What are Apprenticeships?

All information correct from September 2019.

In 2018, over 800,000 people were participating in an apprenticeship in England. One of the biggest reasons for this growth in popularity is that they are debt-free. The government funds an apprenticeship. The apprentice doesn't have to pay course fees, although in some circumstances there may be a fee. Because of this, apprenticeships are an alternative to a university course. Keep scrolling to learn more about apprenticeships.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a very popular way to earn money and hands-on job experience while still gaining some higher education. Designed for people aged 16 and over, there are hundreds of different apprenticeships to choose from. These range from entry-level, a change of career direction or returning to work after a break. Apprenticeships also range in how long they take to complete. Depending on what sort of job position, the company where you are learning and your age, apprenticeships can take a year or up to 5 years to complete.

Apprenticeship Levels

Apprenticeships come in levels and have an equivalent of various education levels, depending on your age. Most people start an apprenticeship at an advanced level straight after the end of their secondary school education. They are as follows;


Intermediate Level 2 GCSE equivalent
Advanced Level 3 A-Level equivalent
Higher Level 4,5,6 and 7 Foundation Degree and above equivalent
Degree Level 6 and 7 BA and MA Degree equivalent

The Pros and Cons of an Apprenticeship

There are pros and cons to all job contract types, and apprenticeships are no different. Apprenticeships are not an easy option. Holding down a full-time job and studying takes commitment and hard work. So, before you start thinking an apprenticeship is right for you, let us break it down.

The Pros

  • Avoid student debt. Apprenticeships are funded by the government and in most cases, the apprentice does not pay a course fee.


  • Gain experience. You're learning a lot with an apprenticeship, which is excellent for future job prospects.


  • Earn money. Having the ability to earn money while you're learning is a crucial selling point.


  • Networking. This is vital for a successful career. An apprenticeship allows you to meet many people in the job sector you're interested in.

The Cons

  • Balancing work and study. It can be difficult for some people to commit to a full-time job and have educational obligations too.


  • A job for life. Because an apprenticeship is a vocational qualification, you need to have a clear idea of what career path you want to pursue before you start.


  • Pay back your fees. If you decide an apprenticeship isn't for you and you stop, you may have to pay back any course fees.


  • You may be paid less. There is a chance that you may be paid less than your qualified colleagues for doing the same job.

Is an Apprenticeship right for you?

If you're a person who enjoys a hands-on approach to learning and you don't think a university degree is for you, then yes. (However, it is a myth that you cannot attend university to get a degree if you have done an apprenticeship.) An apprenticeship means who won't have the same social life as you would at university. Instead of a freshers week, you may have to get up at 6 am to get ready for work. But, having said that - you will be earning more money compared to your university counterpart. Apprenticeship wages, vary from placement to placement- but on the whole, you could make between £170 to £210 a week. The best way to decide if an apprenticeship is right for you is to do your research.

Find an Apprenticeship

If you have typed in Google, 'Find an apprenticeship near me," then you're in luck! Here on StudentJob, there are plenty of apprenticeships, to choose from. We have apprenticeships working in McDonald's to apprenticeships working for the NHS. Once you have decided what apprenticeship placement is best for you, register and upload your CV for free on StudentJob. You can learn more about the different contract types, and what other jobs, we have on offer, too.

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