What's an apprenticeship and how much do they get paid?

An apprenticeship is a great way to learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.

You will spend most of your time in the workplace gaining job-specific skills, but you will also be supported by a specialist learning provider to build up your knowledge and qualifications.

Apprenticeship training can take between one and four years to complete and the length of your apprenticeship will depend on its level, the industry you’re training in and the skills you already have.

You must be 16 or over to start an apprenticeship and there are different levels you can study at:

  • Apprenticeship (Level 2)
  • Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3)
  • Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4, 5, 6 and 7)
  • Degree Apprenticeships (Level 4-6) 

Find out what the levels mean

Who are they for?

Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged above 16 years old - whether you are leaving school, have finished college or sixth form or are already in work. They can lead into full-time work or if you find you enjoy working and studying, you can carry on taking more qualifications and even progress to a degree.

There are no set entry requirements as this depends on the individual apprenticeship.

Some apprenticeships are very popular and competition can be fierce, so good qualifications are important, as well as being motivated and committed. Research by the BBC found that a record 11 applications are being made for each apprenticeship vacancy in the UK. Some apprenticeships are more competitive with 17 applications per place, for example in the arts, media and ICT.

But don't be put off - the highest number of apprenticeship vacancies ever has recently been recorded, which means there are plenty of opportunities.

What will you get paid?

Apprentices under the age of 19 earn a minimum of £3.90 per hour*.

You will receive pay for the time you spend working, plus the time spent training. This means if you are a full-time apprentice, working and studying for 37 hours a week you will earn £144.30 per week.

If you’re 19 or over and past your first year of your apprenticeship the rates of pay are higher- check what that is here.

Many apprentices earn significantly more than the minimum because some employers choose to pay extra, the average apprenticeship salary is about £170 per week.

*April 2019

How many hours will you work?

Your minimum hours of employment should be at least 30 hours per week. In exceptional cases, where your circumstances or the nature of employment makes this impossible, then an absolute minimum of 16 hours must be met. The hours you would be expected to work depend entirely on your employer and how their business operates. But there is a limit on the maximum hours you can work, 40 hours if you are aged 18 or under. 

You will also get at least 20 days paid holiday a year as well as bank holidays.

More information about apprenticeships

Explore the Careerpilot apprenticeship vacancy search to see what's on offer now.

Go to to register on the government’s apprenticeship vacancy site, set up alerts and search for vacancies.

Explore jobs and job sectors to find one for you

Careerpilot has information on 19 job sectors. In each job sector you will find hundreds of job profiles explaining what is involved, what you will earn, and routes into the job.

If you want to see which sector might suit you then do the Careerpilot Job Sector Quiz.

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