Post-16 Options: Apprenticeships

26th August 2022 by CareerWave

What are Apprenticeships?

  • Apprenticeships are real jobs with a recognised qualification.
  • Employers pay an apprenticeship salary- companies are free to pay what they want above the apprenticeship minimum wage (see here).
  • Employers advertise vacancies to create a competition for the job.
  • You compete for the job against other applicants.
  • Apprenticeships are available at different levels; Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3), Higher (Level 4) and Degree (Level 6).
  • To get a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship you must have achieved a Level 3 qualification first (A-levels, T-level, Level 3 Diploma, Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship).
  • On a Degree Apprenticeship you get a competitive salary and your tuition fees paid for by the employer.

So, how can you gain a competitive edge and put yourself in with the best chance of becoming an apprentice?

CareerWave’s top tips for ‘Getting an Apprenticeship’

Create an account with the ‘Find an Apprenticeship Service’ at

Search for apprenticeships throughout the year. When a vacancy comes up it is because an employer needs someone, at any time of the year. Therefore apprenticeships are advertised all year round.

Current Year 11s can start an apprenticeship after the ‘official’ school leaving date (last Friday in June of Year 11).

College and sixth form students can start an apprenticeship at any time, but are likely to finish their course first, meaning they are also looking at the same vacancies as Year 11 leavers.

Most employers advertise a few months before the start date. So, for Year 11, college and sixth form students relevant vacancies are more likely to be advertised from around Easter onwards.

Many large employers recruit people every year, often with a September start date. Because of the huge number of people applying for these annual apprenticeship schemes, the employers will often advertise much earlier in the year. Therefore, the larger employers may advertise six months to a year before they want the apprentice to start.

Searching for vacancies throughout the year can help you prepare for future job applications e.g. you can learn about the most popular jobs in your postcode area. You can also find out about salary, what you do in the job and the strengths employers look for.

Register with Training Providers and Colleges because they can help you find an apprenticeship. The name of the training provider or college linked to each apprenticeship can be found in the job ads on (at the bottom of each of each vacancy).

If you see a vacancy which you can’t apply for yet, you can directly contact the training provider or college.

Some training providers will actively put your name forward to employers or offer you a work study programme or a traineeship to make you ‘apprenticeship ready’.

Contact employers. If you or your family knows a local employer who might be interested in taking on an apprentice, you might be the person they wish to employ.

Speculatively contacting local businesses is a way to find an apprenticeship. CareerWave has spoken to large employers and many have said that they remember the names of the people who make contact with them.

Therefore, if there is an employer who you want to work for, reach out to them, ask questions and generally show interest in the company.

Go direct to company websites. Larger companies often advertise their apprenticeship schemes on their own website. They often have their own ‘Careers’ or ‘Apprenticeships’ web page from which you can apply for any vacancies.

Research the job role and the strengths needed. You need to tell the employer that you have strengths they are looking for. The National Careers Service website is recommended for finding out jobs and the strengths.

Find out more about apprenticeships at This website has loads of resources to inspire, inform and support your apprenticeship journey.

Cast your net wider. There are several other websites which advertise apprenticeship vacancies and, in some cases, act as an agent between you and the employers.