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You will earn while you learn, gain qualifications and get paid as well. The minimum pay is £2.65 an hour although many apprentices earn considerably more than that depending on the level they're at and how far they've reached in their apprenticeship. (Bear in mind that if you were studying A levels, you wouldn't be paid at all!)

Apprenticeships are like jobs - you have to apply for them and be in competition with others - it's not the same an enrolling on a course. (There's advice on how to find and apply for an apprenticeship in the next section.) More than 200 different types of apprenticeship are available. Go to case studies to get an idea of what you could do. You'll do a mixture of classroom actiivities and workplace experience. For an idea of what apprenticeships are currently available locally go to Apprenticeships in Sussex which is an up-to-date local resource. For details of nationwide apprenticeships go the the National Apprenticeship Service

Already left school? Unemployed?

Employers/apprenticeship providers apply for funding to pay for your apprenticeship training. If you're aged 16 to 18 all your training is paid for. If you're aged 19 to 24 the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) will contribute up to 50% of the cost to the apprenticeship provider. Even if you're over 25 the provider may still be able to apply for a contribution, so many employers will still consider taking on an 18+ apprentice. 

Three levels - Intermediate, Advanced and Higher

Apprenticeship levels are roughly equivalent to studying at levels 2, 3 and 4/5. Level 2 is  GCSE equivalent, level 3 is A level equivalent and level 4 is degree level equivalent. So, if having higher levels skills is your goal, you can achieve that via an apprenticeship. 


You can progress to higher level qualifications via an apprenticeship (provided you have the support of your employer). Go to the page on routes to higher education and select the area you're interested in to see examples of progression. The following leaflets outline apprenticeship progression for the Adult Social Care Sector, but even if you're not interested in that sector they provide a useful overview of how progression works.

Stopping off points

There are lots of stopping off points so it is up to you how far you go. For example, for hairdressing you could start at alevel 1 (GCSE grades D to G) and progress through NVQ levels 2, 3 and 4. You could then go on to a Foundation degree, especially if you were interested in managing a salon and wanted an appropriate management qualification. For engineering you could also start at level 1 and progress to an advanced apprenticeship via a level 3 BTEC qualification. You would then have the opportunity to progress to an HND and then Honours Degree. The range of different qualifications sounds complicated but you would get help and advice about those along the way.

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