the ultimate apprenticeship levels guide

Knowing what apprentice level is right for you.

Working out which apprenticeships to apply for can be a confusing and time-consuming process.

Apprenticeship criteria can vary quite a bit, both in the experience and level of education required to apply. This means a lot of time is spent simply trying to work out if we meet the entry requirements. Let alone if an apprenticeship is the right one for us!

To try and combat this problem, the UK government introduced apprenticeship levels, a way to quickly understand an apprenticeship’s educational equivalent.

The system has tried it’s best to make the process simple. However, with the recent addition of degree apprenticeships, we thought we’d clear up this puzzle once and for all. Both for employers and candidates.

Level with me.

In the UK, apprentice levels fall into four categories: Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree.

Each of these categories is meant for people at different stages of their education. We can best understand it by looking at what school or university qualifications they match up with.

Intermediate apprenticeships.

Intermediate Apprenticeships are equivalent to GCSEs. Completing a standard intermediate apprenticeship is like getting 5 GCSE passes.

Intermediate apprenticeships are recognised as a level 2 qualification.

You could find yourself applying for an intermediate apprenticeship if you struggled with some of your GCSE subjects. Alternatively, you could apply for an intermediate apprenticeship in a completely new field or subject that you don’t know much about.

Although intermediate apprenticeships are equivalent to GCSEs, many will require that you have (or continue to study) English and maths to GCSE level.

Advanced apprenticeships.

Advanced Apprenticeships are equivalent to A Levels. Completing an advanced apprenticeship is like getting 2 A-level passes.

Advanced apprenticeships are recognised as a level 3 qualification.

You can apply for an advanced apprenticeship after you have completed your GCSEs. Rather than going to college full time, this type of apprentice work would see you gaining valuable work experience, going to college only one day a week.

An advanced apprenticeship might also be relevant for an existing A-level student wanting to move into a new field or subject.

Of course, you can also qualify for an advanced course by completing an intermediate apprenticeship.

Advanced apprenticeships can be a great way to refresh your career path by taking your education in a different direction.

Higher apprenticeships.

Higher apprenticeships are equivalent to Foundation degrees. Foundation degrees are like stepping stones between A levels and Bachelor’s degrees. They help people study a particular subject and get them ready for a degree.

You could apply for a Higher apprenticeship if you want to work towards a degree in a subject. You might also apply for a Higher degree if the role is quite specific.

Degree apprenticeships.

Degree apprenticeships are equivalent to a Bachelors or Masters degree. It is a degree that is normally sponsored by both a company and a university.

A degree apprenticeship can be a great way into an established company. You can earn a wage while also picking up a degree, without any of the usual costs of university.

Often a degree apprenticeship will be developed by a company and a university looking for a certain type of skill. This is one way companies can train people to enter into a complex field of their business. These are available in many types of technical and knowledge industries, where degree-level expertise is required.

Level up.

Apprenticeship levels are really useful once you understand them. They allow you to take the next step, both in your education and your career.

At Best Apprenticeships, we assign a level to every vacancy we put on the site. This way, you can understand what you are applying for and if it is the right choice for you.

Now that you’ve worked out your level, there’s nothing stopping you from applying for positions.