Scroll Top
Little Heath Industrial Estate, Office 3 & 4, Old Church Rd, Coventry CV6 7NB

Back to basics: What is an apprenticeship?

Explore how apprenticeships could offer you practical skills, job readiness, and career advancement without the debt of degrees.

In a world where traditional three-year-long university degrees often dominate the educational landscape, apprenticeships offer individuals a solid alternative. Apprenticeships provide a practical and effective route to acquiring specialised skills, gaining real-world experience, and achieving professional success.

What Is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a structured training programme designed to prepare individuals for specific trades or professions. This system combines hands-on work experience with classroom/remote learning, allowing apprentices to earn a wage while gaining the skills and knowledge necessary for their chosen field. Typically, apprentices work under the supervision of experienced professionals and receive regular training and coaching related to their trade.

Upon completion, apprentices are often awarded a certification which signifies their competence and readiness to work independently.

Components of an apprenticeship

On-the-Job training

Central to apprenticeships is the practical, hands-on experience gained by working with skilled professionals. This training allows apprentices to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, which enhances their learning and skill development.

Classroom/remote training

Complementing the practical experience is training through in-person or remote sessions. These training sessions typically cover all of the essential theory and industry standards that you need in your chosen field.


Apprentices benefit from the guidance and mentorship/coaching of experienced professionals who provide support, feedback, and valuable insights into the chosen field. These are commonly known in the apprenticeship industry as Coaches or Skills Coaches.


Successful completion of an apprenticeship often leads to a recognised certification or credentials, making the apprentice eligible for higher wages and more advanced job positions.

Why apprenticeships are a valid educational route

Skill development

Apprenticeships are designed to equip individuals with specific, industry-relevant skills. This targeted training often leads to proficiency in a shorter time compared to traditional university degrees. For example, in trades like plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry, apprentices can start earning while learning, making them highly skilled and job-ready upon completion.

Earn while you learn

Unlike traditional university students who may wrack up significant debt, apprentices earn a wage throughout their training period. This model not only makes education more accessible but also reduces the economic burden on individuals and their families.

Job readiness

The combination of practical experience and academic learning ensures that apprentices are well-prepared for the workforce. They gain familiarity with industry-specific tools, techniques, and protocols, which enhances their employability and often leads to job offers from their training employers.

Career advancement

Many apprenticeships are designed to provide a clear path for career progression. After completing an apprenticeship, individuals can continue their education, pursue advanced certifications, or take on supervisory roles. This progression is particularly evident in fields like healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology, where apprenticeships serve as stepping stones to higher-level positions.

Industry demand

Many industries face a shortage of skilled workers. Apprenticeships address this gap by directly training individuals in the skills that are most needed. Sectors such as construction, engineering, and advanced manufacturing actively seek apprentices to fill critical roles, ensuring a steady supply of qualified professionals.


Apprenticeships are not limited to traditional trades. They are increasingly available in high-growth sectors like technology, finance, and healthcare. For instance, tech companies now offer apprenticeships in coding, cybersecurity, and data analysis, providing an alternative pathway to enter the tech industry without a conventional IT degree.

Long-term benefits

Studies show that apprentices often enjoy higher employment rates and greater job stability compared to their peers with only academic qualifications. The combination of practical experience and formal training positions them well for long-term career success.

When can you do an apprenticeship?

Individuals can enrol on an apprenticeship as soon as they’ve finished school though there are some prerequisites including:

  • The individual is 16 or over;
  • living in England;
  • and not in full-time education.

This means that an individual can enrol on an apprenticeship at any point whether they’ve been to college, or university, or are looking to retrain.

Levels of apprenticeship

Much like traditional education, apprenticeships have a variety of levels. Here are the equivalent educational levels.

Level Equivalent educational level
Intermediate 2 GCSE
Advanced 3 A level
Higher 4,5,6 and 7 Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree


Individuals can apply to any level of apprenticeship so long as they meet the prerequisites of the qualification. This if different from programme to programme, and level to level.


Apprenticeships represent a viable and valuable educational route, offering practical skills, financial benefits, and strong career prospects.

As the job market continues to evolve, these programmes provide a bridge between education and employment, ensuring that individuals are equipped to meet the demands of their chosen fields. Whether in traditional trades or emerging industries, apprenticeships provide learners with the tools they need to thrive in a competitive workforce.

Interested in applying for an apprenticeship?

Simply fill in the form on this page and let’s see if a marketing apprenticeship could be right for you. Here are some of the benefits of doing an apprenticeship with us:

  • Gaining practical hands-on marketing experience & skills;
  • Getting a better perspective on where you want to go in life;
  • Earning a salary while you study;
  • You’ll have access to mentorship and guidance along the way;
  • Apprenticeships lead to better career opportunities;
  • Gain industry-recognised qualifications for free.

    Related Posts

    Privacy Preferences
    When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.