The Best Apprenticeships In The UK

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Apprenticeships have changed. 

There are now apprenticeship schemes available in a crazy-range of sectors, from IT to accounting, engineering and finance. Furthermore, modern apprenticeships have been designed to specifically prepare young people for a career. 

School and college leavers no longer have to take the university route to get a job in their desired field. The best apprenticeships in the UK will provide the qualifications, the skills and the work experience YOU need to take your next step after you finish school or college. 

Keep reading for an essential guide to the best apprenticeships in the UK. Before we begin, here is a short overview of how modern apprenticeships actually work...



What is an apprenticeship?

Modern apprenticeships are professional work schemes which are designed for young people between the ages of 16-25. An apprenticeship is a combination of real-work and studying towards professional qualifications. Apprentices benefit from the on-the-job training, as well as the academic side of the programme. 

As mentioned before, apprenticeships have changed. Apprenticeships have traditionally been associated with trade industries like plumbing, construction or carpentry. Now, there are opportunities to do an apprenticeship in an array of fields, whether it be with a law firm, an accounting firm, an IT or engineering company.

Apprenticeships have been improved to offer young people an alternative route into work or higher education. There have never been such diverse options for career-conscious young people.

If getting your foot on the career ladder (while earning a salary) sounds splendid, read on to find out about the different levels of apprenticeships, and the best apprenticeships available in the UK in 2018.


Read our full overview of Apprenticeshipsfor an in-depth guide to the different types of schemes available to school leavers in the UK. 


How do apprenticeships work?

An apprentice will split their time between working in a professional environment, and at a college/training centre. They will be a full-time employee of a local business or organisation, and work towards nationally certified qualifications on the side.

At work, an apprentice will learn and work alongside experienced professionals from a field. This is an opportunity to develop the technical and practical skills which are required for a specific job.

The academic aspects of an apprenticeship are designed to provide an apprentice with the professional qualifications they need to progress in that field.

The structure of an apprenticeship will depend on the employer. Schemes are typically organised in one of two ways:

  • an apprentice will spend four days in a week at work, and one day at college    OR
  • they will work with their employer for consecutive weeks/months, with extended study-breaks throughout the year

No matter how an apprenticeship is structured, an apprentice spends the majority of their time in the workplace. An apprenticeship is a full-time job. It is for this reason that apprentices receive a smashing salary.


In this fun video, Chris, an apprentice at IBM explains why he chose the apprenticeship path instead of going to university.


Levels of apprenticeship

Modern apprenticeships have been divided into four different levels: intermediate, advanced, higher and degree apprenticeships. Look below for a short overview of each programme level…


Intermediate apprenticeships (level 2)

Intermediate apprenticeships, which are also referred to as level 2 schemes, are the initial level of modern apprenticeship.

They are aimed at school leavers aged 16 or above, who have finished their GCSEs. The ENTRY REQUIREMENTS for level 2 apprenticeships vary between two or more GCSEs (A*-C), a completed traineeshipor a candidate with relevant work experience.

An intermediate apprentice is awarded with a Level 2 Competence Qualification, and a knowledge based certificate (a National Vocational Qualification/BTEC).

Click here to read our full overview of intermediate apprenticeships.


Advanced apprenticeships (level 3)

An advanced apprenticeship, which are also called level 3 apprenticeships, are the equivalent of doing two A levels. These schemes are available to young people between the ages of 16-24.

The ENTRY REQUIREMENTS for advanced apprenticeships can vary from scheme to scheme. Employers generally look for applicants with 5 or more GCSEs (A*-C), or an intermediate apprenticeship.

Advanced apprentices are awarded with a Level 3 Competence Qualification, and a knowledge based qualification.

Click here to disappear to our in-depth guide to finding an advanced apprenticeship.


best apprenticeships uk

Higher apprenticeships (level 4/5) 

Higher apprenticeships (you also might hear them referred to as level 4/5 schemes) are for school or college leavers aged 18 or above. These schemes can last anywhere between three to four years.

The MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS employers look for in applicants are two or more A levels, or an advanced apprenticeship in a relevant field.

Higher apprentices can be awarded with any of the following qualifications:

  • Level 4 Competence Qualification 
  • and a knowledge based qualification - Higher National Diploma/foundation degree/undergraduate degree

Click here for reviews, jobs and a more detailed overview of level 4/5 apprenticeships.


Degree apprenticeships (level 6/7)

Degree apprenticeships, (level 6/7 apprenticeships) are the newest level of apprenticeship. They were introduced by the government in 2015 in collaboration with the Tech Partnership. This new form of apprenticeship combines a university degree with on-the-job training.

A degree apprentice will work for an industry-leading company, gaining practical skills and valuable work experience, while they study towards a bachelors or masters degree. Degree apprentices are paid a cracking salary for the duration of the scheme, which can last anywhere between 3-5 years.

In addition, degree apprenticeships are an opportunity for school and college leavers to get a degree, without having to pay tuition fees. Tuition is covered by the government, and the company that employs the apprentice. It’s the most exciting opportunity for young people since the opening of Harry Potter Studios.

The ENTRY REQUIREMENTS for degree apprenticeships are varied. Some employers will accept applicants who have competed a relevant advanced/higher apprenticeship. The majority of employers look for the common university requirements – two or more A levels or a set amount of UCAS points. If a particular scheme has caught your eye, you should check the websites of the employer and university for the specific entry requirements.

Click here to read our essential guide to degree apprenticeships.


Best apprenticeships in the UK

‘Blimey! There as so many different and fantastic apprenticeships available!’

It’s true.

‘But how do I find the scheme that is right for me? How do I find the best apprenticeships in the UK?’

What a fun question. There were over 814,400 funded apprentices in 2015/16, including 384,500 new apprenticeship starts. With so many levels of apprenticeship, in so many different industries, offered by some many different employers, it’s no picnic choosing a scheme to apply for.

The easiest way of finding the best UK apprenticeships is to read case studies and reviews of different schemes. RateMyApprenticeship has more than 11,000 reviews of apprenticeships, in a wide variety of fields, in locations across the UK.

The reviews are written by the apprentices themselves, and offer a candid insight into the day-to-day lives of apprentices. Each review reveals what it’s like to work for a particular company, the content and structure of the scheme, information about salary, and the social opportunities available outside of work.

If you are considering applying for an apprenticeship, the reviews are like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secretsmust-read! Use the experiences of your peers to help you find the best apprenticeships in the UK.

Click below to jump over to our reviews page. You can filter your search to target reviews by industry and location.

Using these reviews, we have put together a table of RateMyApprenticeship's Top 100 Employers of 2017/18.

Here are the top ten employers. These companies offer some of the best apprenticeships in the UK.

  1. Anchor Trust
  2. BAE Systems
  3. Mace Group
  4. RBS 
  5. Leonardo
  6. Arup 
  7. Cummins
  8. Virgin Media
  9. J.P. Morgan
  10. CGI

Why should YOU do an apprenticeship?

More and more school and college leavers across the UK are choosing to do apprenticeships. Here's why...

QUITE BRILLIANT QUALIFICATIONS

Apprentices work towards qualifications which are really quite brilliant. Whether it be an intermediate, higher, or even a degree apprenticeship, you will have the qualifications you need to start a career, or continue with further education. The best apprenticeships in the UK are a bridge the between afternoon you leave school, and the morning of your first job.

 

CHUMS WITH EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS

The best apprenticeships in the UK are a chance to work alongside highly experienced professionals. They will act as mentors, guiding you through your apprenticeship, and ensuring you pick up the crucial skills and knowledge that is required to do their job. Furthermore, the contacts you build during an apprenticeship could be useful during your future career.

 

ROARING RANGE OF SCHEMES

The best apprenticeships available in the UK are available in a rip-roaring range of different industries. If you’re interested in a career in banking, accounting, law, IT, engineering (and the list could go on), there is apprenticeship scheme waiting for you.

 

SMASHING SALARIES

All apprentices are paid a smashing salary. Your salary will depend the level of apprenticeship, and the company you are working for. However, apprentices earn a wage during work and study periods. The best apprenticeships in the UK are an opportunity for you to earn while you learn!

 

READY FOR WORK, READY FOR THE WORLD

At the end of an apprenticeship scheme, you will be ready to enter the world of work. In 2014/15,  71% of apprentices remained with their employer after their apprenticeship had ended. Even if you are not offered a permanent position at the end of the scheme, you will be highly employable! Apprentices possess the practical work skills, the work experience and the qualifications which all employers are looking for.


The best apprenticeships can give you the qualifications and work experience you need to start a career. If you’re ready to take your next step after school or college, choose an apprenticeship. 


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