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What is an Advanced Apprenticeship?

Advanced apprenticeships - aka "level 3 apprenticeships" - are a chance for you to gain training in your chosen career, all while working a paid job. You generally need a few GCSEs to start one, although you can often pick these up while you work.

In this post, we explore how level 3 apprenticeships differ from other types of apprenticeship, and whether they could be the right choice for you.

'Advanced apprenticeships are a great opportunity to develop skills while being paid'

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What is an advanced apprenticeship?

An advanced apprenticeship is a level above an intermediate apprenticeship and one below a higher or degree apprenticeship. They are a great opportunity to gain qualifications and work experience at the same time, while being paid. You'll be employed by a company that offers a scheme and will benefit from on-the-job training as well as having the chance to study with a training provider, probably at college but maybe at work.

Typically, you'll split your time between attending college or learning, and working on-site. This approach means that by the time you've completed your apprenticeship, you'll have both qualifications and experience to show, which is a big plus when it comes to applying for full-time jobs. In some cases, once you've completed your scheme, the employer may be able to offer you a permanent position with the company.

At the moment in the UK, there a lot of large employers over various different industries that offer apprenticeship schemes to students with relevant qualifications.

Most schemes last between one and four years, although it's rare for a level 3 apprenticeship to last that long.

What qualifications do you need for an advanced apprenticeship?

Graduates studying
Employers typically look for five GCSEs at grade 4 or above

In order to apply for an advanced apprenticeship programme, you'll need to have the relevant qualifications. Although they vary from place to place, employers normally look for students to have five GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above. It will help your application if you have a GCSE that relates directly to the industry you're applying for. For example, if you're applying for an engineering apprenticeship, it'll help if you have a GCSE in maths or physics. It's not always a must, as you can sometimes gain the basic "functional skills" while doing your apprenticeship.

What qualifications will I gain with an advanced apprenticeship?

One of the biggest benefits of an apprenticeship is the opportunity to "earn while you learn".  On a level 3 apprenticeship, you'll work towards level 3 work-based learning qualification. This could be an NVQ Level 3 or a functional skills qualification (if you don't have GCSEs, for example). You'll often gain a knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC. 

Once you've completed a programme, you may be able to apply for a higher apprenticeship.

Are advanced apprenticeships paid?

You'll have the opportunity to earn as you learn

Yes, advanced apprenticeships are paid.

Typically, you can expect to earn roughly between £150 and £190 a week.

The apprenticeship minimum wage is currently £4.30 per hour (2021).

Once you reach 19, and have completed at least one year of your apprenticeship, your pay will increase to a minimum of £6.56 per hour and then to £8.36 (2021) if you're 21 or over. In most cases though, employers tend to pay more than the minimum wage.

What advanced apprenticeship opportunities are out there?

Advanced apprenticeships are normally offered by large companies although you do find some medium-sized businesses offering schemes too. Examples of jobs you can train for with an advanced apprenticeship include:

At Success at School, we have a whole section of our website dedicated to listing the latest apprenticeship opportunities – check it out to see what you could apply for today.

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All images by F 5.6 via Flickr