Apprenticeship basics


Get paid and get trained on an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a job.  You work for an employer and learn skills and knowledge whilst also being trained in the skills employers want.  You will learn at a pace that suits you and are supported by a mentor. 

Across the country there are many types of apprenticeship, covering a wide variety of occupations from surveying to accountancy to veterinary nursing.  In Norfolk alone there are 250 types of apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships can take between one and six years, depending on the level of apprenticeship, your ability and the industry sector you are working in.

The minimum salary for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour.  This applies to all apprentices aged under 19 or to those in the first year of their apprenticeship. However, research has shown that many apprentices are earning significantly more than this.

Apprentices are expected to be employed and paid for at least 30 hours per week for a minimum of one year.


Most of your training will take place on the job, with the remainder usually taking place at a local college or work-based training provider. You may be attending your off-the-job training on day release or possibly over a number of days in a block which could be at a local or national training centre.

Some apprenticeships also require you to complete an assessment at the end of the programme to assess your ability and competence in your job role.

Levels of Apprenticeship

Intermediate Apprenticeship Level 2
You may work towards qualifications that relate specifically to your job role alongside functional skills (eg maths and English) and other elements that teach you what you need to know about your rights and responsibilities at work.  
These provide you with the skills and knowledge you need for your chosen career and might allow you to progress to more senior roles or into an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
Advanced Apprenticeship Level 3
You may work towards qualifications specific to your job role and will undertake more complex tasks and learn further technical skills as well as studying maths and English.  You will also learn about your rights and responsibilities as an employee and supervisor.  There are some Advanced Apprenticeships that do not require supervisory experience but teach you a skilled trade at an advanced level.
To start on an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you should ideally have five GCSEs (grade C or above (9-4)) or have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
An Advanced Level Apprenticeship can lead to professional qualifications or possibly a Higher Level Apprenticeship or Degree Level Apprenticeship and can also be a way into higher education.
Higher Apprenticeship Level 4, 5, 6 and 7 You work towards work-based learning qualifications and will study for a relevant professional qualification such as a Higher National Certificate or Diploma or a Foundation Degree. To be able to complete a Higher Level Apprenticeship you need to be in work and training at managerial or professional level.

Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6 and 7)

Degree Apprenticeships offer a real alternative to full-time higher education and make it possible for you to achieve a Batchelor's or Master's Degree as part of your apprenticeship, but without the tuition fees.  You will be employed and working whilst also studying part-time at a university.  Degree Apprenticeships can take between three to six years to complete and require commitment and self-motivation as you will be working as well as studying.

To find the right apprenticeship you may have to relocate or travel (for instance, the degree part of the apprenticeship may be at a university that is located in a different part of the country to where you are working).

Degree Apprenticeships are available in a growing number of sectors, including: social media and digital marketing, law, automative engineering, banking, construction, chartered surveying, electronic systems engineering, aerospace engineering, aerospace software development, defence systems engineering, laboratory science, nuclear, power systems, financial advice, human resources, nursing, teaching and public relations.

Find more information on higher and degree apprenticeships on GOV.UK

Finding local Apprenticeship vacancies

  • Try your local paper
  • Look on your school, sixth form or college notice board
  • Contact employers directly
  • Ask family and friends to see if the companies they work for have apprenticeship opportunities
  • You can find live apprenticeship vacancies on the Help You Choose Apprenticeships & Training pages
  • Register and apply for apprenticeship vacancies at the Find an apprenticeship page on GOV.UK

Want to know more?

Download 'Your Guide to Apprenticeships in Norfolk'

Click here to go to the page listing local and national providers with more apprenticeship information.