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Intermediate Apprenticeships

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

What is an intermediate Apprenticeship?

Intermediate apprenticeships are Level 2 apprenticeships, and generally considered to be equivalent to five GCSE passes.

They are a great way to take the first step in starting your future career, and for those aged 16, they offer an alternative to staying at school and learning in the traditional classroom environment.

What level is an Intermediate Apprenticeship?

As an intermediate apprentice, you will study towards qualifications at the same level as five GCSEs and a knowledge-based qualification such as BTEC Diploma and Certificate, relevant to the sector and job role. You can go on to complete advanced and higher apprenticeships with this qualification. 

What are the entry requirements? 

The entry requirements vary, with some employers asking for two or more GCSEs, although you may not need any formal qualifications. If you don’t have GCSEs in English and maths, you are usually required to take qualifications in these subjects as part of the apprenticeship.

How do these programmes work?

Intermediate apprentices split their time between working with an employer, and studying towards a vocational qualification with a training provider.

How and where do you train? 

Some companies provide in-house training, others will send you to an external training provider or college. It is a blend of work and study.

An intermediate apprentice will work for at least 30 hours a week, for at least thirty weeks of the year.

Each programme, however, may be organised differently. You might spend one day a week studying at college, and spend the rest of the week working with your employer. Or, you will work on a full-time basis, and be released for study periods at intervals during the year.

What qualification would you have completing an intermediate apprenticeship?

An intermediate apprenticeship will be awarded with a Level 2 Competence qualification, and a knowledge-based qualification. These are equivalent to 5 GCSEs graded 9 to 4 (A* to C).

You will also then be eligible to apply for an advanced apprenticeship. An intermediate apprenticeship is a great first step to make for a career in a wide range of industries.

What's available?

Intermediate apprenticeships are offered in the widest range of industries including:

  • construction, planning and the built environment
  • leisure, travel and tourism
  • agriculture, horticulture and animal care
  • arts, media and publishing
  • business, administration and law
  • engineering and manufacturing technologies
  • retail and commercial enterprise
  • health, public services and care
  • education and training
  • information and communication technology

What are the benefits of these programmes?

Most programmes give you a chance to gain real work experience and study towards vocational qualifications, which will impart useful employability skills. There are also a wide range of schemes to choose from.

If there's an industry you are interested in, chances are you will be able to find an apprenticeship. 

This level of apprenticeship is a starting point, once you've finished you'll be able to move onto a more advanced programme or find employment. 

You'll earn a wage for the duration of the apprenticeship. The amount varies from company to company, but the national minimum wage for apprentices is currently £3.90 an hour. So you won't earn less than that. 

What it is like to be an Intermediate Apprentice?

James is a Business Administration apprentice who is working for Gem Cable Solutions. He started a level 2 apprenticeship with Gem and upon completion moved on to Level 4, before taking a full time role at the company.

How did you get onto the apprenticeship?

I originally opted to take a Level 2 diploma in electrical installation. I had done some electrical work with a family friend during this time, though it an apprenticeship, and decided that the work was not for me. After I finished the course I applied for various IT/Administration apprenticeships in the area. I got a swift response from Steve Jack, the managing director for Gem Cable Solutions, asking to come in for an interview. One thing that caught Steve’s attention was the electrical installation apprenticeship as this synergised will with the admin role at a cable company. This led me to start the Level 2 Diploma in Business Administration.

Why did you choose it?

Apprenticeships are a great introduction to the working world; they allow one to gather experience in an actual working environment while also gain a qualification. The company setting suited my previous qualification while the new apprenticeship allowed me to adjust where I was heading to a more suitable area.

How has your apprenticeship benefited you?

I got an early start compared to my friend who went to university. I was able to put money away as I was earning while gaining a qualification. As I was as an apprentice it allowed the company to show me several areas of the business and get some experience with each one. This helped to determine which areas I wanted to focus in. The organisation covered the expense of the apprenticeship meaning I was not left with any debt which is a large benefit of this route.

Do you have any advice for future Apprentices?

Make the most of it. See as much of the organisation you can and try to take on new responsibilities where possible. If you are short on things to be done, then ask for more and be proactive. Stick up for yourself; if you show that you are an asset then ensure you make clear your value and you get what you are worth.


Gem Cables at the biz4biz Awards where they were nominated for Best Apprenticeship programme.


What do I do next?

Raring to get going? Below are 5 tips to start you on your journey.

  • Search on our opportunities page to see which Essex employers are currently recruiting for Intermediate apprenticeships
  • Go to our Provider Showcase pages and have a browse through our Essex apprenticeship providers to see what types of Intermediate apprenticeships they offer – our providers can support you to find vacancies with employers
  • Go to our Employer Spotlight pages which showcase our brilliant employers in Essex who are offering careers for people like you – read about their work experience placements, apprenticeships programmes or opportunities for graduate and beyond
  • Unsure about which employment sector to go into? Find out more about Essex’s growth sectors – where we know employment opportunities are going to increase. Go now to our Sector Profile pages.
  • Still really unsure about what career best fits your skills? Go to our Q & A pages – ‘I’ve no idea what career I’d like, what should I do?’ Here you will find lots of hints and tips

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