What are the requirements for an apprenticeship

26 October 2021

a group of five young apprentices

Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity to learn as you earn, combining paid work with training for a professional qualification. They offer a chance to gain valuable industry experience alongside the skills and knowledge that you’ll need for your chosen career. 

There are six different levels of apprenticeships, ranging from the Intermediate level which is equivalent to GCSE study up to levels 6 and 7 which are Degree level courses. Each level has different requirements and you can start at the level that suits your stage of learning and the job that you want to apply for. You should also check the job description carefully as different employers may require specific skills and qualifications.

In order to become an apprentice, you need to be at least 16 years old and not in full-time education. There’s no upper age limit so you can apply for an apprenticeship if you’re at the start of your career, upskilling in your current profession or looking to change careers.

Do I need experience for an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a great start to a new career, so a lack of work experience shouldn’t put you off from applying. However you may have other skills and experience that can support your application. 

For example, you might have helped to organise an event, led a school project or captained a sports team. Volunteering work can also be useful, especially if it is related to your chosen career. Anything that you have done that shows you gained valuable skills can help you to stand out against other candidates. 

Can you do an apprenticeship without GCSEs?

It’s possible to enrol on Level 2 Intermediate apprenticeships without GCSEs, as they don’t always require you to have any qualifications. It may be sufficient to show that you are passionate about the industry and have gained skills through work experience and volunteer work. 

An Intermediate apprenticeship is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes and once you’ve completed this course, you would be able to progress onto a Level 3 Advanced apprenticeship. 

Level 3 apprenticeships like the Simply Academy Financial Services Administrator, Insurance Practitioner and Mortgage Adviser apprenticeships are equivalent to two A level passes. They usually require you to have five GCSEs at grades A*-C or 5-9, including English and Maths. 

Do you need A levels for an apprenticeship?

Level 4 Higher apprenticeships like the Simply Academy Paraplanner apprenticeship or Financial Adviser apprenticeship are equivalent to an NVQ level 4 or a Foundation degree. They are an excellent option if you don’t want to study full-time after A levels.

To apply for a Level 4 apprenticeship, you need to have five GCSEs including English and Maths at grades A*-C or 5-9. You may also need Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQs or a BTEC and these may need to be in subjects that are relevant to your apprenticeship.

If you don’t have the necessary qualifications, you could first take a Level 3 apprenticeship before progressing onto the Higher apprenticeship.

Can you apply for an apprenticeship without a degree?

Level 6 and 7 apprenticeships are equivalent to Bachelor’s or Master’s degree study. You’ll study for your degree alongside paid work, allowing you to graduate without the tuition fees and student loans associated with university. 

Degree level apprenticeships last at least 2.5 years and the academic work can be very challenging. You’ll need to have some Level 3 qualifications such as A levels, BTECs or an Advanced apprenticeship to enrol on a degree apprenticeship and may need a Bachelor’s degree to progress onto some Level 7 apprenticeships.

Can you do an apprenticeship if you have a degree?

It’s possible to do an undergraduate degree at university and then enrol on a level 7 degree apprenticeship in the same or a similar field. This can be an excellent way to attain a postgraduate degree while also taking your first steps into your chosen career. However there isn’t a wide selection of Master’s level apprenticeships and they tend to be very specialised.

If you have a degree and want to enrol on a lower level apprenticeship, this can be more complicated. The guidelines state that an apprenticeship has to cover significantly new skills and knowledge so there can’t be any significant overlap between your degree study and your apprenticeship.

The definition of ‘significantly new’ is quite vague, so you should check with the training provider to see if you will be eligible for the apprenticeship you want to enrol on. This also applies if you have dropped out of university before graduating, as the training provider will need to check how much of the apprenticeship material you have already covered.

Can anyone do an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are suitable for most people, subject to the criteria for each level of study and the individual employer’s requirements.

They provide an excellent alternative to full time study for school leavers, and a pathway into a new career for those who want a new challenge. And if you’re happy in your current career, an apprenticeship can help you to enhance your CV and progress to a new level.

If you’re interested in a Level 3 or Level 4 Financial Services apprenticeship, get in touch with our dedicated Apprenticeships team for more information. You can contact them by email at [email protected] or on Freephone 0808 208 0002.

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