What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship combines hands-on work with the opportunity to train and obtain qualifications.  Apprenticeships, which must last for a minimum of 12 months are open to anyone aged 16 and over who is not in full-time education, there is no upper aged limit!

As an apprentice you’ll be employed and will study for a qualification with the full support and commitment of your employer, at least 20% of your working hours are set aside for learning, often at a college, university or training provider, however there are lots of ways to undertake learning depending on your organisation and job role.

Key benefits
Industry sectors
Higher & Degree Apprenticeships
More Information
Apprentice Stories
Apprenticeship Vacancies
Information for Employers
Higher Futures
External Resources
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Key benefits of an apprenticeship

  • Earn a salary while you learn, as well as other employee benefits
  • progress your career – Employers think that qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications
  • achieve sought-after qualifications – apprenticeships are the gold standard for work-based learning, and you can gain valuable workplace skills and experience
  • learn job-specific skills – your employer will provide ‘on the job’ training. You’ll work alongside them and learn the ropes from inside the business
  • get paid holidays.

Apprenticeships can be found in the following industry sectors

Agriculture | Business and Administration | Construction | Creative, Media and the Arts | Customer Service and Retail | Digital and ICT | Energy | Engineering and Electrical | Financial Services | Hair and Beauty | Health and Wellbeing | Hospitality and Travel | Manufacturing, Processing and Logistics | Marine | Public Services | Science and R&D | Sport and Fitness | Vehicles and Transport

To see a range of Apprenticeships available within each sector take a look at the Apprenticeship Guide

What types of Apprenticeship are there?

There are four types of Apprenticeship you can apply for depending on your current skills and qualifications:

  1. Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, where you work towards Level 2 qualifications and Functional Skills.
  2. Advanced Level Apprenticeships, where you work towards Level 3 qualifications and Functional Skills.
  3. Higher Level Apprenticeships, give you the opportunity to gain qualifications up to Level 5 which is the equivalent of a Foundation Degree.
  4. Degree level Apprenticeships, give you the opportunity to gain qualifications up to Level 7 which is the equivalent of  Masters Degree.

For more information about the entry requirements for an apprenticeship

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Employers advertise their vacancies throughout the year, however many higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies are often listed between October and April ready for a September start. The Higher and Degree Vacancy Listing (Feb 2020) provides a snapshot of the vacancies available with a variety of apprenticeship employers.

Apprentices at work

A real alternative

Apprenticeships offer a valid alternative to university, with the qualifications to match. If you choose a degree apprenticeship, you still get to graduate with your cap and gown, along with several years of work experience
under your belt. First and foremost, though, an apprenticeship is a job with substantial training and the  development of transferable skills. It’s a way to earn and learn, gaining a real qualification, long-term career path and the possibility for higher earnings. And, best of all, no university debts: you’ll  have been earning for the length of your apprenticeship and there are no tuition fees.

What is a higher and degree apprenticeship?

Higher and degree apprenticeships are available at levels 4 to 7. They combine work with study and may include a work-based, academic or combined qualification or a professional qualification relevant to the industry.

Higher apprenticeships go from level 4 to 7 and are equivalent to a foundation degree and above e.g. a professional qualification. Degree apprenticeships are available at levels 6 and 7 (full bachelor’s and Master’s).

Visit Amazing Apprenticeships to discover more.

The complete guide to higher and degree apprenticeships

Which? University, in conjunction with the National Apprenticeship Service, has published The Complete Guide to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships .

The guide covers what you need to know about apprenticeships; this includes an introduction to what they are, how much you can earn while you learn, subjects, universities and employers involved in higher and degree apprenticeships and real stories from apprentices and employers. There’s also practical information around long term career prospects and the next steps to apply – and succeed.

For more information on becoming an apprentice in Wiltshire

There are a lot of resources available to you across the internet about apprenticeships. Below we have provided some key information from GOV.UK to answer your questions; alternatively you could click on the image below to view our information booklet or call a member of the Employment and Skills Team on 01225 716890.


Apprentices Stories

Apprentice Stories

Real apprentices within Wiltshire describe their experience of being an apprentice and local businesses share the benefits they have found in helping their business grow.

Read apprentices stories

Apprenticeships Vacancies


Current Vacancies

Search for apprenticeship vacancies across the South West region, by level and using our simple search engine

Find current Apprenticeship vacancies

Recruitment dates

Alternatively, some businesses recruit apprenticeships at certain times of the year or only advertise on their own website, therefore please follow the link below when these are.

Find out businesses apprenticeship recruitment dates

Vacancy Snapshot

The national vacancy snapshot showcases many large and national employers, and can be used with students, teachers & parents to identify upcoming opportunities, as well as learn more about the employer and their recruitment methods.

Find out about the national vacancy snapshot


A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most traineeships last for less than 6 months.


Traineeships have been given a new lease of life in 2020, partly in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, but also to support young people not quite ready for an apprenticeship or employment.

The Department for Education delivered an informative presentation  Traineeships – An overview and update (May 2020).

Guidance for prospective trainees and employers and training providers on traineeships including details of the employer incentives announced in this year’s Summer Statement.

Find out more about Traineeships

Information for Employers

Are you an employer looking to recruit an apprentice or learn more about how the apprenticeship reforms affect your business? Looking for a training provider to support existing employees? Everything you need to know can be found here.

Find out more about employing an Apprentice

Higher Futures

The Higher Futures skills development programme is delivered on behalf of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) to meet the needs of employers and learners within the SWLEP area to upskill the current and future workforce to level 4 and beyond. Higher Futures offers employers impartial specialist support and advice to identify skills needs and gaps prior to engaging with universities, colleges and training providers to develop bespoke training solutions.

Find out more about Higher Futures

External Resources

This updated government website features everything you need to know about becoming an apprentice, or if you are an employer it takes you through the processes needed to recruit new staff and upskill existing staff using apprenticeships

The South West Apprenticeship Company Ltd (SWAC) is committed to successfully matching employers to apprentices, providing support and guidance every step of the way. SWAC offers a new flexible, low cost, low risk way of delivering Apprenticeships, which benefits everyone involved.

This website contains apprenticeships information, jobs, reviews, top employers & careers advice for school and college leavers.

Apprenticeship Factsheets

Please click each image to download Factsheet

Alternatively, if you have any questions you can click on the National Careers Service logo to open a webchat.

National Careers Service logo