So what is an apprentice? Firstly, it’s quite different to Donald Trump and Alan Sugar’s show, as it doesn’t necessarily involve being a project manager for tasks that involve running like a headless chickens around the city of London, in swanky business attire and coming up with a million-pound business plan to create the next Jammy Dodger.

An apprentice can be described as a hybrid. It is someone who is employed, while gaining a qualification. So for example, say in the Chef industry, you could be hired by an employer and work as an ‘Apprentice Chef’, while gaining a qualification in for example, ‘food healthy and safety’. You work, you study and you get paid for your work. The workload is around 80% of full-time hours and give or take a day in college or university. It’s a highly credible and valued path to take in the hospitality industry.

Can anyone be an apprentice?

Yes. And there isn’t even an age limit, most believe you have to be in school or college to apply. But as long as your 16 and over, you can apply to be an apprentice.

Depending on how qualified you already are, sometimes depends on what apprenticeship is available to you.


  • Intermediate apprenticeship: you have to be 16 or over and no longer in full-time education
  • Advanced apprenticeship: likely to be asked for over 4 GCSEs, work experience or completed an intermediate apprenticeship already
  • Higher apprenticeship: equivalent of a foundation degree, with over 4 GCSEs, level 3 qualifications such as level 3 NVQ or AS levels and some work experience
  • Degree apprenticeships: this could include at having least 3 A levels and work experience


How long do apprenticeships last?

This is depending on what your employer offers and how qualified you wish to be. This can be from 1-2 years for an intermediate apprenticeship, over 2 years for an advanced apprenticeship and 3-6 years for a higher/degree level.

How do I get started?

Firstly, write your CV (find more information on our related article ___). HIT training is a great website if you wish to find out more and are wanting to apply for an apprenticeship in the industry.

Or if there’s a restaurant you’d been dreaming of working at, always, always ask if there’s an apprentice scheme available or if they’re isn’t, whether they’re happy to take you on as their first apprentice. The worst they can say is no! And in most cases, that very employer usually offers a full-time job after all your hard work!

The government website also has an option for you to register, so recruiters can find you or you can search what apprenticeships are available out there

What is the pay like?

Under 19 years old is a minimum of £4.15 an hour. Then, after completing your first year of the apprenticeship, you can get paid minimum wage depending on your age and some employers offer more.

What are the pros and cons?

/Experience is sometimes more valuable than qualifications alone. So to combine the two, you’d be a attractive candidate to any hospitality job you apply for
/Best choice if you’re starting out in your career

(-) The pay is small to begin, but more than if you were to just study without working
(-) Not all employers offer apprentice schemes

Tom Lodge, 16, currently an Apprentice completing an NVQ in professional cookery says “I’d always go for an apprenticeship if I could, because cooking in a college is very different to cooking in a fast paced kitchen”. Tom believes you get the best of both worlds when completing an apprenticeship, where you study and receive a lovely pay check at the end of it. “It’s a good career with a good salary at the end of it… I think as the next generation of chefs, we can be anything we want to be”.

Whatever your personality, shy or confident, creative or practical - there is a role that will suit you.

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