Apprentices: What are the options after an apprenticeship?

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So, you’ve either completed your apprenticeship and looking for the next steps OR you want to know what you’re letting yourself in for in the future. Either way, the future is certainly looking bright with an apprenticeship!

What are the main apprenticeship options?

Generally speaking, there are five main choices you can make – all of which will help you progress in your chosen career.

  1. Begin your full-time career with your current company
  2. Advance your current apprenticeship by studying at a higher level
  3. Start a course at university
  4. Select to study a professional qualification in the area of your choice
  5. Begin your full-time career with a new company

This isn’t the full list of options you can consider, you may want to spread your wings and take a gap year, travelling around the world, but these are the main choices many choose to follow if they want to continue in the world of work or learning.

What are the levels of an apprenticeship?

You might be wondering how to progress your skills further and level up.

The various levels of apprenticeships include:

Qualification Level
Level 2 Intermediate
Level 3 Advanced
Level 4, 5, 6 and 7 Higher
Level 6 and 7 Degree

Most qualifications require you to have completed the lower level first or received the equivalent through your most recent course of study. Although it’s interesting to note, apprenticeships are not just for school leavers, 26% of apprenticeships are started at the ‘Higher’ Level.

If you’re toying with the idea of levelling up, it may be worth discussing this with your employer to see what the options are. They may have a suggestion which would be mutually beneficial for you and them. You can also take a look at our jobs board to see if you can find the right apprenticeship to take you forward, if that is the route you want to take.

How to discuss with your employer about completing another apprenticeship?

Do your research

Look through all your options and decide on which you think would be the best match. Take into account the course length and the impact this may have on your employer (i.e. how many days do you need to be with your training provider?)

Benefits to your employer

Have your case ready – i.e., with this extra level of qualification, what’s in it for you and them?

What will you gain from it?

Make sure you have the details on how this will benefit you and what you plan to do in the future with the extra qualification.

Looking to experience another field?

If you’re looking to tackle a new opportunity and widen your current skill set, there could be the option of completing another apprenticeship in a different field or industry. You might want to be qualified in more than one field and this will always stand you in good stead against the competition, especially if you’re looking to become involved in an integrated company that offers multiple services.

You also might want to consider whether you want to choose between another apprenticeship or university. Doing a higher apprenticeship will give you a degree qualification.

Are you guaranteed a job after an apprenticeship with the current employer?

Whilst many employers do offer apprentices a role once their apprenticeship is completed, they are not obligated to do so and is very much taken on a case-by-case basis. The National Apprenticeship Service stats show:

90% of apprentices choose, and are kept on, after completing their apprenticeship.

The figures prove retention rate is high, with many employers opting to keep on an apprentice after their programme has finished. This is most likely due to the new skill set which is added to their services and the positive impact on other employees’ morale.

80% of employees who’ve taken on an apprentice have seen a significant increase in employee retention.


While this may not be the circumstance for everyone, it’s always advisable to have a chat with your employer and see what works best for both of you.

This may now be the time you decide to start off on another adventure and accomplish a new skill!

Who can I discuss my post-apprenticeship options with?

Don’t think you’re in this alone, you have a wide network of support around you to discuss your next steps.

Firstly, try to decide how you feel is the right path for you – no matter what this is – and have a shortlist or a final option you want to discuss.

Speak to your employer. See if your chosen option is viable with your current employer. If it is, they can help support you in taking that leap. If not, they will still be there to advise and guide you as much as they can.

Speak to your training provider. They’re a source of knowledge and definitely a tool you should utilise with any queries or uncertainties that you may have. Working in the field they do, they’re up to date with all the latest Government policies, apprenticeship guidelines and all the in-between.


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