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Is an Apprenticeship Classed as Full Time Education?

Are you interested in knowing, “Is an apprenticeship classed as full time education?” 

Apprenticeships provide an alternative path to gaining valuable skills and qualifications while working in a real-world setting. However, you might be wondering if an apprenticeship is considered full-time education. 

This article will explore what an apprenticeship entails, its benefits, and whether it is classified as full-time education.

Is an Apprenticeship Classed as Full Time Education

What is an Apprenticeship? 

An apprenticeship is a form of vocational training that combines on-the-job learning with structured classroom instruction. It is designed to provide individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to pursue a specific trade or profession. Unlike traditional education, which focuses primarily on theoretical learning, apprenticeships emphasise practical skills development within a professional work environment.

Structure of an Apprenticeship

When you become an apprentice, you typically spend most of your time working for an employer. This means you will gain practical experience in your chosen field and be actively involved in real work tasks. 

Apprenticeships can last anywhere from one to five years, depending on the occupation and the level of qualification sought.

In addition to the practical aspect, apprenticeships also involve classroom-based learning. This education component is usually delivered in a college or training centre setting. During these sessions, apprentices receive theoretical instruction, gain further knowledge about their trade, and often work towards achieving relevant qualifications, such as diplomas or certifications.

Full-Time Education Classification

Now, let’s address the important question: Is an apprenticeship considered full-time education? The answer is yes and no, depending on how “full-time education” is defined.

Apprenticeships are recognised as a form of full-time education. This is because apprentices typically spend significant time (usually at least 20 hours per week) learning and training in both the workplace and the classroom. Therefore, they are considered to be undertaking a structured learning program equivalent to or exceeding the hours spent in traditional full-time education.

However, it’s important to note that in some contexts, “full-time education” may refer to formal, classroom-based education, such as attending a school or college full-time. In these cases, apprenticeships might not be classified as full-time education, as they combine practical work experience with classroom-based learning. Instead, they are seen as a blend of work and education.

Benefits of Apprenticeships

Regardless of whether apprenticeships are officially considered full-time education, they offer numerous advantages for individuals:

  • Practical Skills Development: Apprenticeships allow you to acquire hands-on experience and develop practical skills relevant to your chosen profession.
  • Industry Experience: You get to work alongside experienced professionals, gaining valuable insights and building a network of contacts.
  • Earning While Learning: Unlike traditional education, apprenticeships provide a wage or salary, allowing you to earn money while you train.
  • Qualifications: Apprenticeships often lead to recognised qualifications, providing evidence of your skills and increasing your employability.
  • Smooth Transition to Work: Completing an apprenticeship enhances your chances of securing a job in the industry you trained in, as employers often prefer candidates with practical experience.


While the classification of apprenticeships as full-time education may vary, they undoubtedly offer a unique blend of work experience and structured learning. As a result, apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity to gain practical skills, industry knowledge, and recognised qualifications, setting you up for a successful career in your chosen field.

Updated on May 10, 2023

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