Levels of apprenticeship

Employers should be clear about what level of apprenticeship is being offered and the prospects of progression that may be available.

The information about the level is written down in the commitment statement signed by the apprentice, employer and the learning provider.

There are currently four levels of apprenticeships available for those aged 16 and over:


An intermediate apprenticeship is equivalent to five good GCSE passes. The apprentice work towards level 2 certificates or work-based learning qualifications. These provide the skills required for the apprentice’s chosen career and allow entry to an advanced apprenticeship.


An advanced apprenticeship is equivalent to two A Level passes. Advanced apprentices can work towards level 3 work-based learning certificates or qualifications such as a BTEC. To start advanced apprenticeship programme, the applicant should ideally have five GCSEs at grade 4 (formerly grade C) or above or have completed an intermediate apprenticeship.


Higher apprentices work towards level 4, 5, 6 or 7 work-based learning diplomas or certificates or knowledge-based qualifications such as Foundation degrees or above. Apprentices can also progress to higher education, including university degrees.


Degree apprenticeships sit on level 6 or 7. Like the other levels they combine paid work with study in the university and lead to bachelor’s or master’s degree. Universities generally set the entry requirement for a degree apprenticeship at least level 3, for instance A Levels.