Manufacturing Apprenticeships - Career process improvement


All you need to know about manufacturing apprenticeships and how to become an apprentice in manufacturing.

Manufacturing Apprenticeships are available all across the UK. If you think about, 99% of everything you use daily is manufactured. From your smartphone to a microwave meal, they are made using a manufacturing process. Apprenticeships in manufacturing are a plenty and you can become an apprentice in almost any industry you like to kick start your career in manufacturing. 

Manufacturing Apprenticeships are available across a large number of industries including Automotive and Aerospace to Defence Systems or FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). It’s very likely that the majority of everyday objects have been manufactured in someway, either by a machine or handcrafted.

Many manufacturing companies produce parts which are then assembled to form an object such as a computer or crane. A number of materials are also manufactured before they are made into components using tooling machines.

The tooling process is key to creating the tools required to manufacture the components and involves a design and engineering process.

If you have any questions about how to become an apprentice in manufacturing please feel free to drop us a line: Contact Us

What is the difference between engineering and manufacturing?

Engineers are responsible for designing or making a manufacture object or component work. Manufacturing processes and services support engineering with technical advice and help to develop and test products for customers the engineers are working with.

Within manufacturing environments you do have Manufacturing Engineers, sometimes these services may be provided by a third party company overing design engineering services to have a component manufactured. The manufacturing engineers are responsible for requirement gathering and data analysis and either provide or update technical documentation prior to parts being manufacturer, as if you get it wrong you will have to start over again.

The engineering departments which includes design engineering work alongside the manufacturing departments to work seamlessly to produce a component or object correct first time. They also support each other when altering or re-designing for an upgrade or new product range.

Manufacturing Apprenticeships

Who is responsible for Manufacturing Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship standards whether in manufacturing or for cyber security apprenticeships are set by the institute for apprenticeships. The Institute for Apprenticeships is an employer led organisation are responsible for setting out and the standards along side leading employers in the industry, they are sponsored (funded by the Department for Education). 

Working side by side the institute and the employers set-out, develop and approve apprenticeships and the technical qualifications.

Companies involved with setting the manufacturing apprenticeship include (not limited to):Nissan, Caterpillar, Perkins, BMW and Nifty Lift.


What types of Manufacturing Apprenticeships are there?

As manufacturing is quite a broad industry it offers many opportunities for you to do a manufacturing apprenticeships and there are plenty of apprentice manufacturing jobs available all across the UK.

You enter the world of manufacturing with a Level 2 Apprenticeship, which you can start post 16 years. Then you can work you way up within the manufacturing industry to do a degree apprenticeship at a Bachelors level without having to go to university full-time.

Apprenticeships in manufacturing include:

Level 2 Intermediate Lean Manufacturing Operative

This is a 12 month minimum apprenticeship programme where you will receive on the job training and learn towards an NVQ Level 2 and BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Manufacturing.

How much can I earn as an apprentice in manufacturing?

Manufacturing  apprentice pay varies  across the UK. Commonly, due to the cost of living apprentices are paid more in or around London where an apprenticeship in manufacturing is paying on average £15,000 - £20,000 per annum. Else where in the UK is is likely the average wage for manufacturing apprentices is £12,000 - £18,000 per annum.

What qualifications can I gain from Manufacturing Apprenticeships?

Intermediate Apprenticeships enable you to gain a Level 2 Diploma in Manufacturing from the awarding body EAL who are specialist skills and award partner for the manufacturing and engineering industries. You will also receive a BTEC Diploma in the same subject.

As you progress through your manufacturing career you may decide to study higher apprenticeships. Higher level apprenticeships allow you the opportunity to study towards a HNC/HND, you may then decide to advance to a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship to gain a bachelors degree.

Who offers Manufacturing Apprenticeships in the UK?

Manufacturing apprenticeships are offered by the majority of companies who are involved in the manufacturing. Companies who were involved with setting up the apprenticeship standard along side The institute for Apprenticeships, recruit manufacturing apprentices on a regular basis.

Apprentices are highly sort after in the manufacturing industry to pass down industry knowledge and skills that have been developed over the years to make the manufacturing industry what it is today.

Industries offering Manufacturing Apprenticeships include:

  • FMCG - (Fast Moving Consumer Goods)
  • Telecommunications and Defence Systems
  • Automotive and Aerospace
  • Pharmaceuticals - Drug Manufacturers
  • Industrial Machinery
  • Renewable Energy - Solar and Wind


Register as an apprentice.

Register to become an apprentice on the UK's leading website for apprenticeships.

By setting up an apprentice profile and creating an apprenticeship alert you'll be one step closer to becoming an apprentice in manufacturing. 

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.

Frequently asked Questions about Manufacturing Apprenticeships

FAQs about Manufacturing Apprenticeships
Where can I find an apprenticeship in Manufacturing?

Use our quick and easy search function to find an apprentice manufacturing job then register to become an apprentice.

Do I have to have previous experience in manufacturing?

Manufacturing apprenticeships start at an intermediate level, which has no qualifying requirements. This means you can start an apprenticeship with no prior manufactruing experience.

How long do manufacturing apprenticeships take?

Manufacturing apprenticeships take between 12 months and 42 months depending on the level of apprenticeship programme.

Will I have to work outside to do an apprenticeship in manufacturing?

The likelihood you will not have to work outside as most manufacturing is based within a factory. However that is not always the case. Manufacturing is a process of making something and sometime sit maybe required that the manufacturing process requires to be outside.

Which companies recruit manufacturing apprentices?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of manufacturing companies in the UK. Companies such as Rolls Royce, Mars or Coca-Cola are regularly recruiting manufacturing apprentices.

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.

To find our more about apprenticeships please refer to our What is an Apprenticeship? guide.

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.



Manufacturing Apprenticeships at Johnson & Johnson

Manufacturing Apprenticeships FAQs about Manufacturing Apprenticeships