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How Long Does an Apprenticeship Take?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “How long does an apprenticeship take?”

Apprenticeships have become popular for individuals seeking hands-on experience and practical skills in various industries. They offer a valuable learning opportunity while earning a wage, making them an appealing option for many. 

This article will provide a comprehensive guide, offering all the necessary information to understand the duration of apprenticeships.

How Long Does an Apprenticeship Take

Different Types of Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries, including but not limited to construction, healthcare, engineering, IT, hospitality, and finance. The duration of an apprenticeship can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of apprenticeship, the sector, and the specific occupation.

Levels of Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are categorised into different levels, ranging from intermediate to higher and even degree apprenticeships. Here is a breakdown of the levels:

  1. Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2): Typically takes 12-18 months to complete. Provides foundational skills and knowledge for entry-level positions in various industries.
  2. Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3): Takes approximately 18-24 months to finish. It offers in-depth training and prepares individuals for skilled roles in their chosen field.
  3. Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4-7): Can take anywhere between 2-5 years to complete, depending on the specific program. These apprenticeships focus on developing advanced skills and knowledge, often leading to professional qualifications equivalent to higher education degrees.
  4. Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6-7): Combines work-based learning with studying for a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. Typically lasts 3-6 years, enabling apprentices to gain practical experience and a higher education qualification.

Factors Influencing Duration

Several factors contribute to the duration of an apprenticeship:

  1. Apprenticeship Level: As mentioned earlier, the higher the apprenticeship level, the longer it generally takes to complete due to the increased depth of training and knowledge required.
  2. Industry and Occupation: The complexity and demands of different industries and occupations can affect the length of an apprenticeship. For example, an engineering apprenticeship may take longer than a retail apprenticeship due to the technical nature of the field.
  3. Individual Progress: Each apprentice progresses at their own pace. The duration may be influenced by the individual’s ability to meet the required learning objectives and complete assessments.
  4. Working Hours: The time spent on the job and in training can impact the overall duration. Full-time apprenticeships usually entail working 30-40 hours per week, including practical and off-the-job training.


Apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity for individuals to gain practical skills, valuable work experience, and industry-recognised qualifications. The duration of an apprenticeship varies depending on the level, sector, and specific occupation. Whether you choose an intermediate, advanced, higher, or degree apprenticeship, it’s essential to consider your career goals, interests, and the time commitment required. By understanding the duration of apprenticeships, you can make informed decisions and embark on a rewarding career path.

Updated on July 19, 2023

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