Pathways to employment

In this section you will find information about ways to find employment after education

What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a structured, work-based training programme where you gain job-specific skills and on-the-job work experience while studying towards a nationally recognised qualification. You get paid to do a real job, work alongside experienced staff and get practical insight into the work place.

An apprenticeship is also a career option, a route into employment for school leavers and young people up to age 24 who are serious about pursuing a career but choose not to go to university because:

  • It’s costly and even a good degree from a top university won’t necessarily guarantee a job upon graduation.
  • They don’t have the grades to do the degree they want at a university of their choice
  • They don’t want to be stuck with a hefty personal debt from 3-4 years at uni (average expenditure per academic year is £24,000 – more for London.)

And, apprenticeships can be an important route into sustainable employment.

What you could get
As an apprentice you’ll:

  • Gain the skills and experience sought by employers in your chosen field
  • Get a head start up the career ladder
  • Earn while you learn. The minimum wage for first year apprentices is £3.30/hour and apprentices can earn £150-200/week or more.
  • Start building a network of peers
  • Avoid the cost of going to uni

There are three levels of apprenticeship available for young people aged 16 and over:

  • Intermediate (equivalent to a level 2 or 5 GCSEs A* - C)
    Works toward work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a relevant knowledge-based qualification. Programmes take between 12-18 months to complete.
  • Advanced (equivalent to a level 3 or two A-level passes)
    Works toward work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 3, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate. Programmes take between 15-24 months to complete.
  • Higher (equivalent to a level 4, 5, 6 or Foundation degree or above)
    Works toward work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree. Programmes can take up to three years to complete.

Apprenticeships work towards three types of qualification:

  • Functional: training in skills in maths, English and ICT with a particular focus on problem-solving and ability to apply these skills effectively in real situations
  • Technical: training in skills needed to accomplish specific mathematical, engineering, scientific or computer-related tasks
  • Vocational: training in practical skills in a specific field of work, generally learned from hands-on experience

To be eligible for the programme, you must be:

  • 16-24 years old
  • Eligible to work in England and a resident of the European Union for at least three years
  • Not in full-time education or educated to level 4 or above

Individual apprenticeship positions will have different requirements in terms of aptitude, skills, qualifications and experience.

Please note: Enthusiasm, commitment, initiative and reliability are always needed.

Traineeships are education and training programmes with work experience for young people who are motivated to get a job or apprenticeship but lack the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

The aim of traineeships is to help a young person become 'work ready'.


Step Up aims to support people with mental health issues to access, and sustain, volunteering and/ or paid work as part of their mental health recovery. The project is open to anyone who has experienced mental ill-health, aged 18+, who is a Hackney resident or is registered with a healthcare professional in Hackney. People can self-refer themselves or be referred to us by a health or social care professional. 

We use a range of different strategies to support people to move on with their lives including tailored, specialist 1:1 support from staff to find suitable volunteer and paid opportunities; monthly socials; peer support; signposting to training and community activities; wellbeing workshops and employment workshops.

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