Level 2 apprenticeships are available in England. They’re also known as intermediate apprenticeships and are equivalent to GCSE standard, although an apprenticeship is a different type of learning.

They can help you take the first step towards your future career and offer an alternative to staying at school and learning in a traditional classroom environment.

If you want to work your way up, you can go on to complete advanced, higher, and degree apprenticeships.

What are the entry requirements for a Level 2 apprenticeship?

To be eligible for an intermediate apprenticeship, you need to be:

  • aged 16 or over (you can apply while you’re still at school, but you’ll need to be 16 by the time you start the apprenticeship)
  • living in England
  • not in full-time education

An apprenticeship is a real job, so you’ll also need to meet any other criteria set out by the employer. Entry requirements are different depending on the employer and the role, but generally, Level 2 apprenticeships don’t require any formal qualifications.

If you don’t already have GCSEs in English and maths, you will need to take functional skills as part of the apprenticeship, which is an alternative to GCSEs.

Remember, it’s not all about qualifications. Employers will be looking for willingness to learn, passion, and transferrable skills you could bring to the role.

Amanda – Training Manager, AB Ports

While there are entry requirements… a lot of what we look for is people's behaviours. We pay attention to how applicants express themselves and want to see things they’ve taken part in. Examples could be leadership programmes at school. 

Shaan – apprentice, AstraZeneca

Just be yourself because personality is so crucial when employers are selecting apprentices. You’ll learn the skills you need to along the way so it’s much more about whether you can demonstrate why you’re passionate and interested.

To find out what level might suit you, look at current apprenticeship vacancies and see their entry requirements. You’ll then be able to decide whether you might be more suitable for a different level instead.

How do Level 2 apprenticeships work?

An apprenticeship consists of mostly on-the-job training and some study away from work, which means you put what you learn into practice. You’ll spend most of your time at work and the rest in off-the-job learning with your college or a training provider. 

This often works out about four days a week at work, and one day learning, but this can vary depending on the apprenticeship. At the end of the apprenticeship, you’ll be assessed and then awarded your apprenticeship if you pass. This is nothing to worry about, you’ll have been building up your skills for the assessment throughout the apprenticeship.

£19,319*
The average salary of an apprentice in England.
*Glassdoor
76,500**
Number of people who started a Level 2 apprenticeship in 2021/2022.
**Gov.uk, Aug 21 – Apr 22
12 – 18
Average number of months it takes to complete a Level 2 apprenticeship (full-time).
Pros of an apprenticeship
  • You’re an employee and get paid a salary, a holiday allowance, and sick pay.
  • You’ll gain professional experience in your chosen career and put what you learn into practice daily.
  • You won’t have to pay any study costs, as they’re co-funded by your employer and the Government.
  • At the end of the apprenticeship, you’ll have a chance to secure permanent employment at the company.
Cons of an apprenticeship
  • It’s a real job. You’ll have to get to work on time and keep up with what’s expected of you.
  • You’ll need to manage your time so you can fit in working and studying. Your employer will support you, but you need to be organised.
  • With an apprenticeship, life is very different to going to uni. While there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people, it won’t be like going to uni.
  • You’ll get paid, but like any other job, you’ll be paying tax and national insurance. You need to manage your money well.

How do I apply for a Level 2 apprenticeship?

You apply for an apprenticeship directly through your chosen employer. You usually need to submit a CV and answer some questions about yourself. If you get through the first stage, you’ll be invited to an interview. Check out our handy guides for more information:

You can search for intermediate apprenticeships through our Career Finder tool.

What industries can I do an apprenticeship in?

Intermediate apprenticeships are offered in a wide range of industries, from IT to finance, and animal care, to name a few.

Explore industries