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Are you thinking about applying for an apprenticeship in engineering? Are you an engineering apprentice working and studying to develop the skills you need to kick-start your career?

As an engineering apprentice, or a trainee on a similar employer scheme, you will be developing vital knowledge, skills, behaviours and work experience to help you to succeed in the world of engineering. In a field with a looming skills shortage, your training will be invaluable and will open doors to vast career opportunities.

Many engineering apprenticeships now lead to professional registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech), ICT Technician (ICTTech) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng). Achieving professionally registered status at the end of your apprenticeship is a great way to demonstrate what you have learnt.  It will also set you apart from others as you compete for jobs or promotion.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn. During an apprenticeship you will typically work towards nationally recognised qualifications, either at college, university or through block release or e-learning and webinars. The rest of your time is spent developing technical skills and ‘on-the-job’ knowledge with an employer in your industry. You may well also gain industry specific certificates that will demonstrate your broader knowledge and skills. Your development, during an apprenticeship, provides a good platform for your future career. You can see what apprenticeships are available through the government's 'Find an apprenticeship' search.

Before you apply for an apprenticeship

There are different types of apprenticeship that you can apply for.  In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, they exist at three levels:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship (equivalent level as GCSEs/Scottish Standard Grades): Level 2
  • Advanced Apprenticeship (equivalent  level as A levels/IB/SB/Scottish Highers): Level 3
  • Apprenticeship Standards (equivalent level as GCSEs/A levels): Level 2 and 3 – available in England only
  • Higher Apprenticeship (can include Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, Foundation Degrees, undergraduate and post graduate degrees/degrees): Levels 4+ 

In Scotland they are known as Modern Apprenticeships, which involve on-the-job training and studying towards Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) from SCQF 5 upwards.  Technical Apprenticeships (SCQF 8-9) and Professional Apprenticeships (SCQF 10-12) are also available. 

Whichever you choose it is worth keeping professional registration with the Engineering Council in mind. You should try to find an apprenticeship that has been ‘approved’ or contains approved qualifications.  This is because approved apprenticeships and qualifications have been found to meet, or partially meet, the criteria for a given professional engineering title. This will make applying for professional registration more straightforward later on. 

During your apprenticeship

Once you’ve begun your apprenticeship, you should join a relevant professional engineering institution, where you might be offered either free or reduced rate membership.  Becoming an institution member looks great on your CV and can provide you with connections and resources to help you to get the most from your Apprenticeship. 

Some institutions also provide an online tool for recording training and professional development whilst you are developing your skills and applying your knowledge in the workplace.  Keeping this up to date will help you when you are ready to apply for professional registration.

Once you have completed your apprenticeship

Once you complete your apprenticeship or training scheme, you should be eligible for professional registration. If you have undertaken an Advanced Apprenticeship, you are likely to be able to apply for EngTech or ICTTech registration; some Higher Apprenticeships can also lead to IEng and CEng status. Your institution can advise on this. 

If you aren’t already a member of one of our licensed professional engineering institutions, you should join now.  This will provide you with tailored advice, mentoring and guidance on the application process for professional registration. Not only this, institutions can provide you with networking and professional development opportunities and access to up-to-date industry news and information.

Becoming professionally registered

A professional engineering title will help to smooth your pathway from apprentice to professional and competent engineer or technician within the workplace. It also demonstrates that you meet the standards set by the profession, which can be found in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) and the ICT Technician Standard. This will act to assure employers and their customers that they can have confidence in your competence and commitment. In turn, this will enhance your career prospects.

Below you will find links to more information about professional registration:

Course Search

Find out whether an apprenticeship or education programme has been approved as counting towards professional registration


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Professional Engineering Institutions and Professional Affiliates

Find a relevant institution to become a member of for industry information, careers advice and to guide your application for professional registration

… (Read more)

Professional Registration

Read more about the Engineering Council’s professional titles, their benefits and discover the one that will be most relevant for you to apply for

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Tomorrow’s Engineers

If you are still at school the Tomorrow’s Engineers website provides a one-stop-shop for engineering careers advice

… (Read more)

UK-SPEC and the ICTTech Standard

This webpage provides you with access to the Engineering Council’s standards documents that detail the criteria and ways of becoming eligible for professional registration

… (Read more)

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