Starting an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a real job that allows you to earn while you learn with a mixture of on-the-job training and classroom study.

Find an apprenticeship

Hear from an apprentice working and studying here in your area.

Your apprenticeship questions answered

You’ll be employed by a business to do a job where you can gain a formal qualification, usually split by four days a week with an employer and one day a week at a college or training centre.

The current minimum wage for apprenticeships is £3.90 per hour, this rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those over 19 or over who are in their first year. If you are over 19 and have completed your first year you must be paid at least the minimum national wage for your age.

However, many employers offer pay much higher than this with some higher apprenticeships you can earn as much as £500 per week.

There are four levels of apprenticeships these are:

  • Intermediate – Level 2 equivalent to GCSE
  • Advanced – Level 3 equivalent to A level
  • Higher – Level 4,5,6, and 7 equivalent to Foundation degree and above
  • Degree – Level 6 and 7 equivalent to a bachelor’s or master’s degree

Entry requirements vary depending on the apprenticeship and the level, below is a guide, however always check the specific requirements in the vacancy application.

  • Intermediate – over 16 years old and not in full-time education
  • Advanced – At least three A*-C or 9-4 grade GCSEs or equivalent
  • Higher – Usually around five A*-C or 9-4 grade GCSEs or equivalent as well as a some Level 3 qualifications such as AS-levels, BTEC or level 3 NVQ
  • Degree – Three A-levels in a specified grade range or a higher apprenticeship qualification, on top of at least five A*-C or 9-4 GCSE grades. It’s also likely you’ll be required to have prior work experience too.

Work experience is highly regarded by employers and can really help you have the edge of other applicants.

Depending on the apprenticeship and level you take it can take between 1 and 4 years to complete.

Many large national and local employers in the Leeds City Region recruit apprentices including Nestle, Network Rail, PwC, NHS, Covea, Reliance Engineering and Sulzer Pumps.

Find even more local apprenticeship opportunities.

There are lots of misconceptions about apprenticeships and how the experience compares to the university route. The simple answer is yes, they are both very well respected routes into employment. It is more a question of which direction is right for you?

Consider asking yourself…

1) Does your dream career require a university degree?

2) If not, are there apprenticeships available in the sector I’m interested in?​

Apprenticeships are available in over 170 industry sectors, covering over 1,500 job roles. There are no tuition fees and a salary is paid for the duration of the apprenticeship.

Universities offer thousands of courses with over 130 universities in the UK (9 in Leeds City region) and some offer an opportunity to do a placement or a year in industry. Tuition fees are currently up to £9,250 per year.

Discover more about apprenticeships