Apprenticeships are nationally designed training programmes for 16-24 year-olds who have left full-time education or are already in employment.
They offer young people the opportunity to learn on the job with an employer, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.
There are two standard levels of Apprenticeship: Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships. In recent years, in recognition of the importance of higher-level skills that are needed to perform certain jobs, Higher Apprenticeships are gradually appearing in certain sectors. These comprise Level 4 qualifications including, in many cases a Foundation Degree. There are over 200 Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships to choose from, although not all skill areas are offered in all regions. Examples of some of the skills that can be learned can be found by clicking here. For more information on Higher Apprenticeships, click here.
Apprenticeships last at least 15 months, while Advanced Apprenticeships last at least 2 years. Some Apprenticeships, for example in engineering or construction, take much longer to complete because of the depth of knowledge to be demonstrated. On the other hand, many Adult Apprentices have been able to speed up the process of gaining an Apprenticeship, partly because of prior knowledge and skills and partly because they may be quicker to learn than a young person.