Apprenticeships

Higher Apprenticeship

Higher apprenticeships are the level after advanced apprenticeships and could offer you a variety of qualifications. They range from the equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree (level 4) all the way to postgraduate (level 7).

Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4 +)

Higher apprenticeships are the level after advanced apprenticeships and could offer you a variety of qualifications. They range from the equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree (level 4) all the way to postgraduate (level 7). They’re a great opportunity for you after college or at any point in your career if you want a professional qualification. As a higher apprentice, you’ll be spending 20% of your working week studying towards a qualification at college or with a training provider. You’ll be working towards one of the following, depending on what level apprenticeship you choose:

Level 4 Apprenticeships

These are the equivalent to a HNC, CertHE, Level 4 NVQ, BTEC or first year of university

Level 5 Apprenticeships

These are the equivalent to a DipHE, HND, Level 5 NVQ, Level 5 BTEC, foundation degree or second year of University

Level 6 Apprenticeships

These are the equivalent to a BA or BSc Degree, Graduate certificate, Level 6 NVQ or BTEC

Level 7 Apprenticeships

These are the equivalent to a Meng, MA, MSc, Level 7 NVQ, PGCSE or Postgraduate certificate At this level, the qualification part of the apprenticeship does become quite challenging due to the academic aspect to the qualification you’ll be achieving. Because of this, you will need formal qualifications in order to get onto the course. These will be at least level 3 qualifications, this could be an advanced apprenticeship, A-Levels, BTEC or NVQ. If you have a lot of experience in the industry, you may not need recent qualifications or could get away with lower level qualifications. As a higher apprentice, you will hold a position in the organisation that has a lot of responsibility. You shouldn’t be put off by this, you will have support from your manager and by your workplace mentor to make sure you are not overwhelmed. You could even be managing your own team or processes by the end of the programme! You’ll be learning key employability skills as well as get specialist training from the employer. Doing a higher apprenticeship will likely mean that you also get a chartered qualification – this might be part of the apprenticeship or it could be sponsored by the employer. At the end of your apprenticeship, you could go onto a higher-level apprenticeship or go to University. You might have had enough of studying for qualifications and just go onto a full-time position at an organisation.

What are they like?

If you do a higher apprenticeship, you’ll have support from your manager, workplace mentor and tutor. After your initial induction period, you will be given a lot of responsibility as a higher apprentice, with continued support. You could be managing teams, projects or processes at your company within the first few months of your placement! For 20% of the week, you will be either at work studying or at college, university or a training provider working towards your qualification. The rest of your week you’ll spend doing your job, you’ll also get support of a workplace mentor – this could be your manager, someone else you work with or someone who has already done the programme.

What qualification do I get?

The type of qualification that you get with a higher apprenticeship will depend on what level apprenticeship you choose to do. It could be anything from the equivalent to a foundation degree all the way up to a postgraduate qualification! Here is some more information about the qualifications you could get:

  • Level 4 Apprenticeships – HNC, CertHE, Level 4 NVQ, BTEC or first year of university
  • Level 5 Apprenticeships – DipHE, HND, Level 5 NVQ, Level 5 BTEC, foundation degree or second year of University
  • Level 6 Apprenticeships – BA or BSc Degree, Graduate certificate, Level 6 NVQ or BTEC
  • Level 7 Apprenticeships – Meng, MA, MSc, Level 7 NVQ, PGCSE or Postgraduate certificate

You will have to get your Level 2 or 3 Functional Skills qualification as well to pass the apprenticeship programme, if you don’t have recent qualifications in English and maths. Your training provider will check this on your behalf when you sign up for the apprenticeship. Depending on your employer, you may also work on other qualifications which are more directly related to your job. That could be a qualification to use certain systems at your workplace or use certain pieces of machinery. It all depends on where you end up working!

How do they work?

The way an apprenticeship work depends on the apprenticeship you choose to do and the employer and training provider that you choose. You’ll definitely spend 20% of your time working towards a qualification, it is just how this is worked out could change. You might spend once a week training or spend block release away from work and training. The way this training is conducted also varies. You might train online in the workplace, at home or go to an external training provider, college or university.

Can I do a higher apprenticeship?

To be able to do a higher apprenticeship, it is quite likely that you will need formal qualifications, this is because they can be challenging due to the level of qualification and employers want to know that you’ll keep up with the academic work. Most higher apprentices will ask for five GCSEs at A* - C (9-4 on the new grading system), including English and Maths and you will need level 3 qualifications including A-Levels, NVQs, a BTEC or an Advanced Apprenticeship. For the higher-level apprenticeships, such as 5,6 & 7, you will need an even higher-level qualification, often they will ask for the one below the one you need. For example, if you are applying for a level 7 apprenticeship you will probably need a level 6 qualification, like a degree. Some employers will also want you to have studied subjects relevant to what you are applying for. Some higher apprenticeships you can’t apply to directly – you may need to do an advanced apprenticeship first or work as an employee and they will put you on the programme.

What kind of apprenticeships can you do at higher level?

There are more than 130 different apprenticeships you can do at higher level, including:

  • Accountancy Professional
  • Animal Trainer
  • Associate Ambulance Practitioner
  • Associate Project Manager
  • Bioinformatic scientist
  • Chartered Legal Executive
  • Data Analyst
  • Dental practise Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • First Officer Pilot
  • Healthcare Assistant Practitioner
  • Hospitality Manager
  • HR Consultant
  • Junior Management Consultant
  • Marketing Manager
  • Midwife
  • Nuclear Technician
  • Police Officer
  • Post graduate Engineer
  • Retail manager
  • Software Developer
  • Solicitor
  • Teacher

What does an employer look for in my application?

At higher level, an employer will probably be after some employment history – this doesn’t have to be full-time, a part time job while you were at college would be good. This is because it shows them that you can hold down a job and shows good time management skills. If you don’t have this experience, showing your time management and prioritisation skills on your CV will make your application stand out. An employer will also be looking for a passion for the organisation, apprenticeship and the industry. They will want to know that you are a high achiever as higher apprenticeships can be challenging due to their academic nature, and they wouldn’t want you to struggle with the qualification.

Are these graduate apprenticeships?

You could refer to a level 7 apprenticeship as a graduate apprenticeship or graduate programme. This is because you will need a degree or degree level qualification to get onto the course. You will leave this apprenticeship with a postgraduate qualification and lots of experience!

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