An advanced apprenticeship, or Level 3 apprenticeship, is the apprenticeship level after intermediate and before Higher/Degree. It’s the equivalent qualification to two A-Level pass grades and is an excellent alternative to A-Levels. The beauty of advanced apprenticeships, when compared to A-Levels, is that you can find an apprenticeship in practically any field of work whereas the A-Level subjects are much more limited in their scope.

Advanced apprenticeships tend to take anywhere up to 24 months and are suitable for those over 16 so they take longer than the intermediate apprenticeships and also provide a better academic outcome once you have successfully completed them.

Entry Criteria for Advanced Apprenticeships

This apprenticeship level is usually open to those who have completed a Level 2 Intermediate apprenticeship or the equivalent GCSEs with five grades at 4-9/C-A*. However, there are some advanced apprenticeship programmes which do not have formal entry requirements, so make sure to check each one case by case. Those who have already completed a Level 3 qualification, such as A-Levels, can still do an advanced apprenticeship, as it can be a great way to gain more training and work experience.

What Does an Advanced Apprenticeship Entail?

Like all apprenticeships, you divide your time between working for the employer and training for qualifications. During the apprenticeship, you are working towards a qualification, which is equivalent to two A-Level passes. This is usually in the form of an NVQ Level 3 and a knowledge-based qualification certificate such as a BTEC Diploma. These qualifications tend to be accredited by the institution that provides your academic training, such as a local college.

Up to 80% of your time on the apprenticeship is spent working and gaining experience, supported by your mentor. This is known as on-the-job training. The rest of the time, at least 20% of the time, is spent studying for your academic qualifications as part of your off-the-job training. 

You may study via an in-house programme, but a local college or training provider usually runs the training and provides the venue for learning. There are more and more places running the off-the-job training remotely so it may be that instead of going to college, you can do that component remotely from home.  

Advanced Apprenticeship – Workplace Expectations

In an Advanced Apprenticeship, you will have more responsibility than at an intermediate level. You may be required to manage small parts of the team. Everything you do will be monitored and supported by your manager and mentor. This means that you won’t be left feeling out of your depth.

You will be expected to act in a mature and responsible manner, with more emphasis on undertaking the workplace component in a satisfactory manner than may have been the case during an intermediate apprenticeship. There is less leeway for apprentices who are only there to pass the time and aren’t actually all that interested in being there. 

It is important to embrace the enhanced responsibilities that you are given, and to understand that they represent an opportunity to show what you can do. Each time you are given more responsibility is a chance to enhance your reputation within the company and to make the case for being taken on permanently when your apprenticeship has been successfully completed. 

Try to cultivate positive relationships with your manager and mentor as even if there isn’t a job to offer you at the completion of your apprenticeship, they will be great people to have as positive references on your CV. 

Job Roles and Career Options

The job roles available at the Advanced Apprenticeship level vary massively, including Advertising and media, Assistant accountant, Teaching assistant, Dental nurse, Infrastructure technician, and many more. Both small and large businesses offer Advanced Apprenticeships, and the content of each is different. Because of this, it is important to do your research and figure out which of the possible apprenticeship roles fits your interests and aspirations for the future. 

After successfully completing a Level 3 apprenticeship, you have many career options open to you. The company u completed your apprenticeship at may offer you a full-time job, or you may choose to take your qualification with you to apply for jobs elsewhere. 

In around two-thirds of cases, people who manage to complete an apprenticeship successfully are offered a permanent job with the company they have apprenticed at. It is often the case that this was why the company wanted an apprenticeship in the first place, specifically to equip someone with the skills that they were lacking within their organisation. 

In the event that you don’t want to stop learning and training once your apprenticeship has been completed, you may be suited to move onto a degree level qualification, either at University or with a Higher or Degree level apprenticeship.

Advanced Apprenticeship Example

The National Grid is a great national company that provides a competitive advanced apprenticeship. The programme’s outline and benefits include:

  • Year One is spent at a training academy, with full board accommodation, to complete safety and technical training. This allows you to benefit from intensive training and potentially avoid other rental and energy costs. This could amount to quite a financial saving.
  • Year Two, you continue your academic training and technical skills by spending time on-site and in academic centres and completing a work log of practical tasks that will demonstrate your suitability for a continued role with the company.
  • There is the opportunity to extend the apprenticeship to Years Three and Four, where you will spend even more time on-site and extend your skills and knowledge further.
  • A very competitive starting salary of £18,326pa.

To learn more about advanced apprenticeships at the National Grid you can click here. This is one of a number of excellent apprenticeship opportunities offered by companies large and small across the UK.  

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