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Apprenticeships may not be what you think! Did you know, for example, that the top three Apprenticeship areas that students studied in the UK last year were Health and Social Care, Management and Business Administration? Due to their combination of real work and learning, more and more people are finding Apprenticeships to be a fantastic path to a high level career.

Read our handy Parents Guide to Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Levels

Apprenticeship levels range from Level 2 'Intermediate' and Level 3 'Advanced' (equivalent to 3 A-Levels), right through to Level 7 'Higher' Apprenticeships which are equivalent to a master's degree. University degrees are a fantastic opportunity for a lot of students, however they may not suit every students learning style. It is also becoming more common for graduates to undertake a role in an unrelated industry after they have graduated, meaning they do not always utilise the skills that they have learnt. Apprenticeships offer the same level of experience combined with a real full-time job in that industry – without the debt of University.

Most students will undertake a Level 2 Apprenticeship straight from school, or a Level 3 after they have completed their A-Levels (subject to them having the correct work-skills) and then work up through the different Apprenticeship levels, and different job roles with the support of their employer. As a result students get more of a head start in industry than if they went completely down the academic route, and are more likely, according to the Office of National Statistics*, to earn more over their lifetime: "On average graduates aged 21 earned a lower gross annual wage than 21 year olds who left education with an apprenticeship."

Apprenticeships and University

Apprenticeships are mainly focussed around giving individuals the skills that they need to undertake a particular job role, however they do not restrict young people from progressing onto University. Last year 19% of Advanced (Level 3) Apprentices progressed onto higher education, either through a higher level Apprenticeship (Level 4, 5, 6 or 7) or through a traditional University degree which can be sponsored by their employer. This gives Apprentices the job security that normal graduates do not have, and means that young people can start on the route to their dream job now!

And for the 81% who decide University is not for them, it is often because they are already working towards the job role they aspire to have, and are able to get there without the strain of increasing University fee's.

Apprenticeships and A-Levels

Not everyone learns best by taking exams, and therefore A-Levels may not be best suited to everyone, especially with the growing range of high-level technical subjects offered by Apprenticeships and Full-Time courses (e.g. law, IT, surveying and HR).

Apprenticeships teach the skills specific to the job role that the individual is working in full-time (and being paid for!) whilst also bringing them into a safe learning environment for day/block release classes at college to learn new skills. This allows young people the opportunity to ask our lecturers any questions that they may not feel comfortable asking in their job role.

It is also important to understand that Apprenticeships are not like traditional work experience like your son or daughter may have done at school. They are skilled qualifications which can only be passed if students are able to demonstrate that they can undertake certain tasks; which they can't do by just making the tea and coffee!

They don't know what job they want to do!

Worried that your son or daughter does not know exactly what job they want to do? Don’t worry! Some students will be surprised to learn the range of job opportunities that are available within one company; some of which they may never have been exposed to previously! Sometimes just getting their foot through the door of a company who is willing to invest time and money into helping them learn is the best route forward. Or they could always be inspired at one of our events? All of our lecturers have industry experience, so why not attend one of our open events with your son or daughter and pick their brains on the range of opportunities available within their industries?

To find out when our next open event is, please visit our events page. Alternatively to speak to someone sooner, please contact our information, advice and guidance team on 023 8091 1299 or email

Support from Employers

The employers that take on Apprentices are keen to work with them, to help them grow in confidence and grow their skills so that they stay with them after they have finished their Apprenticeship (normally 1 or 2 years in length). It is of huge benefit for them to do this as recruitment costs to a business is very high; meaning that it is in their interest to develop the Apprentice within their role.

Apprenticeship Earning Potential

Although Apprentices traditionally start work on a low wage, recent studies have shown that because of the access into the industry that it offers young people, overall earnings can be better than those of University graduates. For example, a recent Office of National Statistics survey (Graduates in the UK Labour Market 2013) stated that:

“On average graduates aged 21 earned a lower gross annual wage than 21 year olds who left education with an apprenticeship”.

A report by Dr. Philip Kirby in October 2015, titled LEVELS OF SUCCESS The potential of UK apprenticeships; Improving social mobility through education, also states that:

"Higher Apprentices at level 5 result in greater lifetime earnings than undergraduate degrees from non-Russell group Universities, according to the latest modelling by the Boston Consulting Group."

With the continuing rise of University fee's, this route into employment can offer a much more cost-effective alternative. Plus, in a recent UKCES UK Employer Skills Survey 2015, 66% of employers rated relevant work skills as a ‘critical’ or ‘significant’ factor in recruiting new employees. With employers putting an ever increasing value on work experience, compared to academic skills, there has never been a better time for your son or daughter to find a job they enjoy!

What subjects can you study an Apprenticeship in?

Think that Apprenticeships are just for plumbers and electricians? Think again! Last year the top three Apprenticeship subject areas in the UK were Health and Social Care, Management and Business Administration. Apprenticeships combine real work and learning, meaning that more and more people are finding Apprenticeships to be a fantastic path into a high level career.

To view our latest list of Apprenticeships please visit the courses section of this website and select the subject area of interest. After you have clicked on the relevant subject area, all Apprenticeship courses will be displayed when you expand the green 'Apprenticeship' bar. With subjects ranging from Dental Nursing to Surveying, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Alternatively, to view a list of current Apprenticeship vacancies, please click here.

Types of Apprenticeships

Eastleigh College offers two types of Apprenticeships, which are 'Work-Based' and 'Day/Block Release'. Both can be undertaken by anyone meeting the entry criteria who is aged 16+ and does not already hold a degree.

Generally speaking the work-based option is best suited to existing employees who are already in a relevant job role and would flourish by being offered the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification.

Day/block release Apprenticeships are designed to give additional support to students who need to learn the additional skills they need to do their job well. Often they are new recruits or students who have just left school or college.

Most Apprenticeships will state if they are work-based or day/block release within the title of the course, however if you are unsure, all 'work-based' Apprenticeships are flagged with a small suitcase icon. If in doubt, please feel free to call our information, advice and guidance team on 023 8091 1299 or email

How do they find an employer?

Eastleigh College is committed to working with local employers to offer a fantastic range of Apprenticeship opportunities to students who choose to study with us. All of our vacancies are updated throughout the year, and a list of all of our latest employer vacancies can be viewed here.

Alternatively, your son or daughter can source their own employer and ask if they would be willing to put them through an Apprenticeship programme. To find out more about the range of College support services available to help students in finding an employer, please click here.

Contact us

To find out more about the benefits of undertaking an Apprenticeship, or to help decide if Apprenticeships are the best option for your son or daughter please contact us on 023 8091 1226 or email

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