Apprenticeships are real jobs that allow you to earn a wage while you learn. They can take between 1 and 5 years to complete, depending on the level.

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I started a university degree but it wasn't for me. What I really wanted to do was working social media.

My mom told me about an apprenticeship at Channel 4. I looked into it and thought this looks perfect for me. There was a really tough selection day but it worked out for me and I got the apprenticeship.

As an apprentice I learnt all about the Channel 4 brand, video editing skills and posting about new shows on Facebook and Twitter. I spent one day a week on college work but most of the training was on the job. I'm now a social media executive and I'm mentoring the next generation of apprentices.

I've done so much and met so many cool people. Earning my own money is one of the best things about being an apprentice. I can contribute at home, do what I want with my mates and take good care of myself, obviously.

It was a big move to start an apprenticeship, but the best decision I've ever made.

Alim's story

“Being an apprentice has been the best time of my life. I've been able to do things that I'm passionate about.

“I've been able to meet so many different people. I've built up my confidence. It's been the best experience it could have been.”

Starting an apprenticeship

To start an apprenticeship, you’ll need to:

  • be 16 or over
  • live in England
  • not be in full-time education

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school.

What you'll do as an apprentice

An apprenticeship is a job where you’ll:

  • earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • get time for training and study related to your role

The training might be at your place of work, a college, a training provider or online.

Types of apprenticeships

There are over 600 different apprenticeships.

No matter what career you’re interested in, there’s likely to be an apprenticeship for you.

You can view all types of apprenticeships on GOV.UK.

Career starter apprenticeships

The apprenticeship service has chosen some existing apprenticeships they think are perfect first jobs. These are called career starter apprenticeships.

If you cannot find a career starter apprenticeship that you like, you can search all apprenticeships as most apprenticeships are excellent first steps to take after you leave school.

View career starter apprenticeships to see what's available.

After your apprenticeship

You could get a job with your current employer after your apprenticeship. They might like to hire you because they trained you and know you can do the job well.

You could also:

  • find a new job with a different employer
  • go to university or start another type of higher education
  • do another apprenticeship at a higher level
  • volunteer to get more experience which can help you get a job

You can watch videos of real apprentices talking about their experiences, including what they did after their apprenticeship.

Levels of apprenticeships

You’ll earn a qualification from your apprenticeship.

The 4 different apprenticeship levels are:

  • intermediate: level 2
  • advanced: level 3
  • higher: level 4 or 5
  • degree: level 6 or 7

Apprenticeships also have equivalent educational levels listed on GOV.UK. For example, a level 3 apprenticeship is considered the same level of qualification as 2 or 3 A levels.

Special educational needs guide

Disability Rights UK has a guide to apprenticeships that you may find useful.

The guide includes stories from real apprentices with special educational needs or disabilities.

Finding an apprenticeship

You can search and apply for apprenticeships in England on GOV.UK.

Find an apprenticeship

Special educational needs (SEND) advice

You can get education advice if you're disabled or have special educational needs. 

It may help you choose what you'd like to do next.

Information for other countries: