Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. This enables people to earn while they learn the skills needed for their career.

As an apprentice, you will learn skills on the work site and receive on-the-job training from supervisors and other staff. You will also do some off-the-job training at a learning centre, to help you gain additional skills and qualifications for the world of work.

Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete and cover 1,500 job roles available in all sorts of trades like construction, catering and health care. They cover different levels from Level 2 (equivalent of GCSEs) to level 6 (undergraduate degree) and 7 (masters degree).

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups (above 16 years), whether you are just leaving school, have been working for a few years or are looking to start a new career.

As an apprentice, you will be paid a wage and you will not have to pay any of the costs of your training or assessments. Instead, this cost should be covered by your employer and training provider. If you are under 25 and have been in local authority care, you should tell your employer and training provider as they should be able to get more funding from government to support you in your apprenticeship.

‘Taking part in an apprenticeship is the best thing I’ve ever done. My apprenticeship with the local authority’s Children’s Services department has let me try out lots of different jobs. I now have a much better idea of what I want to do in the future. I am also getting a qualification while I work and use what I learn at college in my workplace and everyday life. I’m hoping to move onto a Level 3 apprenticeship next year and continue my learning journey.’ Robin

Applying for an apprenticeship

The Find an Apprenticeship Service allows you to search and apply for apprenticeships online. If you decide to apply for an apprenticeship then it’s a good idea to tell your training provider that you are a care leaver, as this means your employer can get additional funding for your course.

Many organisations offer care leavers priority access to apprenticeships. Local authorities are a good example – as part of their duty to support care leavers, many ringfence apprenticeship places for care leavers. Speak to your personal adviser to find out if your local authority has this in place.

Catch22 also offers a range of apprenticeships opportunities for care leavers across 15 sectors.

For more information on apprenticeships:

Nottingham City Council runs a care leaver’s apprenticeship which aims to help build the young people’s confidence, give them a routine and provide them with qualifications and experience to improve their employment prospects. Apprentices can be based in lots of different departments across the council, including HR, parks and leisure, libraries and housing aid. The apprenticeship lasts for a year and apprentices attend college alongside their work placement to achieve Functional Skills certificates in maths, English and ICT and an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration. If a young person isn’t able to go straight into an apprenticeship, they can participate in the Leaving Care Service’s in-house employability programme first, which supports care leavers to make positive steps towards training and employment.


Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. This means you can earn money while you learn the skills needed for your career.


Traineeships combine training with work experience. They help young people aged 16-24 to prepare for an apprenticeship or other employment.

Supported internships

Supported internships help young people aged 16-24 to learn the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.


Volunteering can be a great opportunity to develop skills and learn new ones, whilst also having fun and getting work experience.

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