Apprenticeships, traineeships or supported internships
Apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships can be an opportunity for you to gain structured work experience alongside studying for qualifications. Your time is usually split between the workplace to learn key skills ‘on the job’, and going to college to study for the qualification. Apprenticeships will involve being employed by an organisation or company and you will be entitled to at least the Apprentice National Minimum Wage. This is lower than for other jobs but some employers might pay more.
In an apprenticeship you will have the opportunity to gain more general skills, such as maths, literacy and ICT, which can be useful for getting a job. Gaining experience in the workplace might also help you to develop ‘softer’ skills like teamwork and problem-solving, or customer service.
A traineeship (England and Wales only) is a course with work experience that prepares a young person for work or an apprenticeship if they don’t yet have the right skills or experience. Further information can be found on the government's traineeship webpages where you'll be able to search for traineeships in your area.
Supported internships are structured study programmes based mainly in the workplace. They’re especially for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to enable them to learn the skills they need for employment. The Preparing for Adulthood website has lots of information and advice on supported internships.
There are four different types of apprenticeships in England:
- Intermediate apprenticeship –involve study at the same level as GCSEs. Possible entry requirements might include GCSEs at grade D or above, or BTEC Introductory, or NVQ1.
- Advanced apprenticeship - involve study at the same level as A-Levels. Possible entry requirements might include five or more GCSEs at grade A*–C (possibly including English and Maths).
- Higher apprenticeship - involve study at university foundation degree level and above.
- Degree apprenticeship - involve study at Bachelor’s or Master’s degree level. Young people will spend time in the workplace and at university and their student fees will be covered.
You can search and apply for apprenticeships in England on Gov.UK.
In Scotland there are three different types of apprenticeships – foundation apprenticeships, modern apprenticeships and graduate apprenticeships. Which apprenticeship is right for you will depend on what you are looking for and which stage you are at. You can find further information and search for different apprenticeships to apply for through Apprenticeships.Scot.
There are three types of apprenticeships in Wales:
- Foundation apprenticeship
- Higher apprenticeship
Careers Wales have further information about apprenticeships in Wales, including how to find apprenticeships and how to apply.
In Northern Ireland apprenticeships are currently available at:
- Level 2 – this is the first level and the one most new apprentices choose
- Level 3
- Higher level apprenticeships from level 4 upwards
You can find information about apprenticeships in Northern Ireland and search for opportunities through the nidirect website. There is also an Apprenticeships Helpline run by the Department for the Economy.
As a deaf young person you have rights under the Equality Act 2010 (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Disability Discrimination Act (Northern Ireland) which mean apprenticeship providers have to be flexible when assessing applications and must not discriminate against applicants with disabilities. If you are likely to find some entry requirements difficult to meet because you are deaf, you may still be considered.
Some apprenticeships can have a certain level of English as a requirement to progress. If you don’t have the right English qualification but have an equivalent BSL qualification this should be accepted for apprenticeships.
Some apprenticeships might involve tests in literacy and numeracy, and some have interview processes. Providers and employers must make reasonable adjustments, which might include extra time in tests or the provision of communication support at an interview. See our further information about support at interviews.
You may also find it useful to look at our information about telling employers that you are deaf.
If you have been turned down for an apprenticeship for a reason relating to being deaf please contact our Helpline for advice.
Your rights on an apprenticeship are the same as your rights in education and your rights in work. As an apprentice both your education provider and employer are responsible for ensuring that you can access your apprenticeship fully. Apprenticeship providers and employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments and you can also receive funding for support through an Access to Work grant.
See our information about Access to Work and work and careers for examples of support you can receive on an apprenticeship.
Understanding your rights and what you are entitled to is a good first step and then letting someone know who can help you. Usually problems can be resolved by working with your apprenticeship provider or employer directly.
It is good to keep a record of any meetings regarding your support so you can remember what has been said and agreed. If this approach doesn’t work you could then make a complaint. Initial complaints should be made to:
- England – Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
- Scotland – Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
- Wales – Department for Children, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCLLS)
- Northern Ireland – Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI)
Further advice and support is available from our Helpline.