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Everything you always wanted to ask about Apprenticeships

Welcome to our simple guide to Apprenticeships, this Apprenticeship Week!

There is no better time to start an Apprenticeship. Already, there are over 700,000 in England alone. It’s important to know what they are, as it might just be the perfect path for you.

We’re going to break the whole thing down for you. So, let’s start at the absolute basics…

What is an Apprenticeship?

It’s a course while you work. You must be 16 or older to apply.

As an Apprentice, you will be a paid employee (woo!). While you work, you’ll be getting trained to earn a qualification over 1-5 years depending on the level. Yes, you are being paid to learn!

First, you find a company to do the course in (we can help with that) and then apply with a CV. You might have to apply to a few. It might be a whole new company for you, or one you are working for already.

If successful, you’ll be hired! An apprenticeship schedule is:

· 80% working the job while you learn from experienced staff

· 20% training & studying at a college or online (still paid)

If you pass your tests, you get your qualification!

Would an Apprenticeship be good for me? See if any of these sound like you:

  1. “I want job security.” It’s one of the most secure paths into work. In 2022, 85% stayed in employment, 64% stayed in the same company, and 34% were promoted within a year.
  2. “I want to start earning now.” You’ll be earning at least minimum wage and holiday pay.
  3. “I learn best from doing.” You’ll learn hands-on from experienced staff and also get theory knowledge on your day release.
  4. “I’m nervous about starting.” It’s a great confidence builder with a steady stream of responsibility.
  5. “I hated school exams.” The final assessment is practical-focused – projects, presentations, interviews and/or practical tests.

Apprenticeship Myths that need Busting

These are commonly-held (and commonly wrong) beliefs about Apprenticeships that might be tickling at the back of your mind.

Myth: Apprenticeships are only for manual or trade jobs

Fact: The most popular are Business, Health, Retail, Engineering & Construction, but you could be in 170 industries from Finance, Digital, Design, Beauty, Legal, Transport, Animal Care and so much more.

Myth: Apprenticeships are only for school-leavers

Fact: 50% are aged 25 and over. It’s a great chance to retrain in your current company or in a new career.

Myth: Apprenticeships are for the less academic

Fact: They’re for any academic background, with a huge set of entry levels for your needs.

Myth: Apprentices only do simple or low-skilled work

Fact: Training criteria & key tasks mean you’ll be working on real projects from day 1.

Myth: You can’t do an apprenticeship and work full-time

Fact: Apprenticeships are completed alongside your current job role, so there’s no need to take career breaks or leave employment to train.

What are Apprenticeship Levels?

It’s what ‘level’ of qualification you will be aiming for. Let’s pull out the table of truth:

 Apprenticeship Level Qualification Level Others at this Level
 Intermediate Level 2GCSE passes at A*-C (9-4)
 Advanced Level 3A Level / BTEC / T Level passes
 Higher Level 4 & 5Higher education certificate
Higher education diploma
Foundation degree
 Degree Level 6 & 7Bachelor’s degree
Master’s Degree

How do I get started?

Congrats! You’re ready to start the road to a new you! Head on over to South & City College Birmingham’s Apprenticeships Hub. We have live apprentice vacancies, a look into a ‘personal development plan’ that you might find on your course, and lots more information to make it as easy for you as possible.

Contact our team today:


Phone: 0121 694 5066

How do I get more info on Apprenticeships?

If you’re not sure what industry you want to start, National Careers Service have some great ‘career-starter’ choices for Apprenticeships.

The Apprenticeships government website is a solid bet for more information and resources