Why do an Intermediate Apprenticeship?

An Intermediate Apprenticeship can be a great choice for school leavers, especially for those who don’t have lots of GCSE passes and want to ensure good career progression without taking the standard A-level route. 

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Intermediate Apprenticeships are the first level of apprenticeships, and the most popular level with around 298,000 people starting an Intermediate Apprenticeship in 2014/15.

Intermediate Apprenticeships: skills

Intermediate Apprenticeships are designed to equip you with the skills to thrive in the world of employment. On an Intermediate 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.

As well as basic skills, an Intermediate Apprenticeship offers young people a range of qualifications: a Level 2 Competence qualification, a Functional Skills qualification and a relevant knowledge-based qualification.

Intermediate Apprenticeships: qualifications

During the apprenticeship, you’ll study towards vocational qualifications that are relevant to your job. You can do Intermediate Apprenticeships in all sorts of areas and industries with all types of companies – which is why they’re a great option for people at the beginning of their careers.

The Level 2 qualification will usually be a NVQ at Level 2, which is equivalent to five GCSEs grades A*-C – perfect for those looking to boost their academic CV.  You might also work towards a BTEC, GCSE, or City & Guilds qualification, which will be useful in securing future employment.

Intermediate Apprenticeships: entry requirements

Intermediate Apprenticeships are also perfect for those without a long list of GCSE passes under their belts. Employers might ask for two or more GCSE grades (A*-C) or equivalent, but you might not need any formal qualifications at all – meaning the option is open to plenty of people.

An Intermediate Apprenticeship will improve your basic skills though – if you don’t have GCSEs in English and maths you’ll usually be required to take a basic numeracy and literacy test. If you don’t quite meet the entry requirements, the National Apprenticeship Service runs an Access to Apprenticeship pathway.

Intermediate Apprenticeships: career progression

Intermediate Apprenticeships also provide a stepping stone if you want to progress on to other schemes: once you’ve completed an intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll be eligible to move on to an Advanced Apprenticeship.

Intermediate Apprenticeships: pay

The work side of an Intermediate Apprenticeship is also a great you’ll also be paid: the minimum wage for apprentices is £3.90 an hour, but many employers pay their apprentices more than that. You will also gain enviable work-based experience at a relatively early stage – making you super-employable and able to cope well in a workplace environment. 

What qualifications will an Intermediate Apprenticeship get me?

On an Intermediate 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 2. These will include a Level 2 Competence qualification, a Functional Skills qualification and a relevant knowledge-based qualification.

Here is a list of Level 2 qualifications you could gain while on an Intermediate Apprenticeship.

Key Skills Level 2 

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 2 

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 2

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 2 

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 2

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 2 the qualifications are equivalent to GCSEs.

Intermediate Apprentices study towards vocational qualifications that are relevant to their jobs; you can do Intermediate Apprenticeships in all sorts of areas and industries with all types of companies. The Level 2 qualification will usually be a NVQ at Level 2, which is equivalent to five GCSEs grades A*-C, but you might also work towards a BTEC, GCSE, or City & Guilds qualification.

Once you’ve completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship, you’ll be eligible to move on to an advanced apprenticeship.

Image courtesy of Mike Kononov

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