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Apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships

When you have decided what you want to do as a career, there are pathways to support you to achieve it. Click on the headings below to find out more.

  • What is an apprenticeship?

    Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. They can take between 1 and 4 years to complete depending on their level. As an apprentice you will be working at least 30 hours per week and will receive pay at National Minimum Wage appropriate to apprenticeships which will include paid holidays. You will be studying for a national qualification either in your place of work or classroom based, this can be for one day a week or perhaps on a block release basis.

    Levels of apprenticeship

    Apprenticeships have equivalent educational levels:

    Name Level Equivalent educational level
    Intermediate 2 5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C
    Advanced 3 2 A level passes
    Higher 4, 5, 6 and 7 Foundation degree and above
    Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor’s or master’s degree

    Who can apply?

    You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you’ll need to be:

    • 16 or over
    • not in full-time education
    • living in England.

    What is good about an apprenticeship?

    • you will work alongside experienced staff
    • you gain job-specific skills
    • you earn a wage and get holiday pay
    • you study towards a related qualification (usually one day a week)
    • you’re not left with large ‘uni’ debts when you have completed the course.

    What is bad about an apprenticeship?

    • not all careers have apprenticeships on offer
    • you lose out on ‘university experience’.

    How can I find an apprenticeship?

    More information

  • What is a supported internship?

    A supported internship is a study programme that includes an unpaid work experience offered by a local employer which will last between 6 and 12 months. It is for you if you are aged 16 to 24 years old with an education, health and care plan and want to move into employment but need extra support to do so.

    There are no entry or completion requirements, and each learning provider will work with you to develop a personalised programme that meets your needs and provides progression.

    Although similar in aims to a traineeship or apprenticeship, supported internships differ in certain ways. On a supported internship you are expected to require a higher level of support than a trainee or apprentice, and will be offered work-place support in form of a job coach, as well as support for your non-work place learning.

    The aim of the supported internship is to prepare you for paid employment.

    What is good about a supported internship?

    • it supports you to develop the skills valued by employers
    • it enables you to demonstrate your value in the work place
    • you develop confidence in your own abilities to perform successfully at work
    • you can build up experience for a CV, demonstrating that you have the skills and willingness to work
    • it can help to change the perception of employers about employing people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
    • it can help to change the perception of your family – proving that you can work
    • you can improve your skills in English and maths, enabling you to be better prepared for work, including handling money, interacting with the public and practising interview skills
    • you can learn to become an independent traveller.

    What is bad about a supported internship?

    • there is no pay
    • you cannot be on Job Seekers Allowance while part of an internship programme.

    Where will I go to find a supported internship?

    A supported internship would normally be associated with further education training colleges:

    The Preparing for Adulthood website provides more information about supported internships.

  • What is a traineeship?

    A traineeship is a training course with work experience that gets you ready for work or for an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months. Its aim is to provide work preparation, English and maths training for those that need it and a work experience.

    You can apply if you’re:

    • unemployed and have little or no work experience
    • aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3
    • eligible to work in England.

    Help with finding a traineeship is available at GOV.UK – Find a traineeship.

    What is good about a traineeship?

    • you will get the opportunity to improve your maths and English skills
    • it could allow you to move onto an apprenticeship after the traineeships is complete
    • you gain new employment skills
    • you gain real work experience locally
    • you may get paid expenses for meals and travel.

    What is bad about a traineeship?

    • the traineeship is unpaid
    • you may need to find the traineeship position yourself.
    • Help with finding a traineeship is available at GOV.UK – Find a traineeship.

    More information

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Updated 13/10/17