Your guide to all things apprenticeships

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
2 min read

In the process of making a decision about your future? If you can't decide whether to go to university, do an apprenticeship or something else entirely, click here.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job where you learn, gain experience, and get paid. It's a great way of entering into a job and making contacts while you work that will help you get into a job at the end of your time as an apprentice.

To be an apprentice you must be 16+ and not otherwise in full-time education.


  • undergo training for a specific job
  • get paid (with holiday leave)
  • gain hands-on work experience
  • study for (at least) 20% of your time as an apprentice - at a college, university, or with a training provider
  • be assessed during and at the end of your apprenticeship

Apprenticeships last anywhere between 1 and 6 years, depending on the level of apprenticeship:

Degree apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships, introduced in 2015, allow you to gain a full bachelor's degree (Level 6) or a master's degree (Level 7) while working and gaining experience. Lots of universities are offering them now, taking between 3 and 6 years to complete. They are an incredible way of gaining hands-on experience while studying part-time at university, as well as being perfect for those who don't want to land themselves in thousands of pounds of debt after studying a traditional degree at university because you will be earning while you learn.

The sectors where degree apprenticeships are available include:

  • Business & administration
  • Care services
  • Childcare & education
  • Construction
  • Creative & design
  • Digital
  • Engineering & manufacturing
  • Health & science
  • Legal, finance, and accounting
  • Protective services (e.g. police)

Pros & cons of apprenticeships

What can I do an apprenticeship in?

Many people assume that apprenticeships are just vocational, or for industries that are more hands-on or practical, however you'll be surprised at how many sectors you can do an apprenticeship in...

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Human resources (HR)
  • IT
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Retail
  • Transport

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

There are many ways to apply for an apprenticeship, either via our Opportunities section on Sort where we have over 200k opportunities, or by visiting the government website:

Apprenticeship stories

Sarah, Trainee Ophthalmic NHS Nurse, Norfolk

"As an apprentice in the NHS, you do feel you're supported. I've never felt so looked after. I couldn't just go and do a nursing degree, so the apprenticeship gave me that opportunity to get my foot in the door."

Alim, 22, Channel 4, London

"Being an apprentice has been the best time of my life, I've been able to do things that I'm passionate about. I've been able to meet so many different people. I've built up my confidence. It's been the best experience it could have been."

Hosanna, 18, Technical Apprentice, London

"I found the confidence I needed to take the apprenticeship, because I knew theatre is what I loved and where I wanted to be. There's never really a typical day. There's always different working hours and different people, which is my favourite part of it."

Have you got a story for us? Send us an email to to get your voice heard!

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