How apprenticeships in the United Kingdom work

How apprenticeships in the United Kingdom work

apprenticeships work

When you finally decide what apprenticeship you’re going to apply for, after taking all the advice we could give you on this website, you’ll no doubt be bursting with questions about what exactly you have to do once you become an apprentice.

Well, you’re in luck, because many of our members have been through modern apprenticeships across a range of industries, just like we hope you will too.

Your first day

Every job has an induction.  Basically, being inducted into a workplace is a way for an employer to show you around, to show you where it is safe to go and where is best avoided, and also to familiarise yourself with your new colleagues and managers.

If you’re beginning an apprenticeship as a youth, expect to be supervised at all times, as there are stricter rules and regulations for young workers.  If you’re an adult apprentice, expect similar, but with a little less supervision due to you having already been exposed to workplaces.

Your first year

Some apprenticeships only last one year, and some last five years.  It all depends upon what type of apprentice you’re going to be and how technical or complex the final job position is once you’ve completed your apprenticeship.

In both cases though, you’ll be expected to participate in and complete at least an NVQ level 2 or 3 (SVQ in Scotland) while you work, giving you essential new qualifications for the type of business or industry you’ve become part of.  Those same qualifications, in the future, are the ones your current or next employer will be looking for on your now improved CV.

Your education

If you’ve embarked upon an apprenticeship that is longer, maybe three or four years, expect to also be asked to go to College or even University depending upon what type of apprenticeship you’re doing.  It’s not uncommon for Engineers, Surveyors, Industrial Electricians, IT staff, and people involved in law to be asked to attend university as part of their apprenticeships – almost exclusively paid for by the employer.

That statement alone, particularly outside Scotland where university is free anyway, is a fantastic reason to pay close attention to what we’re trying to guide you towards here at  For more in-depth information on the best paid and most desired apprenticeships in the UK, visit our ‘Find Apprenticeships’ section, which details those hidden apprenticeships that aren’t normally listed.

Your progression

Whether it’s a 1 year apprenticeship or a 5 year advanced apprenticeship, the chances are that if you’ve shown an eagerness to learn and an enthusiasm for your job, your employer will keep you on as part of their permanent workforce.  After investing so much in you through education, wages, and time, the last thing they want to do is let all that slip through their fingers.

It’s always good advice to budding apprentices to get off on the right foot from day 1, asking as many questions about the job as you can think of, showing an interest in things that maybe aren’t exactly what you’re there to learn, and being pro-active by keeping yourself busy and doing just that little bit more than you’re asked to do.

Those little extra things are what makes your manager’s life easier, and will put you in a very good place come the end of your apprenticeship.

To be kept up to date with the very latest apprenticeship opportunities, and to continue to receive the best advice on finding an apprenticeship in the United Kingdom, sign up to our e-mail bulletin, and follow our blog.