You can undertake a traineeship or an apprenticeship after you finish year 11.

Applying for an apprenticeship is similar to applying for a job. If you're not ready for an apprenticeship, you can apply for a traineeship instead.


Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. As an apprentice you'll:

  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • earn a wage and get holiday pay study towards a related qualification (usually one day a week).

You can apply for an apprenticeship if you're:

  • aged 16 or over
  • eligible to work in England
  • not in full-time education.

Apprenticeships take one to four years to complete - the exact time depends on the level or industry area.

There are different levels of apprenticeships - intermediate, advanced and higher. Each apprenticeship has an equivalent education level:

  • intermediate apprenticeship - equivalent to five GCSE passes
  • advanced apprenticeship - equivalent to two A-level passes
  • higher apprenticeship - can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree

Find out more about apprenticeships on Gov.UK

Sign up with GLLaB, the Council's job brokerage and employment service, to find a local apprenticeship


A traineeship provides work experience that gives the skills and experience required by employers.

Your traineeship will include all of the following:

  • preparation for work
  • English and maths - if you don't already have GCSE English and maths grades A* to C
  • a work experience placement.

You can apply for a traineeship if you:

  • are aged 16 to 18
  • are unemployed (or you work less than 16 hours per week)
  • have been unsuccessfully applying for apprenticeships.

Your traineeship will last between six weeks and six months.

You'll usually get support for transport costs and meals and you may be able to get financial support from your training provider.

Find a traineeship