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banner apprenticesWhat are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are structured programmes that teach you the skills you need, to perform well in your job. They allow you to learn practical skills in your workplace, building up valuable knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time.

As an employee, you will be based in a workplace the majority of the time, as most of the training takes part on the job. You will typically attend college training once a week, either on or offsite, working towards a work-based qualification, such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) or other nationally recognised qualifications.

Employers recognise and value apprenticeships as they demonstrate candidates have gained relevant skills, knowledge and experience to do their job up to the highest standards. 

What will I be studying?collage - pg 1


There are more than 200 different apprenticeships available:

There are three levels of apprenticeships in England:

  • Intermediate Level 2: equivalent to 5 GCSE passes or level 2 BTEC.
  • Advanced Level 3: equivalent to 2 A level passes, International Baccalaureate or a level 3 BTEC.
  • Higher Level 4 and 5: leads to NVQ Level 4 and above, Foundation Degree or a Degree. These apprenticeships are the equivalent to university level qualifications; they are not as common as Intermediate and Advanced but are currently being developed.

You will be working towards nationally accredited qualifications (for example, NVQ).

The apprenticeship framework covers technical knowledge qualifications (for example, BTEC or Diploma), functional skills in maths, English and sometimes ICT. Additional qualifications, relevant to the specific job placement, can be achieved as part of the framework.

What are the benefits of the apprenticeships?

  • Gaining nationally recognised qualifications valued by worldwide employers
  • earning money while you learn
  • employee benefits, such as paid leave, pension allowance and on the job training
  • working with experienced people in a real environment
  • learning specific skills and knowledge of the industry you work in
  • promising vocational route for those choosing not to go to university.

How much can I earn?

National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage (NAMW) is currently £2.73 per hour*. However, there is no maximum and apprentices can be paid as much as the employer is willing to pay.

Tower Hamlets council pays the London Living Wage (LLW), which is around £14,270 per year (LLW is £9.15 per hour and subject to change), working a minimum of 30 hours per week and encourages local employers to do the same.

The NAMW applies to those aged 16 to 18, or 19 or above on their first year of the apprenticeship. After the first year, full National Minimum Wage applies.

How long are apprenticeships for?

The length of an apprenticeship varies depending on prior skills levels of the apprentice, the qualification being obtained and industry sector. Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete.

All apprenticeships must last a minimum of 12 months.

What support will I receive during the apprenticeship?

Throughout your apprenticeship, you will receive mentoring support to discuss and monitor progress within workplace and studies, through regular meetings. All your work will be assessed and monitored by a tutor that will visit your workplace regularly.

You will also have a line manager that will guide and supervise you during your work placement.

What can an apprenticeship lead to?

Once the apprenticeship is completed, there are plenty of options to keep progressing and gaining employment. Your employer may like your determination and hard work and decide to keep you as a full time employee. You may be interested in searching a new job within the industry or choose to progress onto advanced or higher apprenticeships, college or university qualifications. If you want to develop in the field you are studying, you may consider gaining further skills or qualifications in your area of expertise. The practical skills you have gained will be an advantage on job applications over applicants with only theoretical knowledge.

If you know the employment sector you wish to work in, an apprenticeships in this sector will be a great way to start a career that could end up in the board room.

Who can apply?

Anyone aged 16 or above (note that apprenticeships sometimes are age restricted to 16-24 years old) can apply for apprenticeships and those over 18 for higher apprenticeships, through the National Apprenticeship Service. The entry and age qualification requirements may vary depending on the sector and level.


For WorkPath construction apprenticeship vacancies, call us on 020 7364 4900 or email constructiondesk@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

For IT Apprenticeships visit Arch Apprenticeships from Agilisys.

Check all the National Apprenticeship vacancies.

Tips for applying

There is a lot of competition to get into an Apprenticeship so it’s important to prepare for what is up ahead. 

Career optionsUnsure about what career path to choose?

If you are unsure of what profession or type of training will suit you best or would like some advice on how to apply for vacancies, we offer free careers advice through WorkPath.

Where can I find out more?

Share young apprentices' experiences as part of Bromley By Bow Centre employment programmes, for more information contact workbasedlearning@bbbc.org.uk or call 020 8709 9742.

Contact us

If you will like more information about apprenticeships and options for applying, please contact us on 020 7364 2262 / 5562 or e-mail WorkPath@towerhamlets.gov.uk