If you are a teacher or an education provider, it’s important that you understand apprenticeship levels, and what they can provide your students. This is especially important for those teachers who assist with careers and employment conversations.
Despite their rising popularity, many people still don’t understand the different apprenticeship levels and who can start an apprenticeship. This can lead to apprenticeships not being promoted in schools or discussed as a valuable option for young people.
Here at Employing an Apprentice, we firmly believe that vocational skills-based training should be valued the same way A-levels and university are.
What Teachers Need to Know About Apprenticeship Levels
There are four levels of apprenticeships to understand, each at a different educational level. While lower-level apprenticeships tend to be completed by those 16+ when leaving school, in reality, there are no rules about who can take an apprenticeship and when.
As each employer sets their entry requirements, some employers may not require somebody to have done previous levels before starting a higher apprenticeship level. The only thing to remember is that you can’t do an apprenticeship at a lower level than a qualification you already have if they are in the same field or industry. This is because apprenticeships need to be teaching you substantial new information.
Types of Apprenticeship Levels
Education equivalent: 5 GCSE’s at pass level
Duration: Typically takes 12-18 months
This is the lowest apprenticeship level and therefore is most popular with school leavers and those starting in their career. Intermediate apprenticeships would be great for any of your students who aren’t keen on studying for their A-Levels but want to continue learning and developing their skills through an educational environment. You can find examples of intermediate apprenticeships on our jobs board.
Education equivalent: 2 A-Level passes
Duration: Typically takes 15-18 months
Advanced apprenticeships are the level above Intermediate and are still a relatively low level of apprenticeship, which means they are great for somebody at the beginning of their career or somebody leaving education. It’s common to do an advanced apprenticeship after completing an intermediate apprenticeship.
Level: 4 and 5
Education equivalent/qualification earned: foundation degree, Higher National Diploma, NVQ Level 4
Duration: Typically takes 3 – 5 years
Higher apprenticeships are a much more advanced apprenticeship level, meaning that more employers will be looking for prior knowledge or experience in the field. There is often more competition for higher apprenticeships. They appeal to both young people trying to take the next step in their education and adults who might be re-training or qualifying in their industry.
Level: 6 and 6
Education equivalent/qualification earned: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree.
Duration: Typically taken 3 – 6 years
Degree apprenticeships are the highest level of apprenticeship and are much more specialised than previous levels. They are typically offered in roles that need an advanced level of knowledge, for example, a STEM subject or lots of experience. Degree apprenticeships are a partnership between an employer and a university or higher education institution.
You should encourage students interested in university to consider a degree apprenticeship as they enable students to get a degree without paying tuition fees whilst also earning a wage.
For more information on how to support students considering apprenticeships, visit our guide for parents and teachers.