The Highest Paid Apprenticeships in the UK

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Give me five minutes of your time. Just five minutes.

The time it would take to eat a sandwich, play Solitaire, or sing Vanessa Carlton's A Thousand Miles.

Five minutes of your time, so that I can explain everything you want to know, everything you ought to know, and everything you need to know about the highest paid apprenticeships in the UK.

highest-paid-apprenticeships-uk

Apprenticeships have changed; they have been given a hip new name – the modern apprenticeship. Modern apprenticeships have been designed to give 16-24 year olds the work experience, the job-specific skills and the qualifications that they need to start a career.

I know what you’re thinking. Apprenticeships are for ‘trades-people’. Apprenticeships are for young people who want to get into plumbing, bricklaying or carpentry.

No more.

Gorillas are still endangered, England’s football team are still rubbish, and Take That are somehow still together, but apprenticeships have changed.

There are now professional apprenticeships available in a marvellous range of job-roles and industries. Some of the UK’s top employers in banking, accounting, engineering and law are hunting for career conscious school leavers (like you).

So read on, future apprentice. Here are the highest paid apprenticeships in 2017/18, by industry.

POSITION

INDUSTRY

AVERAGE SALARY

1

Accountancy

£19,734

2

Government/Not for Profit

£19,316

3​​​​

Banking

£18,937

4

Energy

£18,479

5

Insurance, Asset & Investment Management

£17,384

6

IT & Consultancy

£17,334

7

Engineering

£16,719

8

Business

£16,601

9

Construction

£16,468

10

FMCG

£15,884

11

Science & Pharmaceuticals

£14,969

12

Recruitment

£12,944

The highest paid apprenticeships, displayed in the handsome table above, are based on thousands of reviews of apprenticeship schemes. 

The reviews, (which you can access here), are written by the apprentices themselves. They provide peer-to-peer feedback on schemes in an array of industries, with some of the UK's biggest and smallest employers. 

Each review reveals valuable information about the content and structure of an apprenticeship, the support received from the employer, and the social opportunities outside of work. It's delightful. 

​Apprentices also disclose how much they were paid! The salaries for intermediate, advanced and higher level apprenticeships have been combined to give an average salary for each industry (see the handsome table).  

​If you're ready for more tables and general tomfoolery, read on for a breakdown of the highest paid intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeships. 



Apprenticeships can be summed up in two phrases – ‘opportunity’ and ‘unlimited ambition’. Apprenticeships unlock career opportunities. They provide experience, qualifications and vital business knowledge. Giving individuals the chance to acquire skills that can be used in any industry. (Three Million Quality Apprenticeships, 2016)

Sue Husband
Director of the National Apprenticeship Service

​Intermediate Apprenticeships

Intermediate apprenticeships (level 2) are the primary level of the modern apprenticeship. Schemes can last anywhere between 12-18 months.

The entry requirements for intermediate apprenticeships vary from scheme to scheme. Employers usually look for applicants with two or more GCSEs, including passes in English and  ​Maths. If you do not have GCSEs, you have the option of completing a traineeship. 

An intermediate apprentice will work towards a Level 2 Competency qualification, and a knowledge-based qualification. 

These qualifications are equivalent to 5 GCSE passes. ​

​If you do an intermediate apprenticeship you will qualify for an advanced apprenticeship, and one day, quite possibly, you will be Lord Sugar's apprentice. 

​The charming table below shows the average salaries for intermediate apprentices in different industries.  

TRAINEESHIPS

Traineeships are flexible education programmes for 16-24 year olds. They are designed to help young people develop the fundamental skills that will help them find an apprenticeship, a job and a career.

If you have found this exciting, read our Guide to Traineeships

POSITION

INDUSTRY

AVERAGE SALARY

1

Banking

£16,825

2

IT

£14,646

3

Engineering

£14,204

4

Accountancy

£13,319

5

Health

£11,599

6

Business

£10,884

7

Legal/Law

£9,955

FMCG

£9,387

No, you haven't gone totally mad. Intermediate apprentices in banking really can earn a salary of over £16,000.  If I was 16 years old and had £16,000  in my pocket, I know what I would do, and it rhymes with LEGOLAND.

291,330 people started an intermediate apprenticeship last year, so take a trip to our jobs page and see what all the fuss is about. 


Advanced Apprenticeships

Advanced apprenticeships (level 3) are designed for career-conscious young people. An advanced apprentice will work on full-time basis in industry, and study towards nationally certified qualifications on the side. 

This includes a National Vocational Qualification (level 3), and a knowledge-based qualification. These are equivalent to two A-level passes, and also qualify candidates for higher level apprenticeships. The excitement is real.

The entry requirements for advanced apprenticeships are typically 5 GCSEs (including English and Maths). Employers go absolutely bananas for GCSEs in English and Maths.  

If you're feeling dangerous, read our detailed Guide to Advanced Apprenticeships. 

The table below reveals the salaries of advanced apprentices in different industries. Have a wonderful time.

POSITION

INDUSTRY

AVERAGE SALARY

1

Legal/Law

£18,950

2

Banking

£18,943

3

Accountancy

£15,970

4

Engineering

£15,063

5

IT

£15,020

6

Business

£14,413

7

FMCG

£13,428

Health

£12,841

The average salary for an advanced apprentice across all industries is £15,241... imagine how many burritos you could buy with that!

An advanced apprenticeship will provide you with the work experience, the qualifications and the professional skills that young people need to start a career. 

'Well that sounds fantastic,' you might say (and you would be right).

'This is the best thing to happen for young people since the invention of the skipping rope!'​

Right again. However, on top the skills, experience and qualifications, an advanced apprenticeship is an opportunity for you to get a taste of financial independence. 

You're but one click away from that future...


Higher Apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeships - also called level 4/5 apprenticeships - are schemes for 18-24 year olds. A higher apprenticeship can last anywhere between 3-4 years, in which an apprentice will combine full-time employment with academic study. 

​Employers look for applicants with two or more A levels in subjects that are relevant to the scheme on offer. Advanced apprentices are also eligible!

A higher apprentice will work towards a Level 4 Competency qualification and a knowledge-based qualification - which could include:

  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • a foundation degree
  • or an undergraduate degree

There were 27,160 higher level apprenticeship starts in 2015/16. 

The table below shows the average salaries paid to higher level apprentices in different sectors

DEGREE APPRENTICESHIPS

Degree apprenticeships (level 6/7) are the newest level to be added to modern apprenticeship frameworks. A degree apprentice will study towards an undergraduate or master's degree as part of the scheme. 

Read our Guide to Degree Apprenticeships for the full story →

POSITION

INDUSTRY

AVERAGE SALARY

1

Legal/Law

£19,649

2

Accountancy

£18,509

3

Banking

£17,714

4

Engineering

£17,639

5

Business

£17,491

6

Health

£17,141

7

FMCG

£17,099

IT

£16,097

As the table reveals, higher level apprentices receive a smashing salary across all industries. In fact, the average salary for a higher apprentice in 2017/18 was £17,534!

Whether it's a career in law, accountancy, banking or engineering that interests you, choose an apprenticeship! 

​The blue button below will transport you by bus to our jobs page. There are job opportunities with some of the UK's top employers! You also might like to check out our Guide to Higher Apprenticeships


​So there we are... the highest paid apprenticeships in the UK. It's the best five minutes you've spent since you discovered the skateboarding dog. 

However, the apprenticeship that offers the highest salary​ might not necessarily be right scheme for you. Choose an apprenticeship based on the content of the course, the employer and the opportunities they offer. Choose the apprenticeship that gives you the greatest chance of starting your dream career. 

Start your journey today. Good luck to you!

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