What are apprenticeships?

An apprenticeship is a paid job which offers work experience alongside training with an education provider. Apprentices learn whilst they earn, achieving qualifications and building their skills in a real world context.

Benefits for your business

Why will apprentices help build your business?

Engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships are fast becoming sought after roles as the need for qualified staff grows and increasing compeition can be seen amongst Engineering companies for the best applicants.

Taking apprentices into your business should be part of your long term strategy as it can:

  • boost productivity by freeing up more experienced staff for expert level tasks
  • build skills and knowledge in your team
  • enhance your company reputation in the local area
  • ensure diversity of age, ethnicity and gender in your workforce
  • increase loyalty and retention of staff in your business by showing investment in their potential

Over 3/4 of employers say that apprentices increase productivity across their workforce.

Apprenticeship image 2

Placements and core information

What are the key facts you need to know?

There are many types of apprenticeships from Level 2 (GCSE or National level) to Level 7 (Masters degree) and you will need to decide which qualification level you need.

Apprentices specialise in topics ranging from Aerospace engineering, Autocare, Construction, Civil Engineering, to Software based roles.  You'll need to decide which type of apprentice standard best suits your business.

Apprentices are a long term investment in your staffing and recruitment with the majority of apprentices staying with their placement company after their placement has finished.

There is no age restriction for apprentices and in fact about half of apprentices are older than 25.

The government will give small businesses help with apprenticeship costs (about 95% of the total cost) by taxing larger employers.

Apprenticeship benefits image

SMEs and Apprenticeships

Did you know that despite an increase in the number of candidates some SME businesses struggle to recruit apprentices to fill the roles they have on offer? Read our blog to find out more about the oversupply problem and what you can do about it as an SME employer.

Coming soon - link to oversupply blog

Jargon buster

SME Employer Skills Champion image


The apprenticeship levy is a tax on larger employer that is used to fund apprenticeship training and small businesses with apprenticeship costs

Large Employer Skills Champion


Providers are the educational institutions who manage the training qualifications for apprenticeships, such as a school or college.

Intermediate Level Apprentice Image


Placements are the work based training activities that apprentices undertake, these are long-term job based roles.

Graduate, Degree or Higher level apprentice image


Each apprenticeship has a set of standards which the apprentice must meet to pass their qualification.

Advanced level apprentice image


Apprentice qualifications have levels equivalent from GCSE or Nationals (level 2) all the way up to Masters (level 7) so everyone understands how they relate to other qualifications.

Useful information and links - click the arrows to expand each section

UK Gov website

The UK Gov website is a good place for to start looking for information.  We've picked out a few links for you below.  

General guidance on Industry placements, including case study examples:

Visit the Government website

General Information about T Levels:

Employer guide on placements (document) More detailed guidance for employer on placements (webpage) Overview of T Level information Policy for Industry placements (2019) T Level funding T Levels and Technical Standards

Government statement on the new Advanced British Standard qualification and how it impacts T-Levels:

Read the statement


This webinar is aimed at SMEs who are interested in hosting placements for T Levels and contains useful information and case study examples from employers who have already been through the process.

Watch the webinar Find more webinars to watch

Apprentices.Scot - Scottish Government website

Welsh Government website

About apprenticeships

The Apprenticeship Guide - blog archive

The Apprenticeship Hub

Lifetime training - rules for employers

Need 2 Succeed - employer guide to apprenticeships

UCAS - information for Businesses

Understanding the Education Landscape

What about T-levels?

Confused about T-levels and how they work with apprenticeships? Looking for guidance and information? We've pulled together a simple guide for you to make the most of the best type of placement for your business.

Go to the T Levels page