Apprenticeships combine work and study by combining on-the-job training with classroom learning. Apprentices are employed to do a real job, for a real wage, while studying for a formal qualification, either one day a week or for several weeks per term. Following the introduction of the new apprenticeships standards and Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, there are new and exciting opportunities for students to pursue an apprenticeship at any level:
Types of apprenticeship
Type Typical entry standards Leads to equivalent of
Level 2 Intermediate - 5 GCSEs
Level 3 Advanced 5 GCSEs 2 A-levels
Level 4 & 5 Higher A levels / NVQ L3 HNC / Foundation degree / HND
Level 6 Degree 3 + A-Levels Bachelor’s degree
Level 7 Masters 3 + A-Levels* or a Bachelor’s degree Master’s degree
* some of the latest Level 7 apprenticeship standards are aimed at Sixth Form school-leavers, rather than recent graduates. This allows students to apply for and complete a professional qualification directly from Sixth Form. This opens up the possibility of students qualifying as a chartered accountant, solicitor, or another professional faster than they would if they take the traditional route through university.
Unlike applying for university, which has a single point of application and a clear timetable through UCAS, apprenticeships are advertised throughout the year and often have rolling deadlines. As a result, students are encouraged to research the apprenticeships available from the beginning of Year 12 onwards and are supported in making their applications throughout their time in the Sixth Form.
Higher and degree level apprenticeships allow students to start work and earn a wage, whilst undertaking undergraduate study paid for by their employer. The number of higher and degree apprenticeships have expanded in recent years, but they remain highly competitive. In 2017-18, 3,100 18 year-olds began a higher or degree level apprenticeship, compared to 238,300 18 year-olds who began a university course. Consequently, students interested in pursuing a higher or degree level apprenticeship will have to be proactive in researching and taking the opportunities available.
The application process and deadlines for apprenticeships vary enormously depending on the employer. Most applications are made directly to the employer, usually through an online application form, but sometimes using a CV and covering letter. You can apply for other apprenticeships through the National Apprenticeships Service website. Increasingly, employers use online testing to narrow down the pool of applicants, before inviting selected applicants to record a video interview. Finally, the successful candidates are invited to face-to-face interviews or assessment centres. Prospects and UCAS both offer useful guides to applying to apprenticeships. KTS supports its students through the process of applying for apprenticeships, including tutorials on CV writing and interviewing and a mock interview process in Year 13.
Lauren Harris (KTS 2017 – 2019) has secured a conditional place on Santander’s Digital Technology Degree Apprenticeship
Unifrog offers a comprehensive search for apprenticeships; log-ins are provided to both current KTS students and their parents.
A – Z of Apprenticeships lists which apprenticeships have been accredited at each level.
Find an apprenticeship in England allows students to search live adverts for apprenticeships, whilst filtering by apprenticeship level / location.
Vacancy Snapshot archives past apprenticeship adverts and therefore allows students to research when applications are likely to open / close for certain opportunities.
Amazing Apprenticeships offer monthly Parents’ Packs as well as many other resources.
YC Hertfordshire jobs and apprenticeships allows students to search local vacancies.
Which Guide to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships is produced in association with the National Apprenticeship Service.