Apprenticeships without GCSEs

If you’ve left school with no GCSEs, don’t be hard on yourself — there are still ways to snag the qualifications and experience you need to embark on your dream career.

How, you might ask? Well, through an apprenticeship!

Apprenticeships are superb because they arm you with work experience, technical skills AND professional qualifications. (A supreme career combo.)

On top of all that career goodness, apprentices also earn a salary. Why? Because an apprenticeship is a full-time job.

The good news is that you don’t need GCSEs to be able to do an apprenticeship either. Read on to find out more…

Wait, I can do an apprenticeship without GCSEs?

100% YES. There are specific schemes set up for people who didn’t quite get the grades and experience during school. These are commonly known as:

They’re the fairy godmothers of the apprenticeship world. They give you everything you need to get your happily-ever-after, career-wise. (shapeshifting pumpkins aren't included, unfortunately).

What are Traineeships?

Traineeships are specifically designed to help young people aged between 16 and 24 develop those all-important skills needed to get onto an apprenticeship, further education or even a full-time job.

A traineeship will help you develop in three key areas…

  • Work preparation training: Here you’re taught employability skills. You’ll learn how to write CVs and cover letters, get interview training and take workplace health & safety classes.
  • A work placement: Exactly what it says on the jar. You’re given a chance to develop the skills gained in your work preparation training by working for a local company for a minimum of 70 hours.
  • Maths and English: A traineeship will help you achieve passes in these core subjects that are equivalent to GCSEs.

Everyone is different, so traineeships also have a flexible element and are made to fit around your needs and abilities.

Do trainees get paid?

It varies from scheme to scheme as employers aren’t legally required to pay trainees. However, most employers will at least cover transport and lunch expenses to make up for not paying a wage.

If you’ve done a traineeship, you can then move on to an intermediate apprenticeship.

Ready to become a trainee? Read our exhilarating guide on What is a Traineeship?

WATCH: Find out more about Traineeships with Skills Training UK

What is an intermediate apprenticeship?

Combining on-the-job training with classroom learning, these are designed to give you the best of both worlds. Plus you’ll come out with a nationally-recognised qualification.

Also known as a level 2 apprenticeship, an intermediate apprenticeship lasts between one to two years and is equivalent to five GCSEs.

To qualify for an intermediate apprenticeship, you need to be over 16-years-old. Yup, that’s it. Easy. 

Although you don’t normally need any formal qualifications, some employers might ask for two or more GCSEs graded at 9 to 4 (A* to C). However, what really matters is your passion and willingness to be a sponge - there’s lots of knowledge to soak up.

If you don’t have a GCSE in Maths or English, you might be asked to take these during your apprenticeship.

So, what’s available?

Intermediate apprenticeships are available in a variety of industries. These include…

  • Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care
  • Construction, Property and Surveying
  • Education, Training and Childcare
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Arts, Media and Publishing
  • Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Business Administration
  • Law

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you can move on to an advanced (level 3) apprenticeship or dive straight into a career.

Will I be guaranteed a job at the end?

The odds are super in your favour if you put the work in. 90% of apprentices go into work or further training after completing an apprenticeship. And around two-thirds get permanently hired by their employer.

apprenticeships with no GCSEs

Thinking about an apprenticeship..? Read our jam-packed Guide to Apprenticeship Programmes. It’s a riveting read.

How much does an apprentice earn?

The current national minimum wage is £4.81 an hour, but many employers pay a truckload more.

In fact, according to reviews on, the average salary for an intermediate apprenticeship is £15,947 a year. 

That’s around 166 years’ worth of Amazon Prime. Don’t spend it all on Amazon Prime.

Fantastic apprenticeship schemes and where to find them…

With, it’s easy. There’s a smorgasbord of intermediate apprenticeships available RIGHT NOW. Just click the big button below.