The 10 Best Apprenticeships in the UK

Check out these companies that offer the best apprenticeships in the UK.

Reviewed by Hayley Ramsey

Best Apprenticeships in the UK

Apprenticeships have long been a part of British culture when it comes to preparing young talent for the workplace. With arguably many benefits over traditional education, these days apprenticeships are available in all sorts of industries, at a variety of levels, from intermediate to degree level. Whether you are looking at traditional apprenticeships into the trades, or are training to be a dentist, an apprenticeship is a valid route, allowing you to learn on the job whilst being paid.

As with anything, when searching for apprenticeship options, it’s important to know a bit about the employer hosting the apprenticeship, so you can learn whether what they offer is for you, and to determine whether you feel you would be a good fit. Recently, a list of the top apprenticeship employers of 2022 was released. This is a great resource when researching possible apprenticeship options.

We’ve looked at the top ten best apprenticeships and summarized our findings for you.

1. British Army

The British Army is the UK’s largest employer that provides apprenticeships, with more than 40 apprenticeship options ranging from public service to healthcare to engineering to construction. These come at different levels and recruits do the apprenticeship that is closest to the role they are entering and at the appropriate level for the job. Apprenticeships are such a big part of how the army recruit that 95% of soldiers qualifying for their position do so through an apprenticeship.

2. Royal Navy

Like the British Army, the Royal Navy value apprenticeships highly and have been rated as outstanding by Ofsted on account of their world class training and the opportunity to learn on the job as a valued member of staff from the off. They offer 20 apprenticeships across a range of roles, allowing recruits to travel the world learning their trade. They offer an intermediate apprenticeship and an accelerated apprenticeship depending on your existing qualifications and the role you want to do.

3. BT

BT (British Telecommunications) offer the UK’s number 1 private sector apprenticeship program. As one of the world’s leading tech companies, BTs focus is on ensuring apprentices learn top skills on the job, quickly becoming a valued member of the workforce. Apprenticeship schemes cover a variety of areas from customer service to engineering to cyber security and are available at level 2 through to level 6.

4. Royal Air Force

The Royal Airforce (RAF) is a big provider of apprenticeships, allowing on-the-job experience and excellent benefits. There are 23 apprenticeship roles available, ranging from level 2, right up to level 7, which is a master’s degree level. Careers available through the apprenticeship scheme include Weapons Technician, Cyberspace Communications Specialist and chef.

5. Department of Work and Pensions

The Department of Work and Pensions is an inclusive employer known for their emphasis on work-life balance. They offer higher and degree level apprenticeships from level 4 to 7, combining work and study to learn the necessary skills to progress within the organization. Apprenticeships are available in a variety of departments, including Education and Children’s Services, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the Home Office.

6. Clarkson Evans

Clarkson Evans is a leading electrical contractor with a solid reputation for being an excellent provider of electrical apprenticeships. They offer on-the-job training in place of college training, whilst following a structured career program. 70% of managers in technical roles for the company joined as an apprentice and worked their way up, from site to higher-level office positions.

7. Mitchells and Butlers

Mitchells and Butlers is one of the UK’s largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars. They pride themselves on having apprenticeships suitable for everyone, whether fresh out of school or retraining. There are no entry requirements and if you did not pass GCSE English or Maths, you will be supported to work towards Functional Skills instead. Apprenticeships are offered in for budding chefs, bar and waiting roles and management in levels 2 to 5.

8. RSM

RSM is one of the UK’s leading accounting, auditing and consulting firms, offering apprenticeships through their school leaver apprenticeship programme that lasts 2 years and offers access to a fast-tracked business career. There are 12 business areas to consider, including tax, fraud, consulting, and corporate finance, with options within each.

9. BAE Systems

BAE systems is an aerospace company, offering security and defense solutions to some of the biggest names globally. Technology is a huge part of the work BAE Systems do, with apprenticeships programs in software, electrical and mechanical engineering, aircraft maintenance and design, as well as options in business, finance and project management. All apprenticeships offer on the job experience as well as in college and university. Salaries and competitive and 95% of apprentices stay with the company when they qualify.

10. Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is a UK-based tax, auditory and advisory service, offering apprenticeships to fast track students who have just completed A levels as an alternative option to studying at university. The apprenticeship program lasts 5 years and allows apprentices to work with both profit and public sector, focusing on FinTech and consumer markets globally. The apprenticeships cover several qualifications which are paid for by the company, and they have offices in London and 130 countries across the globe.

Final thoughts

These top 10 apprenticeship employers are leading the way when it comes to showing that apprenticeships are a valid and effective way of learning on the job skills and receiving a salary, whilst earning a qualification. With so much emphasis on university education, it is great to see such big name companies and organizations paving the way for this valid alternative.

There are plenty more employers who also offer apprenticeship options across industries, sectors and at a range of levels. A great place to start if you’re looking for an apprenticeship in the UK is by using the UK Government Apprenticeship Finder. Here you’ll be able to search for your area of interest.

Once you’ve found a company that offers an apprenticeship in your chosen field, carefully check the entry requirements, as they will vary. Generally, the entry criteria for an apprenticeship is that you must be 16 or over, living in the UK and not in full-time education. For a higher level apprenticeship, some further qualifications may be required.

When applying for an apprenticeship, you will most likely be asked to complete an application form and complete a cover letter or personal statement. It’s important that you do some research on the company or organization, so that you can include details of why you are interested in training with them, and why you think you are a great fit.

Match your skills and experience to the job description to really demonstrate why you are fit for the apprenticeship programme. Include details of any relevant and essential qualifications, and ensure that you include any experience you have, whether it’s paid or otherwise. Including details of things you have done outside of education demonstrate your commitment to work and that you are motivated to take charge of your career.

Are you considering an apprenticeship with any of these companies? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally published 6 October 2019.