Apprenticeship schemes are at the heart of the UK government’s vision to provide individuals of all ages, abilities and backgrounds with the skills, knowledge and experience that employers are looking for now and for the future.

An apprenticeship programme combines practical on-the-job training with study, meaning you can earn a wage while you learn.

Choosing a career or deciding whether an apprenticeship is right for you can be a daunting task that raises a whole host of questions.

Perhaps you’re a school or college leaver about to embark on your next step but unsure of which pathway to take; or an existing employee wanting to change career direction; or an employer considering taking on an apprentice but unclear of the benefits this could bring to your business.

To give you more of an insight into apprenticeships, we’ve pulled together some useful information to help students, employees and employers make the right choices.

The evolution of apprenticeships

While the origin of apprenticeships can be traced back as early as the 16th century, the perception of apprenticeships have changed significantly over the past few years. They are no longer considered as simply entry level trade based schemes but instead, now serve the need for highly sought-after workforce skills across a full spectrum of industries and occupations.

Over the last few years in particular, apprenticeships have evolved significantly. Apprenticeship Standards have been developed which have been designed by employers for employers. They are more robust and relevant to specific job roles, more inclusive and allow progression up to high levels.

The ethos behind apprenticeships is to equip individuals with the crucial skills needed by employers. By covering a wide variety of specialisms they have been developed to bridge the skills gap affecting many industries and ultimately, improve productivity.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job where you’ll earn while you learn. It combines theoretical knowledge with hands on training relevant to a particular industry and job role.

Apprenticeship programmes usually take between one and four years to complete depending on the level and qualification, and are available across a wide range of industries and organisations.

Why choose an apprenticeship: key benefits

Apprenticeships offer a number of benefits to apprentices and employers alike, which are summarised below:

Top ten benefits for apprentices


  • Develop job-specific skills crucial to a chosen industry
  • Earn a salary and receive holiday pay
  • Gain vital exposure in a workplace environment
  • Gain the opportunity to work alongside and learn from experienced staff
  • Avoid student debt with no tuition fees or student loans
  • Get a fast track route into a professional career
  • Learn lots of crucial and transferable skills to enable you to move into other roles
  • Gain a credible, accredited industry related qualification
  • Improve your career prospects and earning potential
  • Become highly employable!

Top ten benefits for employers

  • Secure the best new and fresh talent
  • Gain the right skills to meet your business needs
  • Reduce training and recruitment costs
  • Support existing employees to develop skills and knowledge directly relevant to their job
  • Boost motivation and morale across teams
  • Increase staff retention and employee loyalty
  • Improve performance and productivity
  • Bring in new perspectives and ideas into the workplace
  • Develop high calibre employees
  • Future-proof your business by having employees with the skills you need now and for the future

Apprenticeship levels

Apprenticeships are for anyone aged 16+ who wants to earn while they learn, and range from GCSE-equivalent Level 2 all the way up to Level 7, which is equivalent to a master’s degree. Some schemes will also offer additional highly credible, industry related qualifications.

Intermediate - Level 2 – Equivalent educational level: GCSE

Advanced - Level 3 – Equivalent educational level: A level

Higher - Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 – Equivalent educational level: Foundation degree and above

Degree – Levels 6 and 7 – Equivalent educational level: Bachelor’s or master’s degree

Find out more about apprenticeships today

GP Strategies prides itself on delivering a range of high quality apprenticeships and flexible workforce development programmes to meet the needs of employers and individuals just starting their career or those already in employment. Discover more about how our wide selection of apprenticeships and training can help you reach your full potential, or speak to one of our expert team on 0330 1000 610.


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