Apprenticeships Information for Careers Leaders

Apprenticeships provide the ideal opportunity for young people to earn whilst they learn.

Who can become an apprentice?

To become an apprentice, you must:

  • Be aged 16 or over
  • Not already be in full-time education
  • Live in England

You can start an apprenticeship whether you are starting your career, want to change or are upskilling in your current job.

What is an apprenticeship?

  • A real job where you learn, gain experience, and get paid
  • Apprentices have a contract of employment, holiday leave and will study for at least 20% of their working hours. This is usually with a college, university, or training provider
  • Assessments take place throughout an apprenticeship and finish with an end-point assessment (EPA)

How long does an apprenticeship take?

Between one and six years to complete depending on which is chosen.

What different options are there?

Apprenticeship can be started at any level. Some apprenticeships may require previous qualifications for example English or maths GCSE. They may also give extra training in the English or maths skills that are needed.

Apprenticeship type


Equivalent education level






A level


4, 5, 6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Where can I find an apprenticeship and how do I apply?

It is easy to find an apprenticeship using the Government Find An Apprenticeship search.

There is also an apprenticeship finder for local opportunities within Dorset on the Dorset LEP website.

You can also apply directly through an employer’s website. There is more information, including advice for what to include in an application.

How does the training work?

Apprentices will receive two different types of training.

  1. ‘Off-the-job’ training which is delivered by a training provider and takes place during an apprentice’s normal working hours.
  • At least 20% of the apprentice’s time
  • Can be flexible
  • Doesn’t have to mean one day out of the workplace each week. It might be blocks of time for example. This training can be online, at your place or work or at a college, university, or training provider
  • It could be a combination of all three
  • The training schedule is agreed between the employer and training provider
  1. ‘On-the-job’ training which is delivered by the employer. An apprentice will require training and supervision to help them perform the job that they have been hired for.

How are apprenticeships assessed?

Apprentices are assessed throughout to make sure they are achieving the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required. They may also be required to complete an end-point assessment (EPA). This assessment takes place at the end of the apprenticeship and is carried out by an independent organisation known as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO). There is an overview and employers or training providers will be able to provide further details.

Perceptions of Apprenticeships 

Dorset Young Researchers were commissioned by Dorset Careers Hub to find out the thoughts, feelings and lived experiences of different viewpoints of apprenticeships and when those viewpoints were formed.

Young Researchers designed and delivered youth-led participatory action research into young people's, parents, carers, teachers and employers perceptions of apprenticeships. They heard from 487 people - including young people, parents, carers, employers and educators.

The full report and key headlines can be downloaded.

Where can I find out more?

Head to the apprenticeships website for additional information.

Apprenticeship Arcade - Amazing Apprenticeships - Engage students in your classroom, or set them enjoyable (yet educational) home learning tasks through the brilliant new Apprenticeship Arcade.

Checkatrade 'Try a Trade' Programme - including resources, connections with employers and a live jobs board