Oct 13, 2021

What qualifications will I gain from doing an apprenticeship?

There are many different levels of apprenticeships, which range between a level 2 (which can take between 12-18 months to complete) up to a Level 7 (which can be a 24month+ course) these correlate to different educational levels.

• Intermediate apprenticeships are level 2 qualifications and are equivalent to GCSE passes at grades A*–C (4–9 on the new system).
• Advanced apprenticeships are level 3 qualifications and are equivalent to A level passes.
• Higher apprenticeships lead to qualifications at level 4 and above.
• A degree apprenticeship involves gaining a university degree while you work (level 6 or above).

If you’re not sure what the levels mean:

• level 4/5 is equivalent to a higher education certificate, higher education diploma or a foundation degree (the first year of a degree)
• level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree
• level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree.
To get onto a higher apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship you’ll normally need a level 3 qualification such as an advanced apprenticeship, A levels or NVQ level 3. You’ll also need to have a level 2 qualification such as an intermediate apprenticeship or five good GCSE passes (grades A*–C or 4–9).

What are the different apprenticeship levels?

Apprenticeships range from level 2 up to level 7. With level 2 being the lowest and 7 being the highest. These levels are also generally split into 4 categories. Intermediate, Advanced, Higher, and Degree. However, the important aspect we need to consider is what are these levels or categories equivalent to.


A level 2 apprenticeship is often referred to as an intermediate level apprenticeship. Level 2 is normally agreed to be the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes.

As this is the lowest level of apprenticeship available, there is generally no eligibility criteria for application. However, you will need to demonstrate that you have the ability to complete the course. You will need to be over 16 years old to be able to apply.

Companies also look for evidence of good personal attributes such as a positive attitude, willingness to learn and good time keeping.


A level 3 apprenticeship is known as an advanced apprenticeship. A Level 3 is considered to be the equivalent to two passes at A-Level.
A level 3 is a common next step for those who have completed a level 2 apprenticeship, as employers will usually look for someone who has completed a level 2 apprenticeship or has 5 passes at GCSE.
There will be instances were no formal qualification will be needed to apply for a level 3 apprenticeship. However, in this instance you will generally need experience of working in the industry to be considered.


A level 4 apprenticeship is equivalent to a foundation degree, a Higher National Certificate (HNC), or the first year of an undergraduate degree. Higher apprenticeships start at level 4.
The requirements to be considered for a level 4 apprenticeship are normally a lot higher than those at level 3. To be considered you generally need to:
• Have completed an advanced apprenticeship.
• Hold a level 3 NVQ/SVQ qualification.
• Have a BTEC National qualification.
• Have 2 passes at A-Level.
Employers may also require 5 passes at GCSE at grade A – C (9-4 on the new scale). As with the other levels, requirements will be different depending on your employer. Just because you don’t fit the criteria for the first level 4 you see doesn’t mean you should stop looking!


Level 5 apprenticeships are the equivalent of a full degree.
The requirements for a level 5 apprenticeship are similar to that of a level 4. However, as this is a more advanced course it is not unusual to see further stipulated requirements from employers. For example, for an IT Apprenticeship a company may ask for a minimum of grade C at A-Level in ICT alongside other requirements.


Degree apprenticeships are a new type of course offered by universities. A level 6 apprenticeship gives candidates the opportunity to obtain a full bachelor’s degree. A level 7 allows the candidate to to gain a master’s degree in your chosen subject.

As these are demanding courses, it is common to see strict requirements from employers for these apprenticeships. You will almost certainly need prior qualifications, and these qualifications will need to be transferable to the apprenticeship in some way.

Visit our Pin Point Training website for our latest apprentice vacancies.


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