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Date published: 8th February 2022

This week, we encourage people to think about apprenticeships and their benefits. Many don't realise just how many there are. Whether you are an individual thinking of starting a new career, or a business looking to fill a skills gap, there is much more to apprenticeships than people might expect.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are a route to obtaining a qualification alongside gaining work experience in a particular field.

Typically an Apprentice will spend 80% getting on the job experience and 20% studying.

There are four different levels of apprenticeships are:

  • NVQ level
  • Foundation degree (diploma)
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Master's degree

Apprenticeships can:

  • Train - Future proof the workforce or a personal career through an apprenticeship
  • Retrain - Apprentices gain the skills and knowledge the organisation needs, allowing employers to up-skill existing employees and build the future workforce.
  • Achieve - Realise the available business benefits and career progression and how apprenticeships can help transform the workforce.

There are some common misconceptions about apprenticeships. Check out the facts here:

Apprenticeships are not just for trade

Traditional apprenticeships may have started this way, but nowadays, apprenticeships are available in many areas. A large proportion of those being taken up are professional apprenticeships.

These are designed with professional bodies to obtain membership up to chartered status upon completion.

Apprentices are 'regular' employees

Apprentices need to spend 20% of their week doing some form of study, which may include a day at college. For the remaining 80%, they are on the job gaining real-life experience and completing legitimate work. This ensures that a perfect mix of practical and theoretical knowledge is achieved.

Apprentices are not all school leavers

Apprenticeships are a great alternative to college or university and provide school leavers with the opportunity to earn while they learn, but apprenticeships are available for all ages.

Many people choose to undertake an apprenticeship as a career change when full-time education is not a practical option. Some employees choose to take an apprenticeship to develop existing knowledge further and enhance their chosen career.

Apprenticeships are real qualifications

Undertaking an apprenticeship does not change your qualification, just the method it is being delivered.

Existing members of staff can become apprentices, they are not just for new starters

Bringing a new apprentice into your team is a great way to grow and add value to your department or business. However, it is not the only way to make use of apprenticeships, existing staff can do an apprenticeship to up-skill and develop their knowledge in their field to progress their career.

Useful links

Below are some useful links with additional information regarding apprenticeships:

Interview with NNDC Apprentices


Home | Apprenticeships Norfolk

Apprenticeships | Understanding apprenticeships in the UK (

Find an apprenticeship - GOV.UK (

Employing an apprentice - GOV.UK (

Apprentices | Key issues | UNISON National

Last updated: 12th April 2023