A handy careers guide to

Advanced Apprenticeships

Everything you need to know about advanced apprenticeships

Featuring exclusive apprenticeship tips from

Advanced apprenticeships sound great
- but where do I start?

It’s no surprise that apprenticeships open up a promising pathway to your future career. But as exciting as they are, the world of apprenticeships can be quite overwhelming too with often conflicting information out there. 

You’ve probably heard many of your peers sing paeans about advanced apprenticeships. But what actually are they? And how do you get started on one?

Buckle up – your advanced apprenticeship ride starts here.

Join Springpod to find advanced apprenticeship opportunities.

Section 1

Advanced Apprenticeships: The Basics

What is an advanced apprenticeship?

An advanced apprenticeship is the next step up from an intermediate apprenticeship and sees you undertaking a Level 3 qualification (which is equivalent to two A-Levels).

As with all apprenticeships, it is an opportunity to earn while you learn, as you work with an employer in your chosen industry while you complete your studies. Advanced apprenticeships can be a little more challenging, as you’ll be studying at a higher level, as well as taking on some extra responsibilities and duties in your work role.

What qualifications do I get at the end of an advanced apprenticeship?

With an advanced apprenticeship, you’ll work towards achieving a Level 3 NVQ qualification, or equivalent, and you’ll often also gain a knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC. This is alongside Functional Skills in English and Maths (if you don’t already have a high qualification in these subjects).


A tip from Jaguar Land Rover

In our experience, Advanced Apprenticeship qualifications are widely recognised. These provide the apprentice with theoretical knowledge, practical skills and desired behaviours that are a highly transferable across the industry.

What are the benefits of an advanced apprenticeship?

One of the biggest benefits of doing an advanced apprenticeship is the opportunity to start earning a wage, while you continue to learn. Other benefits include:


Hands-on Experience

Get some real-world practical experience in your chosen career path.

Uncover Different Career Pathways​

Access to a Professional Network

Advanced apprenticeships help you build a supportive professional network earlier.

studies to real world

Advice and Mentorship

Get advice, guidance, and mentorship from professionals in your field.

Learn Differently

Continue with your studies outside the classroom environment.

Get a Taste of the Industry

An Alternative Path

Advanced apprenticeships offer you the opportunity to try something new.

Gain Employability Skills

Build practical and transferrable work skills such as teamwork, communication, and time management.

What’s the difference between an advanced apprenticeship, A-Levels and attending a Further Education college?

In terms of entry requirements for each of these education pathways, there’s not much difference. Each pathway generally expects you to have at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C.

The biggest difference between these will be how you’re likely to study or learn.

  • Split your time between the classroom and working with your employer (typically 2 days of study versus 3 days of working).

  • Less formal learning approach: you’ll be assessed in a range of academic and practical assessments on the job.

  • Ongoing support from your employer and supervisor with your studies and work role.

  • Opportunity to start earning and learning about the workplace alongside studying.

  • More traditional classroom-based learning, typically attending sixth form full-time, 5 days a week.

  • More written assignments/essays and exams focused in terms of assessment.

  • Quite similar to school as you’ll have a structured timetable that you’ll need to stick to.

  • Less formal than school or sixth form, but still predominantly classroom-based study.

  • More flexibility in your time table- you might only have classes scheduled across 3 or 4 days, and it’s unlikely your timetable will be full-time.

  • Ability to undertake part-time work or an internship to fit in with your studies.

  • Opportunity to study different qualifications other than A-Levels, such as NVQs or BTECs (depending on where you go).

How is an advanced apprenticeship different from other apprenticeships?

There are a few core differences between the different levels of apprenticeships, mainly relating to the level of course you study:

These is the first step on the apprenticeship ladder and the most popular apprenticeship. At the end of an intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll secure a vocational qualification, usually a Level 2 NVQ. You might also work towards a BTEC, GCSE, or City & Guilds qualification

The next step up after an advanced apprenticeship is a higher apprenticeship. You usually have to be 18 to get onto one, having completed an advanced apprenticeship previously. Higher apprentices typically gain a Level 4 NVQ (or above) but can also work towards a foundation degree, higher national diploma and even postgraduate study.

During a degree apprenticeship, you’ll work towards achieving a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree (Level 6 and 7 qualifications respectively). Aside from the level of qualification, the biggest difference with these apprenticeships is the time commitment – typically it will take between 4 and 6 years to complete.

Who are advanced apprenticeships for?

Advanced apprenticeships have been designed for school-leavers who want to continue studying but are also keen to start getting some more practical experience. You can apply for an advanced apprenticeship while you’re still at school, and confident that you’ll get the grades required. You’ll also need to be:

  • Aged 16 by the end of your summer holidays.
  • Living in England full-time.
  • Not enrolled for full-time education elsewhere.

Why should you consider doing an advanced apprenticeship?

Like all apprenticeships, an advanced apprenticeship is a great stepping stone if you’re starting to feel ready to take a deep dive into a potential career. You should consider doing an advanced apprenticeship if:

  • You feel confident about the industry you want to work in.
  • You’re ready to switch up how you learn and try something new.
  • You’ve got the GCSE grades that will help get you into a program.
  • You’re feeling a bit bored of the same old classroom scene,
  • You want to start earning a wage while you continue to study.
  • You feel ready for some more responsibility. 

How long is an advanced apprenticeship?

Advanced apprenticeships generally last for 2 years (so quite similar to completing a full A-Level) although they might be longer or shorter, depending on what you study and your program.

Are there any negatives to doing an advanced apprenticeship?

We wouldn’t call them ‘negatives’ exactly, but we’d be lying if we didn’t tell you that there are a few other things that you’ll need to think about before committing to this pathway:

Responsibility (and a lot of it)

An advanced apprenticeship is no walk in the park. You’ll study alongside working, having to manage deadlines, assessments, maybe exams, delivering at work, and probably trying to have some sort of social life. It’s a big commitment (but one we think is well worth it).

Your salary may be slightly below market rate

The current minimum wage for an apprentice aged 16-18 in the UK is £3.90 per hour. Although many employers do pay more, it’s something to keep in mind.

Missing out on social interactions

You’ll likely be the youngest person in your team, which can be daunting at times. While all your friends are still in sixth form or college together, sharing lunch and fun stories, you might feel like you’re missing out on the chance to just hang out with your mates every day. But don’t let this put you off as you’ll be gaining lots of experience that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Google Apprenticeships Tips

A tip from Google

While more can definitely be done to improve the brand of apprenticeships, more people graduating each year and receiving an apprenticeship qualification helps with apprenticeships being more widely recognised and valued.

Join Springpod to find advanced apprenticeship opportunities.


Advanced Apprenticeships: The Application Process

Are advanced apprenticeships as valued as A-Levels?

Each of these pathways is valued in its own right and there’s no wrong or right pathway in terms of which is ‘better’, only which is the best fit for you!

Employers view the qualifications you achieve through an apprenticeship just as highly as they do qualifications achieved through traditional classroom study (sometimes even more highly as they appreciate the hard work that goes into completing an apprenticeship!).

What are the entry requirements for an advanced apprenticeship?

It’s important to note that every apprenticeship opportunity will list specific entry requirements and qualifications that a particular employer is looking for. However, as a general rule you will require the following:


Most advanced apprenticeships will expect to see you have at least 5 GCSEs, at grades A*-C to get into their programs. You can also apply if you have qualifications that are equivalent to this, or have completed an intermediate apprenticeship.

Employer/Industry Specific

Some employers might want to see that you’ve studied subjects relevant to their industry. So if you’re going for a STEM-based role, making sure you’ve got a good grade in Science, Maths or ICT.

What subjects can you study as part of an advanced apprenticeship?

Advanced apprenticeships form the second most popular apprenticeship pathway currently, and because of that, there’s no limit to where it can take you!

Courses are available to study subjects in a whole range of different areas, that connect with a heap of different job roles with employers who offer these pathways. Actual subjects can vary, but you could be looking at anything from:

  • Science Related Subjects
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Constructing, Planning and the Built Environment
  • Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism
  • Business Administration
  • Law and HR
  • Health and Public Services, including Care and Social Work
  • Agriculture and Animal Care, including Veterinary studies

What skills will you develop as an advanced apprentice?

Alongside all those juicy (and life-changing!) technical skills and knowledge, you’ll get the opportunity to develop the skills that are in hot demand when it comes to the #FutureOfWork!

To name just a few:

  •  Time Management
  • Communication & Interpersonal Skills
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Decision Making & Analytical Thinking

Where will you study as an advanced apprentice?

Where you study will depend on your local providers and what they offer. You might complete your course across a mix of providers and this could include:

  • Further Education or Vocational Education Colleges
  • Registered Training Organisations
  • Online Study – might be provided alongside classroom-based study.

What does the application process involve?

Individual application processes will come down to the training provider and the employer, but it’s always good to be prepared with what’s generally expected which will probably include:

  • An up-to-date professional CV (No more than 2 sides of A4!).
  • A one-page cover letter outlining why you’re the ideal candidate.
  • Additional 1-2 pages addressing any relevant selection criteria.
  • Relevant academic transcripts or qualification certificates.
  • At least two references.

Three tips to make your advanced apprenticeship application stand out

Demonstrate Your Skills

Employers and course providers will want to see that you understand what an advanced apprenticeship will demand from you. Think about how you can showcase things like time management, handling priorities and deadlines, teamwork, organisation and communication skills. You can pull examples from your studies, part-time work, volunteering, work experience, and sports or hobbies!

Show Your Enthusiasm

Think about how you feel when you meet someone who likes the same stuff as you: it’s exciting! When we talk to people who understand our passions and interests we remember them, and the same applies when you apply for an apprenticeship! Demonstrate how much you know about your chosen sector, industry and employer and wow them with your knowledge!

Notch Up Some Work Experience

We’re gonna keep banging this drum at you: Work experience is invaluable! Not only to demonstrate the aforementioned enthusiasm and passion but to show an employer you’re committed to and understand what working in their sector might look like.

Atkins Apprenticeship Tips

A tip from Atkins

In an apprenticeship application, we look for:

Passion / enthusiasm for Atkins and the role, thought through answers and quality checks i.e. no spelling / grammar errors.

What to expect at the apprenticeship interview

There possibly isn’t a person alive who doesn’t get nervous at the thought of an interview! And that’s totally fine. Remember – you might be asked to interview with both the employer and teaching staff from where you’ll study.

Here’s what to expect:

  • A panel interview with 2-3 (sometimes more) key members of the team.
  • A mixture of questions aimed at getting to know you and your experience.
  • Behavioural questions – These are the ones that typically start ‘Tell me about a time when …’.
  • Sometimes you might be asked to complete a psychometric test or small task to showcase your abilities.
  • You might also be asked to do a basic Maths or English task.

When it comes to nailing your interview, preparation is absolutely essential! The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel in being able to create a great first impression.

Here are our top tips for preparing for your apprenticeship interview:

  • Research the company AND the course you’ll study.
  •  Plan your journey and your outfit.
  • Create a list of your key skills and personal qualities.
  • Get a mock interview person.

How much does an advanced apprenticeship cost?

There is no cost to you as the apprentice to do an advanced apprenticeship. Typically these apprenticeships go to 16-18-year-olds, where you’re required to be in full-time study or training. Your course provider and employer cover any related costs to your apprenticeship.

What rights do advanced apprentices have?

Even though you’re relatively younger, you’re still also considered an employee of the company, and as such, are entitled to a few basic benefits and conditions. This includes:

  • The minimum wage for your age and level of apprenticeship.
  • You should be paid for the days you work and the days you study at college.
  • A minimum of 20 days holiday leave per year.

You might get other benefits too, depending on your employer, but these are the absolute minimum requirements. You can find out more on the Gov.uk website. Alternatively take a look at some of the advanced apprenticeship opportunities on Springpod to get a better idea of the benefits.

Where can you find advanced apprenticeship opportunities?

There are numerous options available to help you uncover what apprenticeships are available. A few good ones include:

National Apprenticeship Service

This is a great resource for all things apprenticeships, with anywhere between 12, 000 and 20, 000 apprenticeship vacancies advertised on the site at any one time. And now they’re all available on Springpod too.


Our network is designed to bring you the best of the best that’s out there for your future career pathway (including advanced apprenticeships). You’ll also have the opportunity to interact and ask questions to real ambassadors who have ventured down the apprenticeship pathway. Become a Springpod member for free.

Direct Employers or Training Providers

If you’ve got a few companies in mind that you’d love to work for, checking out their websites directly will tell you everything you need to know. Different training providers will also advertise these opportunities, so check with your local college, training company or university. If you don’t know where to start, we have you covered – we’ve partnered with some awesome organisations who offer these apprenticeships (including Jaguar Land RoverKier, and Google!)

Your School Careers Centre

Your careers leader can be a great resource to help you when researching, planning and applying for any apprenticeship opportunities. Book some time with them during form time or a careers lesson to get more information. 

When is the best time to apply for advanced apprenticeships?

Once you’ve made the decision that this is right for you, the next step is to check when applications open. Employers and colleges tend to have one intake a year, so if there’s someone you really want to work for, check their website and set a reminder. You can apply while you’re still at school, providing you can get evidence of your anticipated grades (talk about an incentive to make sure you achieve them!).

We’ve seen apprenticeship applications typically following this timeline:

  • Applications open near the start of the year (Feb-March) and close a couple of months later.
  • Selection processes and interviews tend to happen over the summer (July-August).
  • Offers are made ready for apprentices to enrol for the new academic year (September).
  • Some providers offer rolling intakes – meaning they’ll accept apprentices at any point of the year if there’s an employer who can accommodate them.

This might be your first step on your apprenticeship journey, or it might be the start to something new. We think the advanced apprenticeship is the perfect stepping stone into a higher apprenticeship, and many employers who offer one will also offer the other. Apprenticeships offer so much flexibility for everyone involved if you know you want to keep working and studying as you come to the end of your advanced apprenticeship, make sure you speak with your course provider and employer to see how they can help you stay on the path you want. 

And if you’re keen to find out what life is like as an apprentice, take a look at some of our careers broadcasts. Or take a peek at our Degree Apprenticeship guide to read what apprentices with employers like Jaguar Land Rover, Accenture and Google have to say.


Join Springpod to find advanced apprenticeship opportunities.