND qualification. Higher apprenticeships can take up to four years to complete.

As a higher apprentice you will be given a lot more responsibility which may include managing people or teams or even responsible for managing projects. You will be supported by your employer along side your mentors and tutors making sure to advise and guide you along the way during your apprenticeship programme.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualifying for a higher apprenticeship you will need to have achieved and completed at least a Level 3 Apprenticeship or have 5 GCSE's grades 9-4 which must include Maths and English and 2 A-Levels.

Find companies advertising higher apprenticeship jobs on our website.

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships were introduced in September 2015 and have been receive with open arms both by employers and apprentices alike. Also known as Level 6 or 7 apprenticeships the degree level apprenticeship enables you to study towards a Bachelors or Masters degree.

You can start a degree apprenticeships straight after your advanced apprenticeship level or alternatively if you want to gain more on the job training before the Level 6 programme you can overlap from a higher apprenticeship programme. Many employers are now partnering with leading universities across the country to offer degree level apprenticeships to help advance your learning opportunities.


Just like studying at university a degree level apprenticeship takes between 3 to 6 years to complete you will achieve this by on the job training with your employer and training provider and then part-time study at the designated university for your apprenticeship course.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualifying for a degree apprenticeship you will need to have at least Level 3 qualifications of 2 A-Levels, NVQ and BTEC or have completely the advanced apprenticeship. Level 6 and 7 are also a natural progression from a higher apprenticeship.

Find companies advertising degree apprenticeship jobs on our website.



FAQs about Apprenticeship Levels


FAQs about Apprenticeships Levels
Can I progress from one apprenticeship level to the next?

Yes. The best thing about each apprenticeship level is they give you the correct qualifications to be Abe to progress to the next level..

What is the highest apprenticeship level?

The highest level apprenticeship you can study is a degree apprenticeship. The degree levels offer you the ability to study towards a Bachelors and Masters degree.

Why are there so many apprenticeship levels?

Each apprenticeship level represents an actual level of further education such as A-levels or Foundation degrees. These levels have then been re-engineered to offer apprenticeships, so you can still study and achieve these qualifications without the need to go to college or university full-time. 

Can I do an apprenticeship level even if I have the qualifications?

Yes. As long as you have the qualifying criteria for the apprenticeship there is no reason why you can't do an apprenticeship even if you have qualifications at that level. For instance you may decide to do a degree apprenticeship, but already have a degree in a different topic.


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