Higher Apprenticeships

Here is an overview of higher apprenticeships, to give you an idea about whether one of these programmes is right for you.

What is a higher apprenticeship?

Higher apprenticeships, also known as level 4 or 5 apprenticeships, are the level above advanced (level 3) and intermediate (level 2) apprenticeships. Higher apprentices work for a company, receiving on-the-job training while the study towards a qualification on the side.

What qualifications can you gain on an advanced apprenticeship?

If you complete a higher apprenticeship, you will be awarded with a level 4 (or above) competence qualification, and a knowledge based qualification – a higher national diploma or foundation degree.

Who are higher apprenticeships for?

Higher apprenticeships are designed for students who are aged 18 or over. If you’ve just finished your GCSEs, an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship are the schemes to be looking at.

Once you have completed an advanced apprenticeship, you will be eligible to apply for a higher apprenticeship. Likewise, if you finish a higher apprenticeship, it can lead onto a degree apprenticeship or a university degree.

Why should you do a higher apprenticeship?

A higher apprenticeship allows you to work towards more advanced qualifications. In fact, some of these programmes offer you the chance to work towards an university degree. Without the added university debt. You're essentially getting paid to earn these qualifications by splitting your time between working and studying.

Not only do you benefit in the short-term, by acquiring key skills, gaining qualifications, getting paid and avoiding student debt, but you will benefit in the long run too. School leavers who enrol on higher apprenticeships can realistically expect to earn more during their careers than many graduates. 

What are the entry requirements for these schemes?

The entry requirements for higher apprenticeships can vary. However, most employers require applicants to have a minimum of two A-levels, or an advanced apprenticeship under their belt. Many employers will want you to have GCSE qualifications in English, maths, science and potentially other subjects as well. However, take into account that the requirements vary, so even if you haven't got these grades you may still have a chance.

Will you earn a salary?

Each higher apprenticeship programme will pay a different salary. Your wage will depend on:

  • The company your apprenticeship is with
  • The type of apprenticeship
  • Your age (the table below gives the current rates)
  • Location (higher apprentices in London are paid more due to high living/travel costs)

This table shows the current rates for the National Minimum Wage*. You can visit gov.uk for the full lowdown on apprenticeship pay and holidays.

Age Current Rate
25 and over £8.21
21 - 24 £7.70
18 - 20 £6.15
Under 18 £4.35
Apprentice £3.90

The salaries for the higher level apprenticeship vacancies start around £18,000, and can rise to £28-29,000 on completion.

Salary information is usually listed in the job vacancy. So check out the information provided on the vacancy page to see how much different companies pay their higher apprentices.

Higher Apprenticeships

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