Apprenticeships, traineeships and cadet schemes

Apprenticeships are a great way to learn and gain experience at the same time. This page explains the main features of apprenticeships, gives examples, explains a little about entry requirements and how to apply, and looks briefly at next steps.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are available at four levels:

Entry requirements

Employers will want to make sure that you can cope with the level of the work involved. So the entry requirements will depend on the employer and the type and level of apprenticeship. For instance, for direct entry to an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you may need four or five GCSEs at grades A-C or equivalent (note a new grading scheme will be introduced for GCSEs from 2017), sometimes including particular subjects. You may be expected to take an entry test. To start a higher apprenticeship you are likely to need a level-3 qualification or sufficient experience.

Types of apprenticeships

There are hundreds of different jobs covered by apprenticeships. Examples of apprenticeships in health, public services and care include:

Other apprenticeships offered by organisations that provide NHS healthcare are suitable for work with other types of employers too, such as those in construction, facilities, business administration, logistics and management. There are many more.

Look at the Explore roles pages to find out whether apprenticeships are available for any career areas that interest you.

Find out more and apply

There’s often tough competition for apprenticeship places. In your application and interview you need to show that you are committed, aware of your responsibilities and able to cope with the work and study. Our career planning section has lots of information on applications, interviews etc.

There has never been a better time to start an apprenticeship. Applying is easy. Visit the Gov.uk website for more general information and to register, search and apply for opportunities. Apprenticeship vacancies may also be found on the NHS Jobs website.

Next steps after an apprenticeship

After completing an apprenticeship, you may be offered a permanent job. Most successful apprentices stay in employment, often with the same employer. Check whether you are likely to be offered work at the end of your programme.

Ask whether there are opportunities for promotion when you have completed your apprenticeship and whether you will be able to continue with your studies. You can often progress from one level of apprenticeship to another. Some apprenticeships provide you with the qualifications you need to go to university.

You can also get free and impartial careers advice from the National Careers Service. Search online for 'National Careers Service' or call an adviser on 0800 100 900.

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