Career Options

Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2)

Intermediate apprenticeships are the first stop aboard the career train.

Primarily made for 16 year olds, they’re designed to get you work-ready with on-the-job training and some classroom learning. Apprentices will also work towards a nationally recognised and industry-relevant knowledge-based qualification. Did we mention that you also get paid on top of all that career goodness?

Intermediate Apprenticeships

36% of those starting an apprenticeship in 2018/19 did so at intermediate level (AKA level 2). So they’re pretty popular.

But if you’re wondering what an intermediate apprenticeship is, and where on earth you can find one, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s everything you need to know about intermediate apprenticeships in one handy guide.

  • Can I do an apprenticeship without GCSEs?
  • Which employers offer level 2 apprenticeships?
  • How much will I earn?
  • Why do an intermediate apprenticeship?
  • How can help

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What is an intermediate apprenticeship?

An intermediate apprenticeship is an opportunity for you to start your career - straight out of school or college!

Designed primarily for 16 year olds, intermediate apprenticeships are the first rung on the apprenticeship ladder. They are the equivalent of getting 5 GCSEs at 9 to 4 (A* to C).

These programmes are designed to train you for the world of work. There’s a big focus on developing key soft skills, as well as more specific training for the role.

You’ll find intermediate apprenticeships in a wide range of industries, including the likes of:

  • Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care
  • Construction, Property and Surveying
  • Education and Childcare
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Hair and Beauty
What is an intermediate apprenticeship

How do they actually work?

An intermediate apprentice will work for at least 30 hours a week, for 30 weeks of the year.

They split their time between working for an employer (80%), and studying towards professional qualifications at a college or training provider (20%). It’s a splendid blend of work and study.

Each programme, however, is organised differently. You might spend one day a week studying at college and the other four days at work. Or you might work on a full-time basis and be released for study periods throughout the year.

As well as gaining valuable experience, intermediate apprentices gain an NVQ Level 2 & a knowledge-based qualification that’s relevant to the industry (e.g. a BTEC).

Intermediate apprenticeships usually take between 12 to 18 months to complete.

Once you complete your level 2 apprenticeship, you can proceed to the next level: Advanced apprenticeships . (It’s like a game of snakes and ladders. But without the snakes.)

"Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries, from advertising to youth work and from environmental engineering to legal." (Skills Funding Agency, 2016)

Cover Letter Advice

If you’re applying for an apprenticeship, you’re are going to need a cover letter for an apprenticeship application. Check out are cracking Guide to Writing an Apprenticeship Cover Letter, six simple steps to a cover letter that will have employers sending you a hamper of baked treats.

What are the entry requirements?

The entry requirements will vary from scheme to scheme. But if you’re wondering whether you can do an apprenticeship without any GCSES, the answer is YES. Go for it!

For most intermediate apprenticeships there are only two entry requirements:

  • You must be over 16 years old.
  • You need to show you are capable of completing the programme.

Some companies will ask for two or more GCSEs graded at 9 to 4 (A* to C). And if you don’t have GCSEs in Maths or English, you might be asked to take these at some point during your apprenticeship.

Which employers offer level 2 apprenticeships?

Every year, we use the thousands of reviews submitted to to create our Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers table.

These employers are the best in business when it comes to running apprenticeships for school and college leavers. They are the Michael Jordans of apprentice employers.

Here are 2019-2020’s top employers for level 2 apprenticeships...

  1. MOTUS Commercials
  2. BAE Systems
  3. Mitchells & Butlers
  4. M&G
  5. BT
  6. Softcat
  7. PwC
  8. EY
  9. Solenis
  10. BAM Nuttall
What is an intermediate apprenticeship

Tom is a Health and Social Care Intermediate Apprentice who was working with Adult Services at Marjorie Cobby House in Selsey whilst studying his level 2 qualifications. Through his apprenticeship he has managed to secure a job with Southeast Coast Ambulance, something he’s always wanted to do.

How did you get onto the apprenticeship?

I was finding my A levels difficult so the college suggested a vocational course. I had a careers meeting with the college who suggested an apprenticeship in Health and Social Care as it would give me experience in care, a recognised qualification and I’d earn while I learn.

Why did you choose it?

I went for the apprenticeship as the work experience is very valuable! Lots of people go and do A Levels and go on to university however, not everyone has actual experience at work. Work experience is just as valuable as qualifications like A levels and degrees!

How has your apprenticeship benefited you?

I have learnt so much! It has built my confidence in working with clients and staff. I have acquired knowledge by doing training courses like manual handling and food hygiene. This stuff can’t be learnt from a text book, you learn how to do Care by watching other staff and practical, hands-on learning.

Do you have any advice for future Apprentices?

Get stuck in! Don’t hide away from any opportunities or training that West Sussex offers you because you never know where it might take you!

There is the evidence... intermediate apprentices are getting vital skills and qualifications to help them start a career.

Follow the link below to access our vacancies for intermediate apprenticeships.

Find intermediate apprenticeships →

How much will I earn?

Intermediate apprentices earn a real wage for the duration of the programme.

Listed below are the National Minimum Wage rates for UK workers (as of April 2020).

Age Current Rate
25 and over £8.72
21 - 24 £8.20
18 - 20 £6.45
Under 18 £4.55
Apprentice £4.15

You can expect to earn AT LEAST £4.15 an hour as an apprentice. However, most top employers pay their intermediate apprentices much more.

Intermediate apprentices at Aldi, for example, earn £6.24 an hour in their first year. (This adds up to £187 a week.)

In fact, according to reviews submitted to, the average annual salary for an intermediate apprentice in 2019 was £16,321.

What is an intermediate apprenticeship

"Students will graduate with much higher debts than ever before, averaging more than £44,000." (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

CV Advice

Applying for an apprenticeship? Fantastic news. You are going to need a CV that is tailored for an apprenticeship application. Check out our Apprenticeship CV Guide, it also has a downloadable CV template. Employers will be like playdoh in your hands.

Why do an intermediate apprenticeship?

We’ll give you NINE reasons; nine reasons why level 2 apprenticeships are a marvellous option for school leavers after their GCSEs.

  1. Earn a regular salary from day one.
  2. Get relevant professional qualifications.
  3. Gain the soft skills you need to confidently enter the workplace.
  4. Work alongside and learn from experienced professionals
  5. Choose from a vast range of industries (e.g. social care, accountancy, law).
  6. Training costs are fully-funded by the government and your employer.
  7. There’s a good chance you’ll be offered a permanent job - 64% of apprentices stay on with the same employer.
  8. Apprentices are highly employable because they have been trained to do a specific job.
  9. Once you’ve completed the programme, you’re eligible for an advanced apprenticeship!

Nine reasons why you simply must do an intermediate apprenticeship. Intermediate apprenticeships are a bit like recycled paper; the possibilities are endless.

How can help

So, you’ve decided level 2 apprenticeships are the best option for school leavers since the national lottery opened to 16-year-olds.

But how do you go about finding the right one for you?

That’s where we come in.

REVIEWS is home to over 3,200 reviews of intermediate apprenticeships - all written by real intermediate apprentices.

The reviews reveal top secrets about apprenticeships with some of the UK’s top employers. Like how well structured the programme is, and how much support you can expect to receive.

Read reviews of intermediate apprenticeships →


We also advertise level 2 apprenticeships on our jobs board! You can search and apply for apprenticeships with companies like Aldi, Balfour Beatty and Unilever.

Find intermediate apprenticeships →


Scroll through our blog for expert advice on assessment centres, CVs and much more.

All there is left to do is apply!

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