Finding an Apprenticeship for 16-to-18-Year-Olds

Written by Calvin Bowers
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Whether you’re just leaving school or are thinking of changing courses, there are plenty of apprenticeship opportunities for 16-18 year olds. In this blog, we will break down the different types of apprenticeships and explain who each level is appropriate for.

While there is no maximum age limit for apprenticeships, you must be 16 to start one. There are four types of apprenticeship, each at a different qualification level. This means that apprenticeships for 16 year olds may not be right for 18 year olds. The level of apprenticeship you can do depends on your previous qualifications. The levels are intermediate, advanced, higher and degree.

Apprenticeships at 16

The lowest apprenticeship level is intermediate and would be an excellent option for those ages 16 who want to do an apprenticeship after GCSEs. Intermediate apprenticeships are at Level 2, which is equivalent to 5 GCSE’s, which means they are the perfect opportunity for those keen to leave the classroom environment and get started in a job. In 2018, 36% of all apprenticeships started were an intermediate apprenticeship.

You can find intermediate apprenticeships in the same way you would any other level. Many of the UK’s top employers offer apprenticeships, some of which start as early as level 2. Browse our jobs board to find opportunities near you, or get in touch with your local college. Many level 2 apprenticeships run their training from a college.

Apprenticeships at 18

Advanced apprenticeships are Level 3 and are considered the equivalent qualification to two A-level pass grades. These are an excellent option for 18 year olds, but they are open to anybody. One misconception about apprenticeships is that you have to have completed the previous level before moving to the next. In fact, each employer sets their requirements, and you don’t need to complete a Level 2 before you begin a Level 3. This means that an 18 year old can start a Level 3 apprenticeship after school or college, even if they have never done an apprenticeship before. You can find level 3 apprenticeships via UCAS, local colleges, on employer websites and jobs boards.

Advice on Finding & Completing an Apprenticeship 

Making the Right Decision

As a 16 or 18 year old, it can be tough to know what you want to do in the future. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to find the perfect job or career just yet. The main thing to focus on at the moment is finding an opportunity you will enjoy, learn from, and be able to progress in. An excellent place to start would be having a look at the apprenticeship career paths so you can explore some potential jobs and professions.

Common Sectors 

Some common sectors for Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships include:

  • Agriculture and Environment

  • Construction

  • Animal Care

  • Education

  • Hair and Beauty

  • Engineering and Manufacturing

Choosing a Company 

One way to find an apprenticeship you love is to choose a company you would like to work for and see if they are offering apprenticeships. Think about organisations or businesses who do work that you admire or provide excellent training and development opportunities. You might want to choose a local company or one further afield.

What if You Don’t Like Your Apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships aren’t right for everyone, and finding the right course can sometimes be challenging. If you want to leave your apprenticeship, you are free to at any time. You won’t have to pay back any money, but you also won’t qualify. For more information have a read of our guide to leaving an apprenticeship.

If you are a parent supporting a child who is thinking of an apprenticeship, visit our parent and teacher hub.

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Last Updated: Monday July 25 2022
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