An apprenticeship is a programme that trains you to become skilled in a particular trade. Apprenticeships provide hands-on work combined with classroom activities. They are classified as full-time jobs.

Apprenticeships are paid by your employer or college whilst you get paid a wage. You can start an apprenticeship at any age from 16 onwards and they are available at lots of different levels.

Meet Kirsty and Rebecca who work in the NHS in South Yorkshire. Find out why they chose an apprenticeship, what it's done for them and why they love their job.

What apprenticeship am I interested in?

There are a number of factors to consider when trying to find the right apprenticeship for you. Consider your skills, ambitions, personality, likes and interests. Undertake a careers quiz to find the career that best suits you.

Why do I want to do this apprenticeship?

Once you've decided which apprenticeship is right for you it is important to understand why you want to do this particular apprenticeship. It's likely you'll be asked this when you go through the application process. Consider how the apprenticeship aligns with your skills, experiences, and interests. Connect the apprenticeship to your future career ambitions, you want to make sure the role makes sense for where you're going in your career. 

How long is the apprenticeship going to last?

Make sure you check how long the apprenticeship will last before applying. Most often, apprenticeships will take anywhere between one and four years to complete.

Where are the vacancies for this type of apprenticeship?

You can find out where to look for the latest vacancies in South Yorkshire here. You can also view vacancies on the national site here

Do I have the specified qualification entry requirements?

Each apprenticeship programme lasts a minimum of one year and includes some kind of an assessment at the end. This could be a project, a discussion, or an observation of practice. Entry requirements to apprenticeships vary but it is useful if you have GCSE A-C (9-4) in English and Maths to start, although some employers will let you do this at the same time as your apprenticeship.

Depending on what qualifications you have already will depend on your starting point. Some employers use apprenticeships to develop their existing staff into different or more senior roles. They might also employ new staff members as apprentices and use this opportunity to train them over at least a year to work safely and competently within their organisation. If you are looking for an apprenticeship it is useful to know what area/s you wish to study. This might be based on your GCSE, A-Level, or college course or on your interests. Do some reading on careers that might interest you as this will help you search later.

  • Levels of apprenticeship

Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels.



Equivalent educational level






A level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Some apprenticeships may also give you an additional qualification, such as a diploma.

To start an apprenticeship you have to be aged 16+, living in England and not in full-time education, or have a similar qualification to that which you want to study.

What level English and Maths do I have? 

If you want to undertake an apprenticeship at level 3 or higher you must achieve level two English and level two Maths. For apprentices undertaking a level 2 apprenticeship, you'll work towards level 2 in English and Maths.

Do I have the prior experience that is needed?

Some higher-level apprenticeships will require specific work experience. Make sure you check the person specification before applying for an apprenticeship to make sure you have the right experience for the role. If you want to gain some experience to prepare you for an apprenticeship, you might what to consider a traineeship

Care-experienced students

If you're in care, or have experience of being in care, Amazing Apprenticeships Care Leavers Guide gives info about apprenticeships and what help is available if you're considering an apprenticeship in England, including financial assistance.

Outside of working hours, can I commit to the study time required?

Once you've started your apprenticeship you'll be juggling a full-time job and studying towards a qualification. Find out more about the hours you'll be expected to work here.

Applying for an apprenticeship

If you are applying for an apprenticeship in the NHS, you will most likely use the NHS jobs website to make your application. This means you will put your information into an online form - you won't need to upload a CV.

Social care and organisations in the voluntary and community sector might have different ways for you to apply, like using a CV for example.

 A CV is a useful way of having all your exam results and any other work or volunatry experience in one place and you can refer to it when doing your applications. When you write your supporting statement make sure you refer to the job you’ve applied for and include points on how you meet the person specification. This is your opportunity to show them that you have the skills and experience that make you suitable for the apprenticeship you’re applying for.

Top tips
  1. Read: Make sure you understand the role you want to apply for, read the advert carefully. Get online and search the employer's website and learn about what services they offer and where they're located for example. Think about wether you can you travel there? What is the pay and how many hours are you expected to work? What kind of an apprenticeship is it? How is the study time supported – a day a week, in blocks, do you travel there?
  2. Presentation is important: If you are writing a CV type up your information using a clear, uncomplicated font (Times New Roman or Arial tend to work best). Make sure to keep the same size font throughout (12 is standard) and avoid trying to do clever visual things. Clean and tidy are far more important to the prospective employer.
  3. Relevant: Make sure you include your qualifications – all of them. Maths and English are still important even if you did exams a while ago, and some managers will shortlist on this basis. Use volunteering, school, college, or work examples to highlight your suitability for the job, and make sure you make each application relevant, don’t use a standard application. This is especially important in the supporting information section.
  4. If you’re doing a CV for yourself (handy to keep everything in one place) or applying to other employers make sure you organise it carefully: There are some good examples on the internet, browse and find a layout you like, but follow the same simple rules on font size etc. Categories should include qualifications, skills, experience and achievements. You can use some headings: work experience, education and extracurricular activities. Part-time jobs go under work, secondary school under education and anything you’ve done in your own time should go under extracurricular activities. List them in date order, with the most recent first. Restrict the information you include to dates, locations and, most importantly, achievements. Employers want to see what you’ve accomplished.
  5. Customise: Tailor your application or CV to the job you’re applying for. This is so important! Use the person specification if there is one to match the skills you have with the ones the employer is looking for. If there’s no person specification, use the job description and personalise it.
  6. Take time to check it: Make sure your application and CV is free of mistakes, including spelling and grammar. Use the spell check and make sure you have used sentences that make sense. Check your punctuation. Read it over several times and then ask someone else to check it. Show it to a careers advisor or teacher who is trained to do this kind of thing. Then check it again.
  7. If you use a website application like NHS jobs you won’t need a covering letter. If you do need one, treat it with the same care that you gave your application. Search for a model you like and use it as a template, but change it every time. Employers who think they’re reading a standard letter that isn’t about their job won’t be impressed, so make the effort with this first impression. Remember to check it several times.
  8. Why you want the job: Lead with what attracted you to the job in the first place, keeping it to two or three sentences unless what you’re saying is really relevant. You might be attracted to the company, or the area is something for which you have a passion. You might see the apprenticeship as a foot in the door to a great long term career, perhaps  have done some work experience or have a friend or relative in the field. Let them know why you’re interested.
  9. Understand the person specifications: Almost every job advert will list the key qualities that a person must have in order to get the job. These will range from previous experience in the particular field, to demonstrable skills such as teamwork and organisation. For some apprenticeships you will need to have maths and English qualifications already, for others you can study these whilst doing the apprenticeship. Make sure you meet the minimum requirement. Depending on the job you’re after, they may include more specialist skills or experience, such as certain software packages, or familiarity with certain methodologies and regulations. Match your own experiences and achievements with as many as you can in your cover letter, outlining what you meet and how you’ve met it, as succinctly as possible.
  10. Anything else you bring to the table: An avid reader? Keen on sports? Add some personal details to close, to give the employer an insight into you as a person.
  11. References: You’ll need at least two references when applying for a job. These are usually contacted when you have been offered the position. They’ll be former employers, teachers, or anyone who knows you well, although relatives and friends are not permitted. It is good practice to inform them that you’ve included them as a reference, but if you’re working already and don’t want your employer to know, wait until you’re offered the job before telling them.