Everything you need to know about apprenticeships

February 7, 2022

It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2022, and we’re giving you the rundown on everything you need to know about apprenticeships. Whether you’re a school leaver looking for more information, a parent or carer looking to help your child, or just looking to take your career in a new direction and develop your skills, apprenticeships give you the opportunity to earn while you learn and grow.  


What is an apprenticeship and how does it work?  

To put it simply, an apprenticeship is a job, where you earn while also earning yourself a qualification. They’re often pushed towards school leavers, however, they’re for everyone! Apprenticeships combine employment with education and are widely recognised across all industries. If you want to expand your skills locker, gain real-life work experience, and give yourself an opportunity to grow, apprenticeships are the perfect option.  

Apprenticeships range in levels, which depict the qualification you’ll earn at the end. The level you enter in at depends on the experience and qualifications you already have, but we’ll dive into that later. During an apprenticeship, you’ll work full-time working week. 20% of your time will be dedicated to studying to ensure you’re best prepared for your end point assessment (EPA) – the thing all your hard work counts towards! 


Deep dive into apprenticeships levels  

There’s a variety of levels of apprenticeship nowadays. They range from lower levels, which require little to no experience, to higher levels, requiring degrees and plenty of work experience. Don’t know which level is right for you? Here’s a breakdown.  

  • The entry level apprenticeship that’s available is called ‘Intermediate’ or Level 2. This is usually equivalent to 5 good GCSE passes. For all apprenticeships, you need to be eligible to work in the UK, as well as out of full-time education, which usually means candidates are 16 or older. At this level, there’s no requirement for specific skills, grades, or experience. Over the 12–18-month schemes, you’ll be required to complete functional skills, if you don’t already have them.  
  • Moving up, the next level is ‘Advanced’ apprenticeships or Level 3, which is the equivalent of passing two A-levels. At this stage, work experience isn’t essential, but it is often preferred. To enter onto a level 3 apprenticeship, you need to have 3 or more GCSEs at grade  9-4 (or equivalent). These schemes usually last up to 24 months.  
  • If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, you might be interested in a ‘Higher’ apprenticeship (Level 4 or 5). These are equivalent to the first stages of higher education, such as foundation degrees. Before you commit, you will need to have 5 or more GCSEs at grade 9-4 (or equivalent) or a level 3 qualification.  
  • The highest level of apprenticeships is ‘Degree’ or Level 6/7. Both these and ‘Higher’ apprenticeships will span over 3-6 years. The entry requirements for this level are much higher, with 3 high A-level passes, at least 5 GCSEs at grade 9-4 (or equivalent), and previous work experience. By the end of this scheme, you should have achieved a Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree.  


Apprenticeships with Virgin Media  

Being an apprentice with Virgin Media brings a whole host of different rewards and benefits your way, not to mention new opportunities to embrace! We offer our apprentices a permanent contract with us. This means they can get their foot in the door and move their way onwards and upwards throughout the business. In fact, 90% of our apprentices choose to stay with us once they’ve completed their apprenticeship.  

All our apprenticeships are offered with a starting salary of at least £19,000 with some unbelievable opportunities to progress during the scheme. Not only do we offer an attractive salary with progression points along the scheme, but we also give our apprentices some amazing benefits.  

Apprentices can enjoy 25 days of holiday every single year, while also getting their birthday off too! Not only are we giving you the opportunity to have a great work-life balance, but we also have some benefits to help save money. Tribe is a Virgin Group discount scheme, offering discounts on experiences, products and services from across all our brands, including Virgin Atlantic. You’ll also get team rates on our mobile, broadband, and TV deals.  

If these aren’t quite enough for you, we’ve got your health at the front of our mind too. All our employees are signed on to a private healthcare plan with Bupa. This gives you access to specialists far quicker than going through your regular GP. With mental health being such a large issue today, we expanded this plan to cover Healthy Minds, which gives you the ability to talk to specialists 24/7. 


Do you think an apprenticeship might be a good move for your future? We’ve put together the Match Me Quiz. Answer a few quick questions, and we’ll pair you with one of our apprenticeships that suit you best. Give it a try now! 

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