How Many Levels of Apprenticeships Are There?

3 min
February 23, 2021
Trying to figure out the different levels of apprenticeships might seem more confusing than levelling-up in Fortnite (of course, we're gamers!). But we promise it’s not as complicated as it first seems. Much like your favourite game, apprenticeships start at the entry-level and progressively work their way up, becoming more challenging as you build your knowledge and experience. Ready to take a look at what those levels consist of? Game on!

Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level2)

Quite often referred to as ‘entry-level’ or ‘level 2’ apprenticeships, these are the first starting point on the apprenticeship journey. Currently, around 260, 000young people start one per year, and they’re available in over 40 industries.

By the end of an intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll have scored a vocational qualification, usually at Level 2 NVQ (equivalent to five GCSEs A*-C) but this might also be a BTEC, GCSE or City and Guilds qualification. You’ll also achieve Functional Skills qualifications in English and Maths.

Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3)

Once you’ve completed Level 2 and want to continue, you’ll move up to an advanced apprenticeship, often referred to as a ‘level 3’ apprenticeship.

Here, you’ll work towards a more challenging qualification, usually Level 3 NVQ or equivalent, as well as a knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC or City and Guilds qualification. You might also complete Functional Skills qualifications depending on your previous studies.

Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4 & 5)

Smashed levels 2 and 3 of the apprenticeships ladder and wondering what’s next?

That’ll be a higher apprenticeship! Offering level 4 qualifications (for starters) and working up from there, higher apprenticeships are more challenging and you’ll have to be 18 to get onto one.

Because they’re more challenging, there are higher entry requirements with employers preferring you to have at least two A-Levels (or equivalent) or have completed an advanced apprenticeship in the same industry previously. Typically you’ll walk away having achieved a Level 4 NVQ, or above, but they also offer you the opportunity to work towards a foundation degree or higher national diploma.

Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6 & 7)

Lastly, we have the newest level in apprenticeships: degree apprenticeships.

As an emerging pathway, there are fewer degree apprenticeships, but this is growing rapidly. During this pathway, you’ll have the opportunity to work towards achieving a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (level 6 and 7qualifications).

These are the most demanding and challenging level yet because of the type of work you’ll be doing alongside studying at such a high level. They’re hard work, but the rewards are more than worth it!

Key things to remember about a degree apprenticeship include the higher entry requirements and the length of time you’ll be in one for - typically 4-6 years depending on your course.

Do you have to complete the levels in order?

Normally in any game, you have to work through one level first before you can move up to the next one, but not so with apprenticeships!

Depending on your previous qualifications and experience, you can apply for the level of apprenticeship that suits you! Just keep in mind you have to be at least 18 for higher and degree apprenticeships.

All of these blend work and study, but how this is structured will vary rapidly between the levels of apprenticeships and sometimes even year on year for the same level of apprenticeship, especially for degree apprenticeships.

With so much variety, we’re pretty confident there’s a level of apprenticeship to suit you.

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