7 September 2023

Apprenticeships after A Levels

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If you’re looking to start a career immediately after finishing your A-Levels, an apprenticeship will help you do just that. An apprenticeship is an opportunity for you to work, get qualifications and earn a salary – all at the same time.

Read on for our expert guide to apprenticeships after A-Levels.

What is a post A-Level apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships after A-Levels are schemes which combine working in an industry with academic study. An apprentice is employed on a full-time basis and studies towards qualifications on the side.

In the past, apprenticeships have been associated with trade industries such as construction or plumbing. However, modern apprenticeships have been designed to provide school leavers with a pathway to a much wider range of industries.

Modern apprenticeships offer school leavers an alternative option to university. If you’re interested in a career as an accountant, an engineer or even a medical role, an apprenticeship is an option to seriously consider.

Apprentices gain nationally certified qualifications, valuable work experience in an industry. And are paid a salary for the duration of the programme. The kids on the street are calling it the ‘dream situation’.

If you’re interested in a detailed overview of how apprenticeships work and how you can apply for a scheme, read our Guide to Apprenticeship schemes.

How do apprenticeships after A-Levels work?

An apprentice splits their time between working for a company and studying in a college or training centre. Apprentices benefit from on-the-job training as well as theoretical preparation.

What do you do as an apprentice?

As an apprentice, you’ll spend loads of time with experienced professionals who will ensure you have the knowledge and practical skills you need to perform in their field.

You’ll be doing real and relevant work for your company during an apprenticeship; apprentices do not make the tea for the person who makes the coffee.

Where do you study?

The academic side of an apprenticeship is spent in a college or training centre, where you’ll work towards qualifications equivalent to GCSEs, A-Levels or a university degree.

Some companies use an external training provider. Others might keep the training in-house if they have the facilities.

The structure of your apprenticeship depends on the company you’re working for. In some schemes, you’ll work for weeks or months on end and then be released for study periods to attend college. Other schemes combine work and study at the same time.

You’ll be paid a salary for both work and study periods!

Can I do an apprenticeship after A-Levels?

You sure can! If you have finished your A-Levels, there are two types of apprenticeships which are available to you…

What is a higher apprenticeship?

Higher apprenticeships, also called level 4 or level 5 apprenticeships, are schemes designed for school leavers aged 18 or above. These schemes last between three to four years, in which an apprentice performs an important role in an industry-leading company.

Higher apprentices work towards a Level 4 Competence Qualification and a knowledge-based qualification — similar to a foundation degree, undergraduate degree or higher national diploma in the field they are working in.

What is it like to work as an apprentice for IBM? Watch as these apprentices take us through their daily tasks and what they enjoy about doing an apprenticeship.

Entry requirements for a higher apprenticeship

The minimum entry requirements for higher apprenticeships are two A-Levels or an advanced apprenticeship in a relevant industry.

If you are considering applying for a higher apprenticeship, check out our career options guide: Higher Apprenticeships. Our marvellous guide has advice, reviews and job vacancies for higher apprenticeship schemes.

What is a degree apprenticeship?

If we told you that you could get a tuition fee-free degree, 3-6 years of work experience in an industry and earn a salary at the same time, you would probably lose your mind.

Degree apprenticeships are aimed at 18 to 19-year-old school leavers as an alternative route into higher education. Employers partner up with a university, and the apprentice will split their time between working for them and studying for a degree at the partner university.

  • Degree apprenticeship candidates work towards a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
  • Apprentices get three to six years of professional work experience
  • All apprentices earn a salary
  • Apprentices pay zero university tuition fees

Entry requirements for a degree apprenticeship

The entry requirements for degree apprenticeships vary from scheme to scheme.

The requirements will depend on the company which employs the apprentice and the field the apprenticeship is in. Employers will look for some or all of the following…

  • Two or more A-Levels
  • At least 96 UCAS points, with some asking for between 112-120 points
  • Applicants with advanced level or higher level apprenticeships.

Check out our full overview of Degree Apprenticeships for advice about applying for a scheme and tips on how to find the programme which is perfect for you.