From education to employment

5 Top Apprenticeship Opportunities For School Leavers

5 Top Apprenticeship Opportunities For School Leavers

Painting and decorating company Bagnalls break down some of the best sectors for school leavers to consider an apprenticeship in this summer.

Key takeaways:

  • The UK government recently published a list of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022, showcasing the leading companies and sectors for apprentice opportunities.    
  • Demand for construction workers is currently close to a 20-year high, with a vast range of apprenticeship opportunities in everything from painting and decorating to electrical roles.
  • The energy sector currently employs 738,000 people in the UK and is set for continued growth following COP26 and the push for net-zero.
  • The UK’s Digital Marketing sector is seeing 10% growth each year and offers excellent apprenticeship options to get started in this fast-paced industry.
  • 13% of all UK job vacancies are IT roles, with strong demand in the sector and widespread apprenticeship opportunities. Those who want to work remotely can choose from the 21.6% of IT job vacancies which are currently advertised as remote roles.
  • 1 in 10 of the companies on the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022 list are in the health and social care sector, which is another highly in-demand sector for jobs with over 35,000 live job vacancies currently listed on the NHS Jobs website alone.

Recently completed your GCSEs or A-Levels and unsure what’s next?

Building expertise in a field and getting your foot in the door can be difficult – which is why apprenticeships offer a great way to move from education to employment, allowing you to earn a wage whilst learning from experienced professionals in your chosen field.

As a school leaver having finished your GCSEs or A-Levels, you will usually have three apprenticeship levels open to you.

Level 2: also known as “intermediate apprenticeships”, these are generally agreed to be the equivalent of 5 passes at GCSE level, with the only requirement usually being a minimum of level 3 (D) in English and Maths GCSEs to apply.

Level 3: also known as “advanced apprenticeships”, these are generally agreed to be the equivalent of 2 passes at A level. Although requirements vary by company, these roles will commonly expect either a level 2 apprenticeship or a certain set of GCSE/A-Level results to apply.

Level 4: also known as “higher apprenticeships”, these are less common and often have higher competition for placement. Applying for these courses will usually require solid A-Level results in relevant subjects or an equivalent qualification such as NVQs or a BTEC.

As a school leaver going out into the world of employment, it can be difficult to know which areas offer the best potential for progression, stability and a rewarding career. With that in mind, we’re breaking down five in-demand areas you should consider for an apprenticeship.


The UK government’s recently-published list of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022 is full of companies in the construction industry, with 10 of the top 100 apprenticeship companies operating in the construction sector – and for good reason. The wealth and range of opportunities as part of the top 100 list alone is huge, from electrical apprenticeships with Clarkson Evans to painting and decorating apprenticeships with Bagnalls, all offering the chance to gain employable skills in a booming industry with high demand for jobs, excellent pay and progression opportunities to management or even directorial roles. Plus, you can always be sure that no two days on the job will be the same; if you choose a career in construction, you’ll be visiting a range of sites as part of your job, each one presenting new challenges, opportunities and rewards. You’ll also get to see the projects you work on develop over time, with immense satisfaction completing each one and seeing it have an impact on its environment.


The energy sector is currently thriving with job opportunities as the UK aims for net-zero and a sustainable energy future following the commitments made at COP26 last year. With around 738,000 people currently employed in the UK energy sector, there’s no shortage of job opportunities around the country and apprentices will have the opportunity to develop an exciting and varied career with competitive pay. From technical and mechanical roles to opportunities in design and engineering, these offer the perfect way to get your foot in the door in an innovative sector that’s set to see enormous growth, with a projected 50% increase in electricity demand by 2035.

Digital Marketing

As a rapidly developing industry with a steady annual growth of 10% in the UK, there’s currently a huge demand for those with digital marketing skills in roles like paid social media, analytics and content marketing. With a Digital Marketing apprenticeship, you’ll build knowledge of marketing basics and experience a wide range of business areas as part of your course. As you start getting a feel for the sector, you’ll usually get the chance to choose a preferred area to specialise in such as content writing, analytics, website development, social media, digital PR or even account management. An apprenticeship provides the perfect balance of theory and practical experience to enter a marketing role, as you’ll spend time in college lessons and shadowing colleagues as well as getting to work on your own marketing campaigns and build a portfolio of work.


With a 50% year-on-year rise in tech job vacancies in 2021 and IT vacancies currently making up 13% of total job vacancies, an IT apprenticeship ensures you’ll be going into a sector with plenty of demand and opportunities. An IT apprenticeship encompasses a wide range of jobs, allowing you to specialise as you progress in your apprenticeship role and discover the areas that interest you. Whether it’s setting up PCs, installing new software or becoming a troubleshooting whiz, an IT apprenticeship will let you build key abilities which will serve you for the rest of your career. Another advantage of working in IT is the level of flexibility; 21.6% of all job ads in the IT sector are currently advertised as remote roles, meaning you can choose from a range of companies and courses across the country regardless of your location.

Health & Social Care

Like construction, Health and Social Care feature heavily on the Government’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022 list, showing the number of excellent opportunities available here. Ideal for those who want people-focused roles, apprenticeships in this sector can include everything from social worker jobs to management or healthcare positions, giving you the chance to gain knowledge and soft skills from experienced workers in your field whilst enjoying a rewarding job role which makes an impact in people’s lives on a daily basis. With over 35,000 live jobs currently listed on the NHS Jobs website alone, this is a sector that’s always in demand and provides excellent stability for your future career.

Joanne Gualda, Group Marketing Director at Bagnalls, comments:

“Apprenticeships can provide the perfect chance for school leavers to gain education and practical experience in their chosen field, allowing them to earn as they learn and offering the ideal stepping stone into a successful career. The recently-published Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022 list shows the variety and wealth of apprenticeship opportunities available in the UK, regardless of whether you’re looking for something digital, hands-on or a mixture of the two.”

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