Apprenticeships offer an amazing opportunity to get real-world, hands-on experience, all whilst becoming qualified in a sector you’re (hopefully) excited to begin your career in. If you’re an international student who wants in on this practical career route (why wouldn’t you?), we’ll be answering all your questions on whether international students can do apprenticeships in the UK.

Can international students do apprenticeships in the UK?

If you’re an international student with an eye on bagging yourself an apprenticeship in the UK, you’ll be pleased to know you can do an apprenticeship here in the UK. All you need is the right paperwork clearing you to work through a permit or visa. An apprenticeship is classed as a job by law in the UK. So, as long as you don’t go over the amount of time you’re allowed to work in the UK, you’re all set!

Can international students do apprenticeships in the UK?
Source: Canva

Where can I find apprenticeships as an international student?

Websites such as UCAS and the UK Government’s official webpage are great starting points for looking for an apprenticeship. Equally, if you’re already a university student, and you’re looking to expand your CV with an apprenticeship, then your uni’s career team are a good place to get advice. If you fancy doing some digging, you can even scout out individual firms you might like to work for and see if they offer any apprenticeships. Our advice here would be to apply for a good mix of larger companies and smaller, perhaps lesser-known, ones that offer apprenticeships. This is because spots for apprenticeships can be super competitive, so it’s a good idea to hedge your bets. Read up on apprenticeships available at ITV, QA Apprenticeships and ‘The 5 best sports apprenticeships in the UK’ for inspiration!

Where can I find apprenticeships as an international student?

What types of apprenticeships are available in the UK?

The type of apprenticeship you decide to do can depend on what sector you’re hoping to branch into, as well as your previous qualifications. Check out the list of different types of apprenticeships available below:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship/Level 2: For this apprenticeship, you need the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4. These are the most popular types of apprenticeships in the UK. You want to make sure you’re applying as early as possible for these spots as they go fast!
  • Advanced Apprenticeship/Level 3: These apprenticeships are the next step up from an intermediate apprenticeship. To apply, you will need the equivalent of 2 good A-Level passes, a Btec or Level 3 NVQ to apply.
  • Higher Apprenticeship: Ranging from a Level 4 to a Level 7 (the equivalent level of a Master’s degree). A Higher Apprenticeship is a level up from A Levels and Scottish Highers, and is above a Btec or Level 3 NVQ. .
  • Degree Apprenticeship/Level 6: The academic equivalent of a undergraduate degree. With this type of apprenticeship, you’ll qualify with a degree, just like those who choose to attend university.

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?

There a plenty of benefits to doing an apprenticeship as opposed to taking the more travelled route to university. For a start, you are actually paid for your work when doing an apprenticeship! Typically, your wage increases as you move up the Levels and you get older. So, whilst your friends ae clinging to their student finance for their dear life, you’ll actually be making money!

Another financial bonus of an apprenticeship is that you skip the tuition fees you’d have to pay if you went to university. This is true even if you go on to do a Degree Apprenticeship, as your employer will pay your tuition fees for you. So, you end up with a degree without the debt. This is a huge win! Especially if you’re an international student, as the tuition fees usually exceed £10,000 a year. And that doesn’t cover additional living costs on top of that. Ouch!

One of the biggest benefits of doing an apprenticeship though, is the experience. It’s no secret that one of the biggest factors that holds back graduates when they join the job market is lack of experience. By doing an apprenticeship, you skip this problem entirely! Unlike recent graduates, you have a wealth of hands-on experience that employers will really value. You can read about the differences between a degree and an apprenticeship here. 

What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?
Source: Canva

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

To apply for an apprenticeship, you can apply directly on a company’s website with a CV and a cover letter. If you’re applying through UCAS or the government website, then create an account and complete the application provided. You’ll be asked if you have the appropriate permit or visa so you can work in the UK. So, make sure to include this information in your application if required if you’re an international student.

How much does an apprenticeship cost?

The good news is, the employer and the government usually pay for apprenticeships. This is regardless of if you’re an international student or not. The usual set up is your employer will pay about 5% of fees, and the government covers the rest. This means you graduate debt-free, unlike if you attended university.

If wondering ‘can international students do apprenticeships in the UK?’ has been keeping you up at night, we hope this article has made making sense of how apprenticeships work in the UK more straightforward. If you are ever in doubt, contact your university/college and employer for clarification.

Last Updated on February 9, 2023