Utility Apprenticeships UK


All you need to know about utility apprenticeships and how to become a utility apprentice.

The utility sector in the UK is what keeps the water flowing and the electricity supplied to switch on the lights. There are four main utilities that we all use each day and they include Water, Gas, Electricity and Telecommunications.

By starting an apprenticeship in utilities you will gain valuable experience whilst learning on the job from seasoned professionals looking to transfer their knowledge and skills to the next generation of people helping to keep people warm.

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

Keep Britain flowing with an Apprenticeship in Utilities

The utility sector in the UK is probably, if not, the most secure industry for job security and offers thousands of apprenticeship job opportunities each year either work directly for a supplier or a sub-contractor providing vital services to keep the utility infrastructure maintained.

To start an apprenticeship in the utility sector you don't need to have any experience, most apprenticeships on offer will train you from the ground up and give you the skills required to be successful in the utility sector.

Utility Apprenticeships

What can I expect from a Utility Apprenticeship?

We won't lie to you, the utility sector is not the most glamorous for either men or women and can sometimes put people off joining the sector. However not all jobs in utilities are in the field digging holes or reinstating footpaths, you can start an apprenticeship with the operations side of the business which is what keeps the cogs turning and supports the engineers in the filed with their everyday job.

As with any apprenticeships in any sector you will be expected to work a minimum of thirty hours per week which will include your classroom training, that equates to 20% of your apprenticeship course. Depending on the level of apprenticeship you are studying your theory training will either be with a training provider, employer classroom training or with a college or university.

Utility Apprenticeships could include:

  • Business Administration
  • Trades - Electricians, Plumbers
  • Human Resources
  • Civil Engineering
  • Gas Engineers
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Project Management

What qualifications can I achieve through an apprenticeship in utilities?

There are a number of different nationally recognised qualifications you can achieve through a utility apprenticeship depending on the level you are studying. If you are starting your apprenticeship at the intermediate level you will receive an NVQ Level 2 qualification in your selected trade and then be able to start working your way up in your career development and even achieve a degree apprenticeship such as a Bachelors or Masters degree.

Level 3 Civil Engineering Technician

This is a 36 month apprenticeship programme of which you will achieve a Level 3 NVQ and BTEC Diploma. During your Civil Engineering apprenticeship the four key areas you will be focusing on are Design, Analysis, Delivery and Site engineering of which also covers health and safety, Risk and any technical aspects.

Advanced Level 3 Electrical Technician Apprenticeship

This is a 48 month apprenticeship programme of which you will achieve a Level 3 NVQ and a BTEC Diploma. During your Electrical Technician apprenticeship you will be trained in Inspecting, Testing and Installing of low voltage electrical systems and how to interpret design specifications.

Advanced Level 3 Mechanical Technician Apprenticeship

This is a 48 month apprenticeship programme of which you will achieve a Level 3 NVQ and a BTEC Diploma. During your Electrical Technician Apprenticeship you will be trained in Inspecting and Testing of mechanical equipment plus basic fabrication and welding of components and gaining a good understanding of mechanical mechanisms.

How much can I earn as an apprentice in the utility sector?

To be honest this is like asking how long is a piece of string as the pay across the utility sector for apprentices can vary quite considerably. However the good news is that the competition in the utility sector across Water, Gas, Electricity and Telecoms is very high when it comes to attracting apprentices. Utility Apprenticeships along with Construction Apprenticeships and Plumbing Apprenticeships are commonly thought of a traditional industries for offering apprenticeships, which is great as the qualifications you get from an apprenticeship in any of these industries is widely recognised as a good start to progressing a career in the sector.

As the competition for attracting apprentices in the utility industry is high you tend to find the salaries on offer are also higher then the minimum wage employers are required to pay by law. On average a starting salary for an apprenticeship in the utility industry can range from £15,000 - £25,000. See our guide on how much you can earn as an apprentice.

Register as an apprentice.

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

Set up an apprentice profile and create apprenticeship alerts. Are you aware of the different apprenticeship levels and What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship Levels

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 Utility Apprenticeships

FAQs about Utility Apprenticeships
Where can I find an apprenticeship in Utilities?

Use our quick and easy search function to find an apprenticeship in utilities then register to become an apprentice.

Do I have to have previous experience in utilities?

The simple answer is no. The majority of apprenticeships in the utility sector requires no previous experience as you will be learning on the tools enabling you to understand the basics whether that is in the water industry or a telecom apprenticeship.

What qualifications will I gain during my utility apprenticeship?

If your apprenticeship is an Intermediate Apprenticeship or otherwise known as a Level 2 Apprenticeship then you will work towards a NVQ Level 2 or a BTEC. As you progress up the apprenticeship levels the higher the qualifications get and the likelihood your career progression will be advancing.

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

Not all apprenticeships in the utility sector require you to work outside. Some utility companies and sub-contractors offer apprenticeships in their operations departments such as HR, Finance or Information Technology.

Which companies recruit utility apprentices?

There are hundreds of companies across the UK recruiting utility apprentices from utility companies such as Thames Water, National Grid to sub-contract or service providers such as Morrison Utility Services and Murphy Group.

How much will I be paid as a Utility Apprentice?

The minimum national wage for an apprentice is £4.15, however companies are paying much higher than this due to the competition to attract apprentices to their company.

The UK national average wage for apprentices is between £15,000 - £20,000.

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.



Life as an apprentice at National Grid.

Utility Apprenticeships FAQs about Utility Apprenticeships