Apprenticeships, like other jobs, have minimum standards that a candidate must meet in order to be considered for the role
‘Entry’ and ‘requirements’, when used on their own, offer no challenge, but when combined, they represent the first and most obvious obstacle between you and your future. In the context of apprenticeships, however, entry requirements are by no means inflexible.
In the end, it’s up to the employer offering the apprenticeship. In general, a prospective apprentice may need three GCSEs, but other qualifications and experience will almost always be considered, particularly when employers are specifically on the lookout for apprentices from different backgrounds, upbringings and educations, because they know that they run the risk of missing out on the best talent if they do not.
Still, there are general guidelines around what is expected of applicants at every apprenticeship level, and knowing them will help you to decide what’s best for you before you apply.
2 (Intermediate), equivalent to GCSEs: The only actual requirement is the applicant’s age, a minimum of 16. Employers may ask for a demonstrable interest in the area covered by the apprenticeship, as well as the ability to complete it
3 (Advanced), considered equivalent to A-levels: At this level, employers will typically seek GCSEs, usually three or more, particularly in English and maths. Relevant experience will also be useful
4 (Higher) considered equivalent to a foundation degree: Employers will look for GCSEs and level 3 qualifications, such as A-levels, or their equivalents, such as a BTEC. It’s at this point where experience in a relevant subject is also desired
5 (Higher), considered equivalent to the first year of a bachelor’s degree: The same as level 4, but with higher minimum grades and a definite requirement for previous experience
6 (Higher), considered equivalent to a bachelor’s degree: The same as level 5, but with higher minimum grades and a definite requirement for previous experience
7 (Higher), considered equivalent to a master’s degree: A bachelor’s degree or equivalent level 4 qualifications, with a number of years of previous experience
6 (Degree), considered equivalent to a bachelor’s degree: Three to five GCSEs, as well as three or more A-levels, including in at least one relevant subject, or equivalent level 3 qualifications
7 (Degree), considered equivalent to a master’s degree: A bachelor’s degree or equivalent level 4 or above qualifications, with a number of years of previous experience
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