What Qualifications do I Need to do an Apprenticeship?

Posted by: Andre Post Date: 12th June 2015

Choosing an apprenticeship is a big decision to make, as it could be the stepping stone to a career that could really take you far in life.

If an apprenticeship is the right route for you to take, you may be wondering what qualifications you need to start, or how the qualifications that you have already obtained affect your chances of being hired.

A real interest in the Role

Before any qualification that you already have, or are working to obtain, you will need to have a genuine interest in the role that you are looking to apply for, and possess some of the skills required for the kind of position.

If you are unsure about what skills are needed for certain roles, or you don’t know where your skills would best lie, you can take our quiz on which apprenticeship would suit you.


Some employers looking to hire apprentices don’t always require the learner to have a qualification in order to start. There are certain roles and companies where the learner doesn’t need any qualifications to begin their training. An apprenticeship is a practical way of learning, and employers who recognise this will realise that some people don’t perform well in exams, and can succeed with the more ‘hands-on’ approach.

However, employers still want good candidates applying to them – if you have at least 5 GCSEs graded A*-C, you’ve got a very good chance in the application process, and finding a position.

If you know which apprenticeship you want to do, it’s great planning to study smarter and perform better in subjects relevant to the role. For example, if you want to do an accountancy apprenticeship, getting good grades in maths and English would benefit your application.

Following GCSEs, you are likely to start an apprenticeship at Level 2, with some exceptions if you have particularly high grades, or relevant experience in the industry. You can learn more about the different apprenticeship levels here.

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A Levels

Not everyone knows that you can start an apprenticeship following GCSEs, but if you’ve completed your A Levels, or even if you have only achieved your AS year, you can still apply for a role successfully.

As with GCSEs, it’s good to get qualifications relevant to the area you want to train in; but again, the grades that you get aren’t essential for success in the application process.

With the extra knowledge that you have gained from this level of study, you are likely to start your apprenticeship at Level 2 or 3, possibly even Level 4 in some circumstances.

University Education – a Degree

Unfortunately, if you have been to university and graduated from your course, or received any form of qualification from your time in university education, you will not be able to apply for an apprenticeship, as you will not be eligible for the government funding required to pay for the course.

Exceptions are made however, if you decide to leave university before you qualify. You can then go on to apply for apprenticeship positions using the qualifications that you gained prior. Overall, the only qualification that will stop you from achieving a role as an apprentice is a degree. Up to this level, you are likely to gain a role as an apprentice, regardless of the qualification level, or grade earned.

This said, it is still important that you work hard toward any qualification you are undertaking, as the grades on your CV will make a big impression to potential employers. To find out how else you can impress employers on your CV, even with limited experience, check out our guide here.

Kick start your career through the apprenticeship pathway by clicking below.

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