Advanced Apprenticeships: the basics

Find out who can do Advanced Apprenticeships, the qualifications and skills school leavers will be expected to have when they apply, and help available to up-skill those who don't quite meet the prerequisites.

Placeholder

The great thing about an Advanced Apprenticeship is that it is designed to be accessible to lots of young people, though obviously there are some prerequisites. If you want to become an Advanced Apprentice you will need to show that you have the ability to complete the programme.

Advanced Apprenticeships: entry requirements

The entry requirements will vary depending on the training provider and employer. Generally, to be eligible to do an Advanced Apprenticeship you must have either completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship or hold five or more GCSE grades (A*-C) or equivalent, or but that’s not always the case.

If you need to improve your skills, such as literacy and numeracy, there’s an Access to Apprenticeship scheme run by the National Apprenticeship Service that will help you out.

The prerequisites for Advanced Apprenticeships can also vary from industry to industry: some employers might be looking for applicants with specific experience or academic results in certain subjects related to their industry. They also might be looking for people happy to work in specific situations or with particular skills and experience.

Advanced Apprenticeships: example job advert

For example, here is an extract from the National Grid Advanced Apprenticeship job description:

We look for at least five GCSEs (Grade C or above), which must include Maths, English Language and one science, technology or engineering subject, together with a real interest in technical matters.

Travelling within a 50 mile radius, you’ll be working on site for anything from two hours and up to two weeks – experiencing the extremes this job can offer. This could mean working in confined spaces where breathing apparatus is needed (for which you’ll need to be clean shaven) it’s something you need to feel comfortable about.

Advanced Apprenticeships: career progression

Advanced Apprenticeships are perfect for people who want to move on to the next level – a Higher Apprenticeship – as they are a prerequisite for those schemes, but they are also useful for those wanting to stay in education and training (all those born on or after September 1997 must now remain in some form of education or training until at least their 18th birthday) but who do not want to follow the standard route.

What qualifications will an Advanced Apprenticeship get me?

On an Advanced Apprenticeship, you’ll spend most of the time working for an employer and learning on-the-job, but you’ll also spend some time at a training institution or local college, gaining qualifications at Level 3. These will include a Level 3 Competence qualification, a Functional Skills qualification and a relevant knowledge-based qualification.

Completing an Advanced Apprenticeship is the equivalent to gaining two A-level passes. You’ll also gain relevant technical certificates or qualifications (depending on your type of apprenticeship).

Advanced Apprenticeships generally last between one year and four years, although they can be longer.

Here is a list of the Level 3 qualifications you could gain while on an Advanced Apprenticeship.

Key Skills Level 3

Key skills are employability skills that you need for the world of work (and for life in general!). By developing them, you'll improve your chances of getting a job and thriving in your career.

NVQ Level 3 

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are work-based awards achieved through assessment and training, proving that candidates must prove that they have the ability (competence) to carry out their job to the required standard.

Skills for Life Level 2 

Skills for Life is the national strategy in England for improving adult literacy, language, and numeracy skills.

Higher diploma 

All Diplomas are structured in the same way, with three elements:

1. Principal learning is the subject specific learning, for example Creative and Media

2. Generic learning incorporates functional skills (literacy, numeracy, IT), the project, work experience, personal learning and thinking skills

3. Additional and Specialist Learning includes further qualifications, such as picking up a GCSE, that can be included in the Diploma.

The Higher Diploma is equivalent to seven GCSEs at grades A* to C.

BTEC award, certificate and diploma Level 3

BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content.

Functional Skills Level 2 

Functional Skills are practical skills in English, maths and ICT, providing an individual with essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and work.

Cambridge National Level 3 

Cambridge Nationals were launched in 2012 and designed specifically for students aged 14–16. They're industry-relevant, geared to key sector requirements.

Cambridge Technical Level 3

Cambridge Technicals are vocational qualifications aimed at secondary school students age 16-18 (who have completed Key Stage 4) to study a practical, work-related curriculum. At Level 3 the qualifications are equivalent to A-levels.

Advanced Apprentices study towards vocational qualifications that are relevant to their jobs; you can do Advanced Apprenticeships in all sorts of areas and industries with all types of companies.

Once you’ve completed an Advanced Apprenticeship, you’ll be eligible to move on to a Higher Apprenticeship.

How long is an advanced apprenticeship? 

Apprenticeships can take between one and five years to complete, depending on their level. As a guide, an Advanced Apprenticeship usually takes around 24 months.

The Advanced Apprenticeships displayed on the AllAboutSchoolLeavers jobs board often demonstrate the range of lengths employers give their programmes; from an unusually short one year scheme, to the standard two years, all the way up to a much longer four years. In general, Advanced Apprenticeships last about 24 months – two years.

All apprenticeships should last at least a year, and lead to a national, recognised qualification, following a 'framework' developed by Sector Skills Councils. Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2) for example, usually last between 12 and 18 months. 

Young workers under 18 must not exceed an eight-hour working day or 40 hours per week. They are also entitled to paid holidays and rest breaks of at least 30 minutes if their shift lasts more than four and half hours.

Advanced Apprenticeships: training 

Advanced Apprenticeships offer work-based experience alongside training at a Level 3 qualification; completing an Advanced Apprenticeship is the equivalent to gaining two A-level passes.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship, you’ll spend most of the time working for an employer and learning on-the-job, but you’ll also spend some time at a training institution or local college, gaining qualifications at Level 3. These will include a Level 3 Competence qualification, a Functional Skills qualification and a relevant knowledge-based qualification.

You will gain relevant technical certificates or qualifications (depending on your type of apprenticeship), such as an NVQ Level 3, Key Skills Level 3 and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC.

Advanced Apprenticeships: entry requirements

Generally, to be eligible to do an Advanced Apprenticeship you must have either completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship or hold five or more GCSE grades (A*-C), making them more accessible to young people than Higher Apprenticeships or A-levels might be.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Like what you're reading?

We hate spam, so we'll only ever send stuff relevant to you.