Apprenticeships and School Leaver Programmes

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What are Apprenticeships?

Apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £2.60 per hour; however, many apprentices earn significantly more. 

Who are they for?

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years-old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. Click HERE to read about five reasons why apprenticeships are a real alternative to university.

What levels are available?

There are three types of apprenticeship, intermediate, advanced and higher. There are different entry requirements for each, and each of these apprenticeships are equivalent to qualifications you can receive at school.

An intermediate apprenticeship is aimed at students with two or more GCSEs at A*- C level. Intermediate apprentices spend the majority of their time working with an employer, developing skills on-the-job, while studying towards a vocational qualification. Vocational qualifications are designed to give the student the knowledge and skills to perform a particular job. At the end of an intermediate apprenticeship, you will have gained a qualification equivalent to five GCSEs. After this, you can work towards a BTEC, or begin an advanced apprenticeship.

An advanced apprenticeship is the step above an intermediate apprenticeship, but operates similarly. The entry requirements for advanced apprenticeships are 5 GCSEs A*- C. An advanced apprentice will work as a full-time employee, and attend college or an in-house training centre on a day release basis. If you complete an advanced apprenticeship, you will be rewarded with a level 3 NVQ, and a knowledge-based qualification. These qualifications are equivalent to two A-levels.

The required grades for a higher apprenticeship are typically two A-levels or an advanced apprenticeship. A higher apprenticeship can be the equivalent of a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC).

Degree apprenticeships:

  • are the latest model to be developed as part of higher apprenticeship standards, with apprentices achieving a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as a core component of the apprenticeship
  • combine both higher and vocational education and fully test both the wider occupational competence and academic learning, either using a fully-integrated degree co-designed by employers and Higher Education Institutions, or using a degree plus separate end test of professional competence

Click HERE to read more about degree apprenticeships at 'Success at School'.

Are they competitive?

There may be different entry requirements depending on the apprenticeship and the industry sector. However competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you. You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.


Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well. As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation. You can complete this off-the-job training on day release or over a number of days in a block.

Check your email.....

Apprenticeship and school leaver opportunities that come to our attention are regularly emailed round to the year groups for whom they are relevant, so do keep an eye on your email and make sure you are not losing useful things in 'Clutter'!


Click on the image below to read a brand new magazine about apprenticeships.

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Here are some of the latest companies and organisations offering higher and degree apprenticeships - sourced from The Times.

A more updated (and much longer) list can also be downloaded from the bottom of this page - the list also contains closing dates and direct application links.

In More Detail....

Click on the image below to read more about the different levels of apprenticeship, school leaver programmes, sponsored degree courses and traineeships, courtesy of the 'Rate My Apprenticeship' website. You can also read the UCAS Guide to Apprenticeships, which is available as a download from the bottom of this page.

Latest Vacancies

Click on the government logo below to get an up to date list of the latest higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies together with links to apply directly for them - this is regularly updated and you can sign up for email updates from the page:


The following employers are involved in providing degree apprenticeships:

Electronic systems engineering – Embedded Systems Development Engineer

Renishaw, Embecosm, Frontier Silicon, Sensium Healthcare, Toumaz, Imagination Technologies, Schneider Electric, BAE Systems, Thales, FlexEnable, Emerson Process Management, Measurement Technology, Automated Technology Group, Selex ES, ARM, ESCO, Electronics Yorkshire, GAMBICA, NMI

Surveying – Chartered Surveyor

Gardiner and Theobald, Axis, DTZ, Faithorn Farrell Timms, DSB Construction Consultants, Valuation Office Agency, Transport for London, EC Harris, Martin Arnold Associates, Collier & Madge, CBRE, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, London Southbank University, Birmingham City University

Life and Industrial Sciences – Laboratory Scientist

Actavis, Aesica Pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca, BCM, Essar, Fujifilm Diosynth, Biotechnologies, GSK, Ineos, Lotte Chemical UK, Lucite, Medimmune, Pfizer Inc, SABIC UK Petrochemicals, Sellafield, Sembcorp, Seralab, Synergy Outsourcing, Victrex, Broughton Laboratories, Centre for Process Innovation, Royal Society of Chemistry, Society of Biology, JayTee, Centre for Process Innovation, Greenwich University, Kent University, Manchester Metropolitan University

Defence – Advanced Systems Engineer

Atkins, Altran, BAE Systems, Cobham, General Dynamics, Marshall, MBDA, MoD DE&S, MoD Dstl, MooD International, QinetiQ, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Selex ES, Serco and Thales, Cranfield, University College London, Bristol University, Loughborough University

Aerospace – Aerospace Engineer and Aerospace Software Engineer

BAE Systems, Airbus, Rolls Royce, GE Aviation Power & Systems, GKN Aerospace, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Augusta Westland Ltd, Magellan Aerospace (UK) Ltd, GTA England, Lancaster University, Blackpool and Fylde College, University of Central Lancashire


Sellafield, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Atkins, Ultra Electronics, Jacobs, Westinghouse Springfields, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Ministry of Defence, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Office for Nuclear Regulation, Magnox Ltd, Research Sites Restoration Ltd, Low Level Waste Repository, EDF Energy, National Skills Academy for Nuclear, National Nuclear Laboratory, Bristol University, Manchester University – Dalton Institute

Power Engineering

Amey, National Grid, UK Power Networks, E.ON ,Freedom, Electricity North West, SSE, Siemens, EDF Energy, Alstom, Scottish Power, Northern Powergrid, Energy & Utility Skills, The Engineering Council, Coventry University

Public Relations

Claremont, On Broadcast, Talk PR, KOR Communications Ltd, Salix Consulting, Golin, PRCA, Taste PR, Tala PR, Storm PR

Digital Industries – Technology Solutions Professional

Accenture, Bright Future, BT, CapGemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GSK, HMRC, HP, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail, Tata Consulting Services, Apadmi, Tech Partnership, Aston University, Exeter University, Greenwich University, Loughborough University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University College London, University of the West of England, Winchester University


Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, AK Lighting & Signs, Amey L G Limited, Anderson & Heeley Ltd, BAM Construct UK Ltd, Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall, Bouygues E & S Infrastructure UK Ltd, Byrne Bros (Formwork) Limited, C J Bayliss (Hereford) Ltd, Cable Test Ltd, Carillion Civil Engineering, Centre Great Ltd, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, Chartered Management Institute, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Clugston Construction Ltd, Connect Plus, Costain Ltd, E & JW Glendinning Ltd, Electrical Testing Ltd, E-ON Energy Solutions Ltd, Galliford Try Services Ltd, GM Briton (Public Works Ltd), H & H Joiners and Builders Ltd, Herefordshire Council, Highway Electrical Association (HEA), i-Civils Ltd, Imtech Traffic & Infra UK Ltd, Institute of Highway Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers, Interserve Construction Ltd, K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd, Kennford Tarmacadam Limited, Kier Ltd, Lovell Partnerships Ltd, Mineral Products Qualifications Council, Morgan Sindall plc, NG Bailey Ltd, Road Maintenance Services Ltd, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Seddon Construction Ltd, Skanska Construction Ltd, South West Highways Ltd, SSE Contracting Ltd, The Chartered Institute of Building, The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation, The Institution of Engineering & Technology, VolkerWessels UK Ltd, Willmott Dixon Holdings Ltd, Southampton Solent University, London South Bank University, University of the West of England, Gateshead College, Oaklands College, Liverpool John Moores University, Leeds College of Building, Birmingham City University, College of Estate Management, Stephenson College, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Derby

Financial Services – Banking Relationship Manager

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander


BMW Group UK, EEF, Ford, GTA England, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Jaguar Land Rover, NFEC, Siemens, Toyota Manufacturing UK, Vauxhall Motors


The Tech Partnership is an exciting (and developing!) collaboration of companies working together to create new degree apprenticeships - click on the link above. Some of the companies are familiar and appear above but new companies are joining on a daily basis. 

Sponsored Degrees

These are increasingly becoming part of the degree apprenticeship offering, but the Scholarship Hub still lists some of the organisations that specifically offer these - click HERE to read more.

Finding an Apprenticeship

Click on the links below to find apprenticeship vacancies across the country.  You will need to register for the first website, but if you are interested it is well worth it - it is the official government apprenticeship finder, previously called the National Apprenticeship Service. 





Click on the Success at School logo below to read a range of regulatly updated articles on apprenticeships - what is out there and why you do them!

Click on the Adviza logo to go to their list of local apprenticeships across Berkshire and close by. This list is regularly updated and current.


Ms Cole has produced a leaflet listing companies offering apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships and sponsored degrees - the list is increasing all the time! You can download this leaflet from the bottom of this page. 

Other Apprenticeship Websites

QA has apprenticeships across the Thames Valley in IT, Marketing, Sales & Business. Click on the logo below.......

AIM Apprenticeships work with Herschel Grammar School to make apprenticeship opportunities available - they present to Year 11 in September, see students in a workshop in January an then individually for those that need it after that.

Name Date  
Companies Offering Apprenticeships 2017 17th June 2017 Download >
UCAS Guide to Apprenticeships 20th April 2018 Download >
Guide to Apprenticeships 19th May 2018 Download >
Guide to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships 19th May 2018 Download >
Higher and Degree Apprenticeships Listing 3rd December 2018 Download >