Who are apprenticeships for?

Apprenticeships are a great route to get into your chosen career, and they're open to everyone over the age of 16.

Apprenticeships are available to everyone over the age of 16. Many people think that apprenticeships are only open to young people, but that's not the case. An apprenticeship may suit you if you:

  • enjoy both hands-on and classroom-based learning
  • are willing to commit to work and study at the same time
  • are ready to start work with an employer, and be based in the workplace most of the time
  • are ready to be assessed through a mix of assignments and written work, including essays, reports, and practical exercises

To be considered for an apprenticeship programme, you need to be:

  • aged 16 or over
  • living in the UK
  • not in full-time education
Reena is a mature teaching apprentice.

How do they work?

During an apprenticeship, you’ll spend 80% of the working week at your place of employment, clocking in hours and building up holiday pay, just like any other employee. For the rest of the time, you’ll study the theory behind what you’re doing at work. This can be through a university or college, or studying at work, usually one day a week. It’s down to whatever suits you and your employer best, so make sure you discuss it in your interview. 

You’ll earn a salary, and your course fees will be covered by your employer and the government. You just have to be willing to put in the work and manage your time between work and study. You'll need to demonstrate you can do your job effectively, by putting what you study into practice.

  • You can earn and learn at the same time, while getting practical experience
  • You won't have to pay any tuition fees to gain your qualification
  • You will gain real knowledge, skills, and experience to help you succeed in the world of work
  • It can be difficult to balance academic study with work commitments — you need to be well organised
  • Your experience of student life will be different to those attending full-time courses at university or college
  • The initial apprenticeship wage you start on may be quite lower than other jobs, and you'll need to cover your day-to-day living costs

Richard - Senior Apprenticeship Manager at BT

One thing I’m passionate about is making it clear that apprenticeships are available to everyone and factors like age, background or status have no relevance. They are a systematic approach to learn and develop a new skill whether that’s straight after school, after college or for someone looking for a career change.

Emma - Apprentice at Bauer Media

I always thought apprenticeships were just for school leavers so didn’t realise it was an option for me as I’d already started my career. I don’t think you can ever stop developing so if you want to progress, it’s a great way to either get your foot in the door early on, or develop the role you’re already in.

Discover which apprenticeship might suit you

Interested in an apprenticeship but not sure what you want to do? Get to know the different industries offering apprenticeships, from marketing to architecture and business management to engineering.

Explore industries

Support for disabled people taking an apprenticeship

Being disabled shouldn’t limit your job or study choice, and apprenticeships can be a great route for you to get into your chosen career.

Here’s our complete guide to disability support for apprentices to help you find out more.

International students

You can do an apprenticeship as an international student, but you need to be eligible to work in the UK and have the necessary visas. You need to look at the details of each apprenticeship vacancy and contact the university/college and employer to check their eligibility criteria.


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