The school year is ending, and GCSE results day will soon be upon us. While your primary focus may be on those results, you should also start thinking about what comes next. After GCSEs, you have three basic options:
- Leave formal education and get a part-time job, although your hours and opportunities will be restricted due to your age, and you will likely only earn a minimum wage.
- Continue your education by attending a college or sixth form to study for A Levels.
- Apply for an intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeship.
They are all valid options; your choices will depend on your circumstances and preferences.
What is an intermediate apprenticeship?
An intermediate apprenticeship is an entry-level apprenticeship, designed primarily for school leavers who want to enter the working world while continuing their studies.
Effectively, it is the best of both worlds. You work towards a qualification equivalent to five GCSEs while earning a living wage and learning on the job.
According to figures from Gov.uk, 76,500 people started a Level 2 apprenticeship in 2021/2022.
Most Level 2 apprenticeships last between 12 and 18 months. Some can lead to higher-level apprenticeships (such as a degree apprenticeship) and some full-time work.
However, companies such as Natwest also offer tailored apprenticeships which are much shorter (around two weeks) to work in one of their contact centres. These shorter apprenticeships are designed to help get people into gainful employment and are often run in conjunction with social mobility charities such as LTSB.
What are the entry requirements?
You must be 16 or older, no longer in full-time education, and a UK resident. There is no maximum age for intermediate apprentices.
Other entry requirements will vary depending on the company and role, so read the job description carefully before you apply. Some apprenticeships will include provisions for you to complete any required GCSEs, so a low grade is not necessarily a barrier.
Which sectors offer Level 2 apprenticeships?
The short answer is almost all sectors offer Level 2 apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships have evolved over the years and are now a feature of almost every sector. From healthcare, sciences, and manufacturing, to transport, construction, IT and finance, you can find plenty of Level 2 apprentice opportunities in your preferred industry.
If you like the sound of an intermediate apprenticeship but aren’t sure if it’s the best path to your chosen career, check out some of our industry guides for more information.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list.
You can also find Level 2 apprenticeships in:
- Animal care
- Hospitality & Catering
- Childcare and education
- Floristry and Horticulture
- Armed Services
- Arts, Media and Publishing
- Business, Administration and Law
- Hair and Beauty
- Leisure, Travel and Tourism
- Property & Surveying
To name but a few.
There are many jobs within each industry, and the level of training required will vary. However, a level 2 apprenticeship can provide you with a foot in the door and set you on your chosen career path.
For example, if your ultimate goal is to be a teacher, you will need to gain qualified teacher status by earning a PGCE. However, level 2 teaching apprenticeships enable you to begin working in a classroom from day one. You gain first-hand experience of teaching, with all the day-to-day challenges and rewards and can make an informed decision on whether you wish to qualify as a teacher. You can also undertake a higher apprenticeship to become a specialist teaching assistant.
Likewise, while nurses and doctors require several years of medical training and qualifications, you can join the NHS and support patient care as an apprentice healthcare support worker.
If you dream of being self-employed and want to learn a trade, consider an intermediate electrician or plumber apprenticeship.
In all cases, you will be earning at least the minimum wage for your age group, gaining on-the-job training, and working towards a recognised qualification.
Whatever your chosen career, an entry-level apprenticeship is one way to take that first all-important step.
How do I find Level 2 apprenticeships near me?
Sites like ours and various job boards allow you to search via location, occupation, and apprenticeship level.
The Government website offers information and statistics on the best-paid apprenticeships, the split between industries, and apprenticeship achievements.
You can also find apprenticeships listed on companies’ career pages and find apprenticeship opportunities at job fairs. Level 2 apprenticeships are competitive, so the more proactive you can be in your search, the better.
Do as much research as you can and apply for multiple apprenticeships once you have found something you think would be a good fit.
If you have any questions not covered by our articles or FAQs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We wish you the best of luck with your search!
Relax. We’ll send the jobs to you.
Reckon you know what you want to do, but can’t find the perfect role? Most companies hire their apprentices in a ‘recruitment window’. This means many great jobs are only available for a short time once or twice each year.
Sign up for our job alerts service, and we’ll send you any jobs that fit your search criteria.