Advanced Apprenticeships: what could I do?

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 09 Jan 2020

Advanced Apprenticeships offer a lot of different career paths, beyond the conventional routes you may have heard of. Check out what Advanced Apprenticeships you could pursue, including the type of work each industry involves, and the career progression offered by each industry.


Plumbing apprenticeships 

An apprenticeship is a great way to get into plumbing, and there are Advanced Apprenticeships available as part of the government’s construction, planning and built environment apprenticeships framework.

The plumbing industry is a key part of the UK’s construction industry. It’s a highly competitive field that employs skilled craftspeople and technicians who work with a wide range of materials and technologies. Plumbers must be familiar with everything from domestic boilers to advanced welding techniques to computerised control systems.

Plumbing Advanced Apprenticeships: skills

From installing sanitation systems and servicing boilers to laying underground drainage pipes, plumbers work for the construction industry as well as for commercial and domestic clients. In recent years, the industry has also been involved with developing environmentally sound technologies like solar water heating and rainwater harvesting.

As a plumber, you could find yourself working in many different places – from construction sites to residential homes. Job prospects are good, with plenty of scope for self-employment.

Plumbing Advanced Apprenticeships: career progression

On an Advanced Apprenticeship in plumbing, you will train to become an advanced plumber. You’ll learn about the installation and maintenance of plumbing systems and components. You be working under minimal supervision to complete the installation and maintenance of domestic hot water, cold water, sanitation, drainage, rainwater systems, central heating systems and components.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship, your skills base will broaden and you’ll be able to enter the profession at a higher level. For example you will able to complete and oversee work to install, service, maintain and commission domestic hot water, cold water, central heating and sanitation systems; domestic plumbing and heating systems, components and gas-fired warm air appliances; and gas-fired water and central heating appliances.

As with all apprenticeships, plumbing Advanced Apprenticeships will involve a combination of paid work and assessed training, with a training provider such as a further education college, all while being paid a proper wage. 

IT apprenticeships 

There are many opportunities to enter the IT industry as an Advanced Apprentice, which is a Level 3 qualification – equivalent to an A-level.

IT application specialist Advanced Apprenticeships

This apprenticeship gives you the skills and knowledge to work effectively and efficiently with IT systems, communication and productivity tools, and software applications.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship you could work as a website manager:

·       Planning and contributing to designing websites

·       Creating multimedia content for websites

·       Working with IT professionals to build new websites

On an IT Advanced Apprenticeship you could train in roles like:

·       IT application helpdesk support

·       IT supervisor

·       Website manager

IT, software, web and telecoms professionals Advanced Apprenticeships

The IT industry develops computer solutions that help businesses and individuals become more successful in their work. IT professionals serve customers in all types of business. They could be developing software or websites, helping companies set up new systems, or training people to use their IT facilities.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship in this area you’ll have the choice of focusing on either telecoms or IT. Telecoms covers broadband, mobile phones and satellite communications. It’s a fast-moving sector so you should have a keen interest in new technology. You’ll learn things like:

·       Customer care

·       System security

·       Managing software development

·       Basic IT applications

On the Advanced Apprenticeship you could work as a software developer creating software applications and websites, or as a software tester, testing applications before they are released, training in roles like:

·       Software/web developer

·       Desktop support engineer

·       Network planner

·       Database administrator

·       Network engineer

·       Software tester

After completing an IT Advanced Apprenticeship, you could go onto a Higher Apprenticeship in IT security or cyber crime. You might then be eligible for a Degree Apprenticeship in IT. These programmes are fairly new so the areas you could move into are fairly limited, but extremely exciting. Degree Apprenticeships are available in computer science and computer games technology.

Electrician apprenticeships 

There are many ways of entering the electrician trade, and an Advanced Apprenticeship is a great option for school leavers.

Advanced Apprenticeships in the electrician industry covers the installation, maintenance and repair of electrotechnical equipment. You’ll work as an electrotechnical operative, specialising in one of four areas:

·       Building control panels for lighting, heating and ventilation systems

·       Finding faults and fixing them in a range of machinery

·       Installing and maintaining manufacturing systems

·       Testing and servicing a range of electromechanical equipment

Industrial electricians can be employed by organisations like:

·       Electrical contractors

·       Companies that provide a range of electrical and electronic services

·       Specialist operators

·       Local authorities

Advanced apprentices will be expected to have strong practical skills and advanced abilities. You’ll need to be able to follow technical drawings and understand health and safety regulations.

You could train in roles like:

·       Installation electrician

·       Maintenance electrician

·       Highway electrical systems service and maintenance electrician

·       Highway electrical systems commissioning electrician

You could also train to work with products, on a consumer electrical and electronic products apprenticeship.

The consumer electronics industry is focused on installing and maintaining electrical products like washing machines, sound systems, home cinema systems and dishwashers.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship in this area, the nature of your work will depend on your employer’s specialism. This is also the case for work environment, as consumer electricians can work across lots of different sectors including people’s homes, factories and businesses.

There are no minimum entry requirements for these apprenticeships. However you have a better chance of getting a placement if:

• You have good communication skills

• Are able to demonstrate appropriate English and maths skills, as paperwork is involved

• Are not colour-blind, as you might have difficulty with identifying colour coded wires and circuits if you are.

Advanced level apprentices train to become in roles consumer electrical and electronic products component faults repairers.

Army apprenticeships 

There are many army apprenticeships at the Advanced Apprenticeship programmes available in the British Army, which has the largest apprenticeship programme in the country.

Army Advanced Apprenticeships: specialisms

Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeships are equivalent to two A-level passes and apply to the army’s technical trades. The aim of apprenticeships is to provide training that is closely linked to a job, so the apprenticeships offered reflect whatever army role is chosen: the programmes offered by the infantry are different to those offered by Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) or The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), for example.

As such there are Advanced Apprenticeships available in the army in a wide range of areas, from information and communications, logistic operations, aviation operations, carpentry and joinery, to aeronautical engineering and even business administration.

Army Advanced Apprenticeships: qualifications

Advanced apprentices gain the relevant technical certificates through their trade training as well as an NVQ Level 3 and key skills. To qualify for an advanced apprenticeship, five GCSEs at grade C or above are required. Alternatively, a Level 2 (intermediate) army apprenticeship is acceptable.

About 95% of new soldiers take part in these apprenticeships and over 8,000 complete their apprenticeship training each year.

Army apprenticeships are part of a nationally recognised scheme, giving soldiers the chance to work for an employer at the same time as studying for a relevant, work-based qualification.

Army Advanced Apprenticeships: training

Each Advanced Apprenticeship fits in with military training and is closely related to a soldier’s army role, so as well as becoming a better soldier, they are working towards a qualification that will be valued by civilian employers. Apprenticeships in the Army are delivered on full pay.

An army Advanced Apprenticeship is only the start of your career with the armed forces. Every job in the army offers the opportunity to progress to gain professional skills leading to higher qualifications, including full bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Business apprenticeships 

You definitely do not need a degree to enter the world of business. Business apprenticeships are available at Advanced Apprenticeship level, and help you train for the industry without incurring any university debt – in fact, you’ll be paid a full-time wage.

The following apprenticeships sit within the government’s business, administration and law apprenticeships framework.

Business and administration Advanced Apprenticeships

Administrators handle the day-to-day tasks in an office and make sure things run smoothly. This sort of work requires a strong sense of responsibility, accuracy and attention to detail.

This covers roles that involve organising people and resources such as:

·       Executive assistants

·       Secretaries

·       Administration assistants

·       Data entry clerks

·       Office juniors

As a business and administration apprentice, your exact duties will depend on your employer but could include typing up board meeting documents, putting financial information together in spread sheets, sending the daily post, and faxing and photocopying confidential documents.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship in business and administration you could train in roles like:

·       Administration officer / executive

·       Administration team leader / office supervisor

·       Personal assistant

·       Secretary

·       Legal secretary

·       Medical secretary

Management Advanced Apprenticeships

Good managers are essential to the success of any business, so the skills gained on this apprenticeship are transferable and valuable across a range of sectors and job roles.

The Advanced Apprenticeship in management includes planning, allocating and monitoring the work of a team; supporting team members; managing conflict; resolving problems; project management; agreeing budgets; and managing customer service.

Advanced apprentices in management could train in roles like:

·       Section manager

·       First line manager

·       Assistant manager

·       Trainee manager

·       Senior supervisor

·       Junior non-commissioned officer

After an Advanced Apprenticeship in business, you could go onto a Higher Apprenticeship in a related field, such as business consultancy, or a school leaver programme or sponsored degree in a business-related field. You might even be eligible to do a Degree Apprenticeship in business management.

Law apprenticeships 

There are many ways of entering law and the legal sector without going to university; with an law apprenticeships at Advanced Apprenticeship level you only need A-levels to dive right in. 

Here are some of the Advanced Apprenticeships in law that could help you move forward in your legal career.

Legal services Advanced Apprenticeships

This apprenticeship covers assisting trained lawyers to handle their casework and in some situations, dealing with clients yourself. There are a variety of roles apprentices could hold depending on the legal sector of their employer, as well as the level of their apprenticeship.

On Advanced Apprenticeships in legal services, you might be working in areas like criminal prosecution, civil litigation or employment law, or you could also work in family law, property, or even find yourself working for private clients

An apprenticeship in legal services will not lead to becoming a qualified solicitor or barrister. Currently, higher apprentices can only continue on to pathway in commercial litigation, debt recovery and personal injury.

Advanced level apprentices could train in roles like:

·       Paralegal officer

·       Paralegal assistant

·       Junior paralegal/litigation assistant (civil litigation)

·       Junior paralegal/legal assistant (employment practice)

·       Junior paralegal/legal assistant (family practice)

·       Junior paralegal/conveyancing assistant (property)

·       Junior paralegal/legal assistant (private client practise)

·       Legal advisor

·       Legal assistant

Legal advice Advanced Apprenticeships

Legal advisers are needed to help the general public understand legal matters that relate to their personal and professional lives. Many of the legal advice providers in the country are not-for-profit bodies that are funded publically. Many people in legal advice are volunteers who are not looking for career progression routes. So with an apprenticeship you can progress quickly.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship in legal advice you can train as a generalist legal advisor, or as a caseworker.

After completing an Advanced Apprenticeship in the law industry, you could move onto a Higher Apprenticeship. These are available in roles like senior claims handler, senior paralegal officer and senior litigation executive.

Engineering apprenticeships 

There are many engineering apprenticeships available at the Advanced Apprenticeship level. You could work in roles as wide ranging as product support engineer, aircraft systems fitter and marine engine fitter, to tool-maker, metal forger and CAD draught person

Here are some examples that sit within the government’s engineering and manufacturing technologies apprenticeships framework, along with the details of the jobs and training those on an Advanced Apprentice can expect.

Composite engineering Advanced Apprenticeships

A composite engineer works in a company that produces or uses composite materials (strong lightweight material developed in a lab). The two biggest sectors affected by the composite market are aerospace and wind energy.

The engineer helps with the production and overseeing of the creation of the materials as well as their use in other products.

Those wanting to do a composite engineering Advanced Apprenticeship will need some science qualifications as well as the basic maths and English skills required: grade C or above in all three GCSEs, or an equivalent qualification.

As an Advanced Apprentice you can train in more specialised roles like:

·       GRP finisher/laminator (large structures)

·       GRP finisher/laminator (small structures)

·       Carbon fibre pre preg technicians

·       Composite technician

·       Manufacturing process engineer

·       Composite assembly/repair technician

·       Tooling engineer

·       Composite pattern maker

·       Composite assemblies fitter


Engineering manufacture (craft and technician) Advanced Apprenticeships

This apprenticeship covers several categories:

·       Aerospace

·       Automotive

·       Metals

·       Electrical equipment

·       Electronics

·       Marine maintenance

·       Mechanical engineering

The sort of work you’ll be doing will depend on your employer. Generally, engineering apprentices will learn to take on an operator role in a certain area of engineering. This could involve anything from assembling car engines to installing telecommunications systems. Most duties will involve the maintenance of equipment and machinery - as an electronics maintenance technician you’ll be carrying out:

·       Planned and emergency fault diagnosis and maintenance

·       Testing and repairing electronic equipment and circuits

·       Testing and repairing communications equipment

·       Testing and repairing instrumentation and control equipment

·       Servicing equipment and carry out quality inspections

You could also work as a project manager: planning, organising, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project objectives.

Those completing an Advanced Apprenticeship in engineering could onto a Higher Apprenticeship in something like space engineering, civil engineering or manufacturing engineering. They might then be eligible to do a Degree Apprenticeship in engineering. These programmes are fairly new so the areas you could move into are fairly limited, but extremely exciting. Degree Apprenticeships are available in aerospace engineering, manufacturing engineering and power engineering.

Hairdressing apprenticeships 

Apprenticeships are a great way for school leavers to get into hairdressing, and they are available at Level 3 – Advanced Apprenticeships – as part of the government’s retail and commercial enterprise apprenticeships framework.

Hairdressing Advanced Apprenticeships

This apprenticeship trains you in the basics of hairdressing. As a hairdressing apprentice, you’ll work as a salon junior, assisting senior staff while training as a junior stylist.

Work within hairdressing at this level includes:

·       Booking appointments

·       Shampooing

·       Conditioning

·       Drying and styling hair

·       Mixing and applying hair colouring

You’ll study topics such as hair and skin testing, the effects of chemicals on hair and skin, and the principles of hair colour selection – there’s also the option to learn about promoting products, perming, or relaxing different types of hair.

Advanced apprentices take their learning a step further by developing their cutting and colouring skills so they can carry out all the latest fashion techniques – and maybe even determine the fashion looks of the future.

On a hairdressing Advanced Apprenticeship you could train to be a stylist or a hairdresser.

Barbering Advanced Apprenticeships

This apprenticeship trains you to cut and style the hair of men and boys. If you are interested in also working on female hair you should look at the hairdressing apprenticeship.

On this Advanced Apprenticeship you’ll also learn about (and be tested on) other issues related to barbering such as:

·       Hygiene

·       Disposing of chemicals

·       Working in a team

·       Client consultations

·       Cutting hair

·       How to trim and shape facial hair

·       How to shampoo and condition hair and scalp

·       Colouring hair

·       Cutting basic patterns in hair

If you take this as an Advanced Apprenticeship you may learn how to carry out a shave or provide facial massage.

You’ll be on your feet and working to please all sorts of customers, so a friendly nature and good sense of humour will come in handy. Your own appearance will also be important, since customers will want to know that creating a good impression matters to you.

On a barbering Advanced Apprenticeship you could train in roles like barber and senior barber.

Accounting apprenticeships 

You don’t need to go to university to get a great job in accountancy, there are many accounting apprenticeships available at the Advanced Apprenticeship level, as part of the government’s business, administration and law apprenticeships framework.

Running a business involves a lot of financial activities, from expenses and bills to taxes and payroll. Accounting is a highly skilled profession, with accounting staff working at many different levels. Those on an accounting Advanced Apprenticeship could train in roles like trainee accounting technician and assistant accountant.

Apprentices who qualify as accounting technicians might work as accounts assistants, credit control clerks, accounts clerks, or finance assistants, all helping accountants to keep financial records and prepare accounts.

Accounting Advanced Apprenticeships: skills

You’ll learn how to:

·       Balance accounts

·       Process invoices and payments

·       Complete VAT returns

·       Help prepare financial statements and reports

·       Handling banking and petty cash

Accounting Advanced Apprenticeships: career progression

If – after the Advanced Apprenticeship – you complete the Higher Apprenticeship, you can progress to full membership of the Association of Accounting Technicians. You could then complete a professional accountancy qualification with a chartered body.This progression can lead to a specialist role in accounting. It’s also possible to enter a higher education course in a subject related to accounting, banking, insurance, or other financial services.

You could do Higher Apprenticeships as an accounts manager or accounts technician, or even a Degree Apprenticeship in accounting. These programmes are fairly new so the areas you could move into are fairly limited, but extremely exciting. Degree Apprenticeships are available in accountancy, business, finance and law, and finance and accountancy.

Depending on the programme, those moving on from their Advanced or Higher Apprenticeships in accounting could to do a sponsored degree or school leaver programme in a related job. Sponsored degrees are available in accountancy, accountancy and finance, and economics.

There are school leaver programmes available in jobs such as trainee tax assistant, trainee accounts assistant and consulting.

As with all apprenticeships, accounting Advanced Apprenticeships will involve a combination of paid work and assessed training, with a training provider such as a further education college, all while being paid a proper wage. 

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