Higher Engineering Apprenticeships

Higher engineering apprenticeships are a well-trodden and widely recognised pathway to becoming an engineer. If you're interested in carving out a career in the engineering industry, a higher apprenticeship might be just the ticket!

Read on for a guide to higher engineering apprenticeships; how they work, where to find them, and why they might just be the best option for you.

What is a higher engineering apprenticeship?

A higher apprenticeship (level 4) in engineering combines work and study. Higher apprentices work for an engineering company, while they study towards nationally certified qualifications. You have the opportunity to work, learn and develop relevant skills, while receiving a cracking wage.

Higher engineering apprentices learn and work alongside experienced professionals from the industry. We know what you're thinking, it all sounds too good to be true!

More and more school leavers are now taking the apprenticeship route to start a career in the engineering sector. You no longer have to go to university if you want to be a senior-level engineer.

The ENTRY REQUIREMENTS for higher apprenticeships are as follows:

  • you must be 18 years old or older
  • have at least two A-levels
  • or an advanced apprenticeship

For a more in-depth guide to higher apprenticeships, head over to our snazzy website.

How do higher engineering apprenticeships work?

If you choose to do a higher engineering apprenticeship, you will spend the majority of your time in the workplace. You will work for one of the UK's top engineering companies, developing advanced skills. The rest of your time will be spent at a training provider, college or university, acquiring the theoretical knowledge you need for your qualifications.

If you complete a higher engineering apprenticeship, you will gain a Level 4 Competence Qualification, and a knowledge based qualification (Higher National Diploma, foundation degree or undergraduate degree).

Higher engineering apprenticeships can last between three to four years, and you will be paid for the duration of the programme.

Below is a list of 11 career pathways a higher apprenticeship in engineering can lead to:

  • Aerospace

  • Nuclear Related Technology

  • Automotive

  • Rail Engineering

  • Electrical/Electronics

  • Research and Development

  • Maintenance

  • Space Engineering

  • Marine

  • Wind Generation

  • Mechanical

89% of apprentices are satisfied with their apprenticeship; with a whopping 92% saying that their career prospects had improved. (Education & Skills Funding Agency, 2017)

The best higher engineering apprenticeships

If you are considering applying for a higher engineering apprenticeship, you should check out RateMyApprenticeship's reviews. RateMyApprenticeship has over 1,500 reviews of higher apprenticeships, written by the school leavers who completed them.

The reviews are a great way for you to find out more about the programme content of higher engineering apprenticeships, and the companies that run them. They also provide information about salary, and the opportunities available outside of work.

Here's a review from a higher engineering apprentice at GSK:

Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:

I am currently the Logistics Solutions Manager for the New Business Development team at GSK. I manage new lanes and product launches out of Europe, interacting with global teams to ensure we have a successful first shipment. The majority of my work is solving problems within the supply chain, and ensuring all data, logistics and planning is carried out effectively to avoid delays in shipments.

Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?

I have managed to earn a NVQ, and I am now studying towards a degree. I have also participated in multiple internal training courses do develop my skillset -  such as 'Coaching in the Workplace' and 'Presentation and Voice Coaching'. These courses have taught me how to bring the best out of myself, and vastly improved my leadership skills.'

What tips or advice would you give to others applying to GSK?

The application process can be long and stringent, but it is worth it. Once you have stepped into such a large organisation, the doors and opportunities will automatically open up for you. In terms of interviews and assessment centres... the best advice I can give is be yourself and be comfortable. The business will look at you as a person, as well as your qualifications. 

Click here to read the full review, and to access all of our reviews for higher apprenticeships.

Why should YOU do a higher engineering apprenticeship?

More and more school leaver's are choosing the apprenticeship route to chase a career in engineering. 

Here are the three main reasons why you should follow them:

  • Apprenticeships combine practical learning with academic study: Candidates finish their apprenticeships with a practical understanding, and practical experience in the engineering industry. For this reason, higher apprentices in engineering are highly employable - employers know they are ‘work-ready’.
  • It's a priceless opportunity to work with experienced professionals: Not only will they help you with your training, they are useful contacts to have for the future. They may be able to open doors, or offer advice that you can use later in your own career.
  • You'll earn a wage for the duration of a higher apprenticeship: It’s important to realise that you will spend the best part of a 3-4 year programme working for an engineering company. You will paid for this work, while avoiding the fees for your training. At the end of the course, you will also have a widely respected engineering qualification. It’s a dream!

Higher engineering apprenticeships are a great opportunity for you to gain valuable skills and qualifications, while earning a wage and avoiding giant debts!

If you are interested in a career in engineering, this could be YOUR first step. To find vacancies for higher engineering apprenticeships, visit our jobs page.

If you're an engineering enthusiast and you're keen to find out more about the industry, read our engineering overview. We have lots of opportunities for school leavers across the UK to get work experience in the engineering sector.