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Ultimate Guide to Teaching Apprenticeships

Zen Educate Content Team
25 Mar 2024
5 min read
Ultimate Guide to Teaching Apprenticeships

Teaching apprenticeships offer a unique and practical route into the teaching profession. They provide aspiring teachers with the opportunity to gain valuable practical experience in the classroom while earning a qualification at the same time. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of teaching apprenticeships, including their benefits, eligibility requirements, application process, and career opportunities.

What is a Teaching Apprenticeship?

Teaching apprenticeships are work-based programs that combine practical classroom experience with academic study. They are designed to provide aspiring teachers with hands-on training and support as they work towards obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The main goal of teaching apprenticeships is to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to become effective educators.

Types of Teaching Apprenticeships

Teaching apprenticeships are available in various settings and cater to different age ranges and subjects. Here are some of the different types of teaching apprenticeships:

Early Years Apprenticeships

Early years apprenticeships focus on teaching children aged 0-5 years old. Aspiring teachers gain experience in nurseries, preschools, and other early years settings, developing the skills needed to support young children's learning and development.

Primary Apprenticeships

Primary apprenticeships are aimed at those interested in teaching children aged 5-11 years old. Aspiring teachers work in primary schools, assisting in the delivery of the primary curriculum and gaining a comprehensive understanding of primary education.

Secondary Apprenticeships

Secondary apprenticeships are designed for individuals interested in teaching students aged 11-18 years old. By working in secondary schools, aspiring teachers specialise in specific subjects and supporting students as they prepare for exams and further education.

Special Education Apprenticeships

Special education apprenticeships focus on teaching students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Apprentices work in special schools or mainstream schools with dedicated SEND units, gaining the skills and knowledge needed to support students with diverse learning needs.

Eligibility and Entry Requirements

To be eligible for a teaching apprenticeship, there are certain requirements that applicants must meet. These requirements may vary depending on the specific apprenticeship program and the age range or subject area being taught. Here are some common eligibility criteria:

Academic Qualifications

Applicants are typically required to have a minimum of grade 4/C in GCSE English and Mathematics (and Science for primary level teaching). Overseas qualifications may also be accepted, provided they are deemed equivalent by the relevant authorities. In some cases, applicants who haven't achieved the minimum grade requirements may be able to take equivalency tests.

Bachelor's Degree

Applicants are usually required to hold a Bachelor's degree from a UK higher education institution or an equivalent qualification, but this isn't a hard and fast rule. The subject of the degree may be relevant to the age range and subject area they wish to teach.

English Language Proficiency

For non-native English speakers, evidence of English language proficiency may be required. This is usually demonstrated through a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at level B2 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Personal Qualities and Skills

Applicants are expected to possess certain qualities and skills essential to becoming a teacher. These may include resilience, good communication skills, adaptability, and a genuine passion for education.

Application Process

The application process for experience in schools typically involves several steps. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process successfully:

Research Apprenticeship Opportunities

Start by researching available opportunities and identifying the ones that align with your interests and career goals – these could be offered directly by schools, local authorities, or educational institutions. Get Into Teaching is a great place to start.

Check Eligibility and Entry Requirements

Carefully review the eligibility criteria and entry requirements for each apprenticeship program to ensure you meet the necessary qualifications and experience.

Prepare Application Documents

Gather all the required documents for your application, such as academic transcripts, proof of qualifications, and a personal statement. Tailor your personal statement to highlight your passion for teaching and relevant experience.

Submit Your Application

Follow the application instructions provided by the apprenticeship provider and submit your application before the specified deadline. Make sure to double-check all the information and proofread your application for any errors.

Attend an Interview

If your application is successful, you may be invited to attend an interview as part of the selection process. Prepare for the interview by researching the school or institution and practicing common interview questions.

Receive Offer and Acceptance

If you are offered a place on a teaching apprenticeship program, you will receive an offer letter. Review the offer carefully, including any terms and conditions, and accept the offer within the specified timeframe.

Complete Necessary Checks

Before starting the apprenticeship, you will need to complete any necessary safeguarding checks required by the school or institution. These checks are essential to ensure the safety and well-being of students.

Attend Induction and Training

Once all the necessary checks are completed, you will attend an induction and training session to familiarise yourself with the school, the program, and your role as an apprentice. This is an opportunity to meet your mentor and fellow apprentices.

Challenges and Considerations

While teaching apprenticeships offer many benefits, it is important to be aware of the challenges that apprentices may face. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Workload and Time Management

Teaching apprenticeships require a significant time commitment, balancing classroom responsibilities with academic study. Apprentices must develop effective time management skills to handle the workload effectively.

Balancing Work and Study

Apprentices must find a balance between their work in the classroom and their academic study. It is important to prioritise and manage time effectively to ensure success in both areas.

Professional Development

Teaching apprentices must be committed to ongoing professional development. This involves keeping up with changes in education policies and practices, engaging in continuous learning, and seeking opportunities for growth.

Emotional Demands

Teaching can be emotionally demanding, and apprentices may face challenges in managing the emotional aspects of the profession. It is important to develop strategies for self-care and seek support when needed.

Career Progression and Opportunities

Completing a teaching apprenticeship opens up a range of career opportunities in the education sector. Here are some potential career paths and progression opportunities:

Early Career Teacher (ECT)

After completing a teaching apprenticeship and obtaining qualified teacher status (QTS), apprentices can begin their career as an Early Career Teacher. ECTs are typically employed in schools, where they continue to develop their teaching practice under the guidance of a mentor.

Further Specialisation

Once established as a qualified teacher, individuals can choose to specialise in a specific subject area or age range. This may involve pursuing additional qualifications or taking on leadership roles within a school.

Leadership and Management Positions

For those interested in leadership and management roles, teaching apprenticeships provide a strong foundation for career progression. With experience and further qualifications, apprentices can pursue positions such as department heads, assistant headteachers, or headteachers.

Continued Professional Development (CPD)

Continuous professional development is essential for career progression and growth in the teaching profession. Teaching apprenticeships provide a solid foundation for ongoing CPD, as apprentices develop the skills and knowledge needed to engage in lifelong learning.

Resources and Support

Finding teaching apprenticeship opportunities and accessing support throughout the apprenticeship journey is crucial. Here are some valuable resources and support networks:

Websites and Portals

Websites and portals such as the Department for Education's Find an Apprenticeship website, local authority websites, and educational institutions' websites provide information on available teaching apprenticeships. These platforms often have search filters to help narrow down options based on location and subject area.

Professional Organisations

Professional organisations, such as the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), offer support and resources for teaching apprentices. They provide guidance, networking opportunities, and professional development events.

Government Support

The government provides guidance and support through various initiatives, such as the National Apprenticeship Service and the Get Into Teaching campaign. These resources offer information on funding, eligibility criteria, and application processes for teaching apprenticeships.

Mentorship and School-Based Support

Throughout the apprenticeship, mentors and colleagues within the school provide support, guidance, and feedback. Building a strong network within the school community can offer valuable insights and assistance throughout the apprenticeship journey.


Teaching apprenticeships offer a unique and practical pathway into the teaching profession. They provide aspiring teachers with the opportunity to gain real-world experience, develop essential teaching skills, and earn a qualification while working. By combining hands-on training with academic study, teaching apprenticeships equip individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to become effective educators. Consider a teaching apprenticeship as your next step towards a rewarding career in education.

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