Adult Apprenticeships

The secret of apprenticeships for adults.

It’s a little awkward, but we’re just gonna come right out and say it: There’s no such thing as an adult apprenticeship.

Now, this isn’t because there are no apprenticeships that are suitable for people aged 25+, but simply that apprenticeships don’t have an upper age limit for applicants.

In fact, In England the only requirement for an apprenticeship is that you are over 16 years old and are not in full-time education.  

While this means that there aren’t special apprenticeships designed for ‘adults’, it does mean that everyone has the same rights and reasons to apply for an apprenticeship, at any age. 

And, of course, there are plenty of good reasons to apply to an apprenticeship as an adult. Whether it’s a career boost, a skill up, or an industry switch, starting an apprenticeship as an adult might just be the right thing for you.

Keep reading to discover the full value of becoming a mature apprentice. (or you can skip to the section you are most interested in, using the links below)

Apprenticeships have matured.

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships today is that they are exclusively for recent school leavers.

This stereotype exists for a good reason. For starters, a lot of effort and money goes into encouraging young people to consider apprenticeships as a career path. Those aged 16-24 are most frequently targeted because, on the whole, they have the most to gain from what an apprenticeship can offer: training, work experience, and a step on the career ladder.

However, modern apprenticeships have evolved in such a way that they can be the right choice for people who are a little bit older. Whether that’s through funding additional training using the apprenticeship levy, a degree apprenticeship to earn a university qualification, or switching careers entirely.

With the right attitude and approach, adult learners have a lot to gain from taking on a mature apprenticeship. Offering you the chance to earn a wage while you skill up on a new career path.

There are also plenty of benefits for employers, with financial incentives of up to £3000 for each apprentice hired over the age of 25.

Apprenticeships for over 25’s

Apprenticeships are not designed for age groups. Rather, they are designed to give the apprentice access to great training, experience, and a foot in the door of a whole load of different industries.

That said, there are some apprenticeships that may be better suited to people 25+. Here are just a few examples:


Engineering can be a great sector to get into as an apprentice. The great thing about engineering apprenticeships is they can be used as a way to quickly upskill existing employees, putting them on the path to earning further qualifications like a degree or chartership.

The UK needs more engineers every year. If you currently work as a technician or in a hands-on role but lack formal education, an apprenticeship could be a way for you to both skill up and increase your wages long-term.


Do you have an eye for numbers? A feel for the fiscal? Maybe your future lies in the world of finance. Finance apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to people of all ages looking to upskill.

Whether it is accountancy, actuarial, or banking, could your career find a new spark in finance?

Doing an apprenticeship with your current employer.

One of the reasons (but not the only reason) your employer might recommend an apprenticeship to you is because of a thing called the apprenticeship levy.

The apprenticeship levy is a type of tax relief, that allows companies with either a minimum turnover or headcount to claim back some tax money and use it to finance apprenticeship training.

This can be a win-win situation for both employer and employees, creating opportunities to take entry-level positions and skill them up via apprenticeships, creating new jobs and new qualifications.

Apprenticeships are available across a number of different levels. This means many skilled jobs can really benefit from a number of existing apprenticeship frameworks.

This becomes even more tempting with the introduction of degree apprenticeships. Many employees have taken advantage of this scheme to enrol on a degree apprenticeship and add a university degree to their list of qualifications, all while continuing to work and earn.

Apprenticeships for career change.

Another reason you might be thinking about apprenticeships as an adult is if you are contemplating a career change. 

Whether a small jump or a monumental shift, apprenticeships offer a great first step into different industries, with the ability to quickly scale your experience and learning in a controlled environment.

It can also mean the difference between earning a wage while you train, vs taking time out to either go back to college/university, or volunteer for experience.

Most apprenticeships are full-time, as they require time spent on the job as well as at a college or other skills trainer. However, there are some opportunities that can be taken part-time, particularly to help mothers get back into work.

Doing an apprenticeship as an adult ensures you keep earning a wage while you re-skill.

What about pay?

How does pay work as an apprentice, and what can I expect to earn as an apprenticeship wage?

Apprentice wages can be tight.

The minimum wage for a first-year apprentice is as low as £5.28 an hour. This will be quite a financial shock for many, specifically those looking to shift their career aspirations.

However, there are a couple of caveats that make it all a bit less painful.

For starters, this is the minimum wage. Many apprenticeship arrangements pay a better salary than the minimum. 

Employers encouraging their staff onto apprenticeships would do well too, at the very least, maintain their original wage structure. Reducing wages may seem prudent in the short term, but apprenticeships work both ways, and employers will be benefiting from an employee’s skills for (hopefully) years to come. 

The second caveat is that if you are over 25 years old, once you finish the first year of your apprenticeship, your minimum wage almost doubles to meet the standard minimum wage. As of 2023, this is £10.42.

As an adult, you may also be eligible for additional skills funding, on top of this.

For more information on both the apprenticeship and regular minimum wage, see the website.

Why choose an apprenticeship as an adult?

Deciding to become an apprentice as an adult can be a daunting decision.

However, it is a career path that should not be written off, as more and more people decide that an apprenticeship is the next right move for them. With so many quality apprenticeship programmes available right now, there’s bound to be something that can help you get off to the right start.

To learn new skills, get qualified, earn hands-on experience, and even achieve a university degree, why not check out all of the apprenticeship opportunities that we have live right now.

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