Intermediate apprenticeships are the first of the four levels of apprenticeships: Intermediate, Advanced, Higher, and Degree. Intermediate apprenticeships are a very popular option, especially for 16-year-olds leaving school. They provide a way for school leavers who are not particularly academically minded to forge a successful career in something they are more suited to doing and that they are both interested in and enjoy.

There is not only one route to success and apprenticeships offer an opportunity to get ahead of your peers who have opted to stay on at school and ultimately attend University, as you will be gaining experience and earning as you learn while they are still studying. This represents a real head start in your industry. Experience is one of the most valuable things that you can gain and working alongside colleagues while undertaking your apprenticeship can help some truly wonderful opportunities open up for you in the future.   

Reasons for an Intermediate Apprenticeship

In 2020/2021, 26.2% of apprenticeships started were at an intermediate level, although they are open to everybody at all different ages. There are lots of reasons to become an apprentice, but intermediate apprenticeships are especially useful for those without extensive qualifications or any work experience. They allow people in this situation to transition to a paid apprenticeship and to earn as they learn, potentially gaining valuable experience as well in their chosen area. 

If you are unsure about the prospect of taking that first step into the world outside of full-time education, intermediate apprenticeships are the perfect stepping stone. In these apprenticeships, you are provided with constant support, whilst having only a little pressure to perform in a job role. As you prove yourself to be diligent and capable, these responsibilities will grow and it is possible to develop into a highly valued member of the team.

If you are successful in your intermediate apprenticeship and get along well with your employer, they may want to keep you on longer and encourage you to undertake a more advanced apprenticeship with them. 

It is also entirely possible that they will offer you a job. Around two-thirds of apprentices stay on with their employer after successfully completing their apprenticeships so this is an excellent incentive to work hard and ensure that you make a success of it. 

Intermediate Apprenticeship Entry Qualifications

The qualifications needed to do an intermediate apprenticeship vary depending on the training provider, and some don’t require formal qualifications at all. This is most common with Intermediate Apprenticeships, although you must complete your Level 2 English, maths and digital qualifications before you can complete your course. By law, an employer can’t take on an apprentice unless they provide these qualifications because they are so integral to your career.

It makes sense that a basic level of competence in English, Maths and Digital is required in order that you are sufficiently able to communicate within the work and training environments. This can be vitally important for your health and safety and comfort in many environments where misunderstanding instructions can lead to potentially life-changing accidents for yourself and others.

Academic Component of Apprenticeships

An intermediate apprenticeship is the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes, at grades C-A*. During the programme, you work towards a qualification like an NVQ level 2 or a BTEC. This makes an intermediate apprenticeship a very desirable option for those who want to leave school at 16 but remain in a training and educational environment whilst, like all apprenticeships, you earn a wage.

Although you might question why you would gain a qualification equivalent to GCSE’s, you are also gaining invaluable work experience, something that very few people of your age will have the opportunity to do. 

Intermediate apprenticeships commonly take between just 12 to 18 months to complete and offer the opportunity to gain a foothold in a career and employment for life, in only a year to a year and a half. 

Which Industries Are Covered by Intermediate Apprenticeships?

As intermediate apprenticeships are the first level of apprenticeship offered, they cover a huge variety of sectors from construction, business, engineering and tourism, to journalism, arts and media. 

It’s a great way to get into a company or industry that you are interested in but don’t necessarily have any experience or training in it. It can be an easier way to get your foot in the door in your chosen industry than applying for a job via more traditional routes where you may be rejected for a lack of experience. 

Here are some examples of Intermediate Apprenticeships in different industries:

Beauty Therapist – Hair and Beauty

A beauty therapist apprenticeship is typically 15 months long, you gain a Level 2 Diploma, and you learn a range of beauty therapy techniques, such as waxing services, nail treatment and make-up application.

Junior Estate Agent – Sales, Marketing and Procurement

This apprenticeship takes a minimum of 12 months, learning different professional knowledge, skills and behaviours, including property valuation, market research and time management. Completion of the course may allow you to apply for the NAEA Propertymark.

HM Forces Serviceperson – Protective Services

Being an HM Forces Serviceperson includes full-time employment in a team working on a range of tasks and organisations. It is common to be offered progression on the higher levels of apprenticeships within the HM Forces upon completion of this apprenticeship.

Apply for an Intermediate Apprenticeship

Given that you can leave the apprenticeship at any time, at no cost to yourself, there is no risk involved in trying it out. If this sounds good to you, you should read our guidance on how to apply for an apprenticeship. If you would like to find out where any apprenticeship could take you, see our page about potential career paths.

At Employing an Apprenticeship, we are committed to ensuring everyone has access to equal opportunities. You can explore hundreds of roles available on our Apprenticeship Standards Search Tool.

Looking for Other Apprenticeship Types? Explore the links below to find out more: