Higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain Level 4 qualifications or above, with most apprentices gaining an NVQ Level 4, HND, or foundation degree. Some offer the opportunity to progress to Level 7 (which is postgraduate degree level).
A higher apprenticeship can take from one to five years to complete, and involve part-time study at a college, university, or training provider.
According to government figures, 90% of apprentices in England stayed on in employment after completing their qualification; 71% with the same employer.
Entry requirements can include at least five GCSEs grades A* – C (9 – 4 on the new grading system), including English and maths subjects, and Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQs, or a BTEC. Some employers will expect or require applicants to have studied subjects relevant to the apprenticeship.
Competition for higher apprenticeships can be tough — partly because there are often only a limited number of vacancies, but also because school/college leavers and adults already in employment can apply for them. Employers may also be considering applications from existing employees, for the career progression opportunities they can offer.
How do they work?
What are the benefits of higher apprenticeships?
How are apprentices recruited?
Higher apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries and job roles – there are over 40 higher apprenticeship frameworks, including in these industries:
- construction, planning and the built environment
- agriculture, horticulture and animal care
- arts, media and publishing
- business, administration and law
- engineering and manufacturing technologies
- education and training
- information and communication technology
- science and mathematics
- retail and commercial enterprise
- health, public services and care
See our summary of sectors offering apprenticeships. To get an idea of what Level 4 apprenticeships are available, take a look at the government's A-Z list of apprenticeships. You can find out more on the GOV.UK website.