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It’s great that all the major political parties are talking about apprenticeships – about putting an end to the snobbery regarding them, about making sure that young people know that they are a serious alternative to setting out on your career path through university and about making sure that apprenticeships are both widely available and high quality.

What we need now is a clear understanding of what level of apprenticeship is right for you

Apprenticeships come in different levels and although the skills that you will learn on the job, to a certain extent will be the same (not entirely – there will be variations in equipment that you learn to use, to the complexity of the things that you deal with and the depth of learning), the nationally recognised qualifications that you study alongside work are at the level that matches the apprenticeship level.

Intermediate Apprenticeships are roughly equivalent to five good GCSE passes.

Advanced apprenticeships are equivalent to two A-level passes.

Higher apprenticeships are equivalent to the first stages of HE, for example a Foundation degree.

Typically, for an Intermediate Apprenticeship you will need a number of GCSEs grades A* to C with, ideally, English and Maths being two of those subjects – although all apprenticeship programmes are required to provide you with an opportunity to gain English and maths GCSEs.

For an Advanced Apprenticeship you will need at least 5 GCSEs with grades A* to C with, ideally, English and Maths being two of those subjects and some employers will prefer you to also have some Level 3 qualifications e.g. A-levels, or an equivalent level 3 vocational qualification.

For a Higher Apprenticeship in particular you will be required as standard to have 3 A-levels, or an equivalent level 3 vocational qualification because you will be working towards qualifications at a level higher than this.

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