Apprenticeships are an exciting option -  you get hands-on training and also the chance to put your skills into practice.


Apprenticeships are available at multiple levels. From school leavers, people upskilling in their careers and complete career changes. There are hundreds to choose from and some include a qualification, like a degree. 

So if you have any questions about Apprenticeships (either as a young person or a business), please read our Apprenticeship FAQs below or contact us for impartial advice.

Please be aware that this page is dedicated to young people and businesses in England. For information on apprenticeships in the rest of the UK, please follow these links: Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

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Q. What are apprenticeships and how long do they last?

A. An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you'll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.

It can take between 1 and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship depending on what you choose, what level it's at, your previous experience and the industry you are interested in. It’s funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.

Q. Can I become an apprentice?

A. To become an apprentice you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be aged 16 or over

  • Not already in full-time education

Q. What is involved in an apprenticeship?

A. As an apprentice you will receive the following:

  • Training for a specific job

  • Wages and holiday leave

  • Hands-on experience in a real job

  • Study for at least 20% of your working hours - usually at a college, university or with a training provider, with assessments during and at the end of your apprenticeship

  • Be on a career path with lots of future potential


Q. What will I earn as an apprentice?

A. What you earn will depend on the industry, location and type of apprenticeship you choose.

If you're aged 16 to 18 or in the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the apprentice rate.

If you're 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, you’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

This is the minimum you’ll earn - many employers pay a lot more and offer their apprentices a competitive salary. 

Q. Will it cost me anything?

A. Apprenticeships are funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.

This means you will not have any student loans or tuition fees.

You'll just need to cover the cost of your day-to-day expenses, such as lunch and travel.

If you're 16 to 24 and a care leaver, you'll receive a £1,000 bursary payment to support you in the first year of your apprenticeship.

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Young Man

Q. What are 'levels' and what do they mean?

A. Each apprenticeship has a 'level' and an 'equivalent education level'. You can start an apprenticeship at any level. 


Depending on the level, some apprenticeships may:


  • Require previous qualifications such as an English or maths GCSE

  • Give extra training in the English or maths skills needed so you’re at the right level


At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent education level.

For example, if you complete a level 3 apprenticeship, you’ll achieve the equivalent of an A level. We have put together a helpful table to break down the levels below:

Level Name
Equivalent education level
A level
4, 5, 6 & 7
Foundation degree and above
6 & 7
Bachelor’s or master’s degree

If you think you need more skills and work experience before starting an apprenticeship, you can learn more about Traineeships instead.


Q. How do I apply for an apprenticeship and where can I find them?

A. There are hundreds of different apprenticeships to choose from. To apply for one, you’ll need to create an account on the 'find an apprenticeship service'. This will allow you to save any apprenticeships you like and then apply for them later.


We also have a plugin linked directly to the Apprenticeship service which can be found here: 'Applying for Apprenticeships'.

Alternatively if you’ve seen an apprenticeship you like on the employer’s website, you can apply for it directly. We occasionally advertise vacancies on behalf of local businesses through our social media channels, which can be found using the social bar to the right of this page.

Once you find the right apprenticeship, you’ll need a CV and a cover letter to apply, before getting to the interview stage. 

It's a good idea to apply for a few apprenticeships at a time. This increases your chances and means you’re not waiting for a response from one employer.

It's normal to feel nervous when you're applying for any apprenticeship/job or waiting to hear back from an employer. Try to find out the closing date of the application as this may give you a clue about when you’ll hear back.

It usually takes a few applications to find the right apprenticeship. So if you don’t hear back or get an interview, don’t take it personally - it’s normal and happens to everyone. 

If you are still unsure or just want to find out more, please head to: where you can view more information, download resources, browse vacancies and watch videos from real apprentices.

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Q. What are the benefits of hiring an apprentice for my business?

A. Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.


You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely.

You can hire someone new (expand) or (upskill) an existing employee.


As an employer, you can get funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training.

Did you know?

  • That 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation?

  • That 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity?

  • That 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service?

Q. Can I get funding from the government to help with an apprentice?

A. Yes - you can get help from the government to pay for apprenticeship training.*

The amount you get depends on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not.


You pay the levy if you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year.

To find out how much you are entitled to please click here and fill out the short questionnaire.

Currently, employers who hire a new apprentice between 1st August 2020 and 31st March 2021 can claim extra financial incentives from the government.

This is to help businesses and the economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For apprentices aged:

  • 16 to 24, you’ll receive £2,000

  • 25 and over, you’ll receive £1,500

This payment is in addition to the existing £1,000 you’ll already get for taking on an apprentice who is:

  • Aged 16 to 18 years old

  • Under 25 and has an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority


Click here to find out more about financial incentives for hiring a new apprentice.

*Please note that this information only applies to apprenticeships in England. For the rest of the UK please follow these links: Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Q. How do I hire an apprentice?

A. First, you will need to create an apprenticeship service account here. This will allow you to access funding, arrange payments and fully manage your apprenticeships.


Next, you’ll need to find apprenticeship training and choose a training provider.

And finally, you will need to advertise your apprenticeship. You can do this using the recruit an apprentice service.

These opportunities will be advertised on find an apprenticeship.

When advertising, be as clear as possible so candidates can quickly understand whether the apprenticeship is right for them.

You can manage the recruitment process or ask your training provider to manage it on your behalf.

An apprentice must:

  • Be 16 or over

  • Not already be in full-time education

  • Be living in England


There are other ways to find an apprentice to increase the diversity of your applicants. For example you could:

  • Hold open days

  • Arrange visits to schools, colleges and universities

  • Use social media

  • Participate in careers events, such as WorldSkills UK Live

  • Advertise through partners such as The Skills Service

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Q. How will my apprentice access training?

A. During their apprenticeship, your apprentice will receive two different types of training.


Off-the-job’ training is delivered by a training provider during your apprentice's normal working hours.


This training will teach your apprentice the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard so they can achieve occupational competence.


‘On-the-job’ training will be delivered by you, as the employer. You'll need to give your apprentice training and supervision to help them perform the job you've hired them for.

Off-the-job training

Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their working hours completing off-the-job training.

It can be flexible and doesn’t have to mean 1 day out of the workplace every week.

For example, training could take place:

  • Online

  • At the apprentice’s place of work

  • At a college or university or with a training provider


Or it could be a combination of these options.


The frequency can vary, for example:

  • 1 day a week

  • Part of a working day

  • Blocks of time

For instance, some apprenticeships begin with a block of training to get the apprentice work-ready.

You can agree a suitable training schedule to suit the needs of your business with your training provider.

English & Maths

Your apprentice may also need to study for maths and English qualifications as part of their apprenticeship.

You must allow your apprentice time to study for this within their normal working hours.

Studying for English and maths is not counted as part of the 20% minimum off-the-job training requirement.

An apprenticeship agreement

You must sign an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice.

This gives details of what you agree to do for the apprentice, including:

  • How long you’ll employ them for

  • The training they’ll receive

  • Their working conditions

  • The qualifications they are working towards


You can write your own or download an apprenticeship agreement template.

An apprenticeship commitment statement

You must also sign an apprenticeship commitment statement with your apprentice and the training provider.

This must include:

  • The planned content and schedule for training

  • What is expected and offered by the employer, the training organisation and the apprentice

  • How to resolve queries or complaints


You can write your own or download an apprenticeship commitment statement template.

Q. How to choose the right apprenticeship training and what should I look for?

A. There are hundreds of apprenticeships to choose from. They offer flexible, but structured training, that meet your needs as an employer.


Apprenticeships are designed by groups of employers so they reflect the knowledge, skills and behaviours an apprentice needs for a specific occupation.


Apprentices can be a new or existing employee and they must:

  • Be 16 or over

  • Combine work with study to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job

  • Spend at least 20% of their working hours on ‘off-the-job’ training with your chosen training provider


What should I look for?

Apprenticeships are being developed and approved all the time, so you can choose the right apprenticeship training for your business.

When looking for an apprenticeship, make sure you:

  • Select the right training to suit your business

  • Think about the level and duration of the training

  • Discuss your expectations with the training provider


Never accept training because it's the only apprenticeship available at the time.

Q. How do I choose a training provider?

A. Once you’ve decided on the type of apprenticeship your business needs, you’ll need to choose a training provider to train your apprentice.


Find apprenticeship training lets you search for:

  • Apprenticeship training by job role or keyword

  • Training providers


You can also do a postcode search for providers. Your training provider doesn’t have to be located near you as many are national and can offer training at your workplace and online.

Find apprenticeship training shows you:

  • The percentage of apprentices that have passed their apprenticeship with the training provider

  • Employer reviews

  • Strengths

  • Things to improve

Things to consider

Choosing a training provider that’s right for your business is really important.

Consider things like:

  • How well they communicate with you about the training

  • What other employers say about them

  • What apprentices say about them

Working with your training provider

Your training provider can provide you with as much help and support as you need when you take on an apprentice.

Your training provider can help you:

  • Find the right training

  • Recruit and interview apprentices

  • Prepare your apprentice for the workplace

  • Make sure your apprentice is working in an appropriate environment

  • Make sure your apprentice is learning the relevant skills for your business

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Business Meeting

Q. What if I want to upskill existing members of my workforce?

A. You can use apprenticeship training to:

  • Fill key skill gaps in your business

  • Boost employee motivation by investing in their development

  • Improve staff retention


For example, an experienced employee may be keen to get a formal qualification in their specialist area. 

Or perhaps someone has the aptitude and drive to learn something new and progress into a different role?

There are apprenticeships from level 2 to level 7 (equivalent to a degree) so you’ll be able to find apprenticeships that suit the learning and development needs of your employees.

Apprenticeships are designed by employers so they reflect the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that your business needs.

If you are still unsure about anything, want to find out more or require assistance with your apprenticeship programme, please head to the: 'Apprenticeship Service Support' where you can view more information, download employer guides, advertise vacancies and watch videos from real employers.

The information on the page was taken from the national government apprenticeship website ( and was correct as of 04/02/21.