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What Qualifications Do You Need for an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “What qualifications do you need for an apprenticeship?

This article will explore the qualifications required for an apprenticeship, making it easier for you to take the first step toward your dream job.

What Qualifications Do You Need for an Apprenticeship

Age Requirements

The first thing to note is that apprenticeships are available to people of various ages. Whether you’re just finishing school, looking for a career change, or simply want to enhance your skills, there’s likely an apprenticeship.

  • For School Leavers: If you’re leaving school at 16, you can start an apprenticeship without formal qualifications.
  • For 16-18-year-olds: Even if you have some GCSEs or equivalent qualifications, you can join an apprenticeship program.
  • For 19+ Year-Olds: If you’re 19 or older, you can still apply for an apprenticeship. You might need to show some qualifications or experience related to the field you’re interested in.

Entry Level

Apprenticeships come in three levels, and the qualifications required vary accordingly:

  • Intermediate Level (Level 2): These apprenticeships are often suitable for school leavers and typically require no formal qualifications. However, some employers may ask for basic literacy and numeracy.
  • Advanced Level (Level 3): You’ll generally need at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4 (A*-C) or equivalent qualifications to pursue advanced apprenticeships. Some employers may also ask for specific subjects related to the apprenticeship.
  • Higher Level (Level 4 and above): You’ll usually need A-levels or equivalent qualifications for higher-level apprenticeships, such as a foundation degree or higher national diploma. Some employers might also ask for relevant work experience.

Relevant Skills and Experience

In addition to formal qualifications, employers often look for specific skills and qualities in apprentices:

  • Communication Skills: Good communication is essential in most jobs. Listening, speaking clearly, and working well with others is highly valued.
  • Teamwork: Many apprenticeships involve working as part of a team. Employers want to see that you can collaborate effectively.
  • Problem-Solving: Thinking critically and finding solutions to challenges is a valuable skill in any apprenticeship.
  • Motivation and Enthusiasm: Employers appreciate candidates eager to learn and passionate about their chosen field.
  • Work Experience: Some prior work experience, even if not directly related to the apprenticeship, can boost your chances of being selected.

Selection Process

The selection process for apprenticeships often involves the following:

  • Application Form: You’ll need to fill out an application form, usually online, detailing your qualifications, skills, and work experience.
  • Interview: If your application is successful, you may be invited for an interview where you can discuss your suitability for the apprenticeship.
  • Assessment: Some apprenticeships may include an assessment or test relevant to the role you’re applying for.
  • Portfolio: For creative apprenticeships, like in the arts or design, you might be asked to provide a portfolio showcasing your work.

Finding Apprenticeship Opportunities

To find apprenticeship opportunities, you can:

  • Visit Government Websites: Check the government’s official apprenticeship website (https://www.gov.uk/apprenticeships) for a wide range of vacancies.
  • Contact Training Providers: Many training providers and colleges offer apprenticeship programs. Get in touch with them to see what’s available.
  • Networking: Talk to friends, family, and teachers. They might know of apprenticeship openings.


Apprenticeships are accessible to people of various ages and backgrounds. The qualifications required depend on the level of apprenticeship you’re interested in. Still, they can range from no formal qualifications for entry-level roles to A-levels or equivalent qualifications for higher-level apprenticeships. In addition to qualifications, employers also value soft skills like communication, teamwork, and motivation. 

Updated on September 2, 2023

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