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Interested in becoming an apprentice?

Apprenticeships are for everyone

For people of any working age – whether starting out in your career, looking to upskill, or changing the direction of your career – apprenticeships represent an alternative route to progressing towards a wide range of roles, including many within the health and social care sector.

Apprenticeships are often aptly associated with the phrase “earn while you learn”; as an apprentice, you’ll be working in a real job which allows you to gain a wealth of experience and learn valuable skills – and you’ll get paid to do so.

Apprenticeships at a Glance:

  • A first step on your chosen career path – developing huge potential for your future
  • You will get paid while you learn, train and gain hands-on experience for a specific role – you will not incur tuition fees or require a student loan
    • You’re also entitled to holiday leave as in a ‘normal’ job
    • You may be eligible for a bursary to support you in your first year (e.g. £1,000 bursary available if you’re a care leaver aged 16-24)
  • Your wages are covered by your employer, as well as contributions from the government
  • Work includes a combination of on- and off-the-job work, with roughly 20% of your time spent in study (e.g. within a college, university or other training provider)
  • Placements can take anywhere from 12 months to 6 years to complete
    • This is dependent on the specific apprenticeship, its level and how much previous experience you have

Apprenticeship Levels and Qualifications

Every apprenticeship has a level, which corresponds to an equivalent education level and its recognised qualification. You’ll undertake assessments throughout, and at the end, of your placement and upon its completion, you’ll have gained a qualification at that level.

Some guidance on apprenticeship levels and their educational qualification equivalent is below:

Level 2 Apprenticeship (Intermediate)
Qualification is equivalent to GSCEs

Level 3 Apprenticeship (Advanced)
Qualification is equivalent to A-Levels

Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 Apprenticeship (Higher)
Qualification is equivalent to Foundation degree (and above)

Levels 6 and 7 Apprenticeship (Degree)
Qualification is equivalent to bachelor’s and master’s degree

You can undertake an apprenticeship of any level, providing you meet the relevant requirements (if applicable). If you feel you’re lacking the necessary skills or experience, you may wish to explore ways to gain these first, such as through a traineeship.


Entry requirements for apprenticeships vary, depending on the level of the one you’re looking to secure; it’s possible you may need to hold certain previous qualifications such as GCSEs, whereas in some cases, your apprenticeship may give you the extra training you need (e.g. in maths of English) to get you up to the right level.

Otherwise, in general, to be an apprentice:

  • You must be aged 16 or over
  • You must be out of full-time education
  • You must live in England (though opportunities do exist in other countries within the UK)

Apprenticeships in Health and Social Care

Within the health and social care sector, there is a wealth of apprenticeship opportunities. For example:

Find out more about all the opportunities in Health Health Careers and Care Skills for Care

Visit our Careers pages to find out more and explore these (and other) roles within health and social care – or get in touch if you’re interested in apprenticeships within this sector.

Key Contacts


ACL Essex
Loretta Wiltshire,

Colchester Institute
Suzanne McKay,

Essex County Council
Caroline Betts,
Matt Draper,
Annette Hall,

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT)
Denise Whickman,

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)

Tendring District Council
Debianne Messenger,

University of Essex
Rachel Brown,


Care Development East / Care Careers Suffolk
Care Careers Suffolk,
Kerrey Goosetree or Hannah McLaughlin,

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Alison Ward,

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT)

Suffolk County Council
Karen Andrew,

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSH)
Diane Last,
Julia Wood,
Rachel Austin,

West Suffolk College
Kelly Evans,
Catriona Bacon,

Other Contacts

Health Education England
Rob Brooks,

Skills for Care
Karen Andrew,

Interested in apprenticeships in Suffolk and North East Essex?

Health Education England
Rob Brooks

Skills for Care
Karen Andrew

You can find more key contacts below.

For free support and help with anything apprenticeship-related, contact 0800 0150 400 or


Are apprenticeships only for school or college leavers?
No – apprenticeships are for people of any age! Whether you’re looking to change your career, get started in the world of work, or develop in your current role – apprenticeships are a great way to learn whilst you earn.

I want to become a nurse – is there an apprenticeship I can complete?
Yes – a degree apprenticeship is one of the routes towards become a registered nurse and is an alternative to completing a nursing degree at university.

For more FAQs, click here 

Real Stories: 

“Being a degree apprentice is helping me achieve my dream career in nursing…”
Read the University of Essex’s article about Lewis Reed’s apprenticeship journey within health and social care…  Click for the full story

NHS Apprenticeships – Holly Cornell

NHS Apprenticeships – Lucy Lear