Shop RNIB Donate now


Information for blind and partially sighted people on Apprenticeships.

An Apprenticeship is a great way to learn on the job alongside experienced people while studying for a nationally recognised qualification.

Apprentices do real jobs in a real workplace earning money at the same time. You can do an Apprenticeship in many different areas ranging from accountancy to textiles, engineering to veterinary nursing, business administration to construction. They are available at three levels:

  • Intermediate: equivalent to five A*- C GCSE's
  • Advanced: equivalent to two A Levels
  • Higher: equivalent to Level 4 and above qualifications.

Getting on to an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are often very popular and sometimes employers, colleges or training providers ask for qualifications including GCSEs. However, they must give equal access for disabled people and offer you the chance to show you are ready for an Apprenticeship through things other than qualifications. This is called a 'portfolio of evidence' and may include work experience or volunteering that you have done, as well as non-accredited courses and life experiences.

Some colleges and training providers offer programmes called “Traineeships” for young people who have additional learning and/or social “needs”. Traineeships can prepare you for a full apprenticeship and is a good idea if you need to build up your skills or experience. You can find out more about these on our Work experience and volunteering page.

Support on Apprenticeships

In England

The government recognises that disabled people are under-represented in apprenticeships. The National Apprenticeship Service provides funding for training costs and apprenticeship grants for employers which can be used to encourage large employers to take on blind and partially sighted young people.

The training provider or college should give you support with the training-related aspects of your apprenticeship. At college this will be paid for through Learning Support and Exceptional Learning Support for eligible apprentices of all ages. You may also be able to receive Access to Work support to help you when you are on the job. If you are interested in doing an apprenticeship you should speak to a careers adviser as well as discuss it at your preparing for adulthood transition review.

In Northern Ireland

Apprenticeships NI is a Northern Ireland programme that offers training to 16 year olds and over, across a wide range of jobs. It provides recognised training and qualifications to new and existing employees to help meet the demands of local employers.

You can find out more about this programme at the NI Direct website.

In Scotland

Modern Apprenticeships can be a way of working while studying for a qualification at the same time. For more information about available options, speak with your Careers Adviser. You can find out more information about employment opportunities in Scotland on the RNIB Scotland employment pages.

In Wales

If you are from Wales and are keen to explore alternatives to A levels and NVQ's why not consider doing an apprenticeship. The Welsh Government provides a number of Work-based learning or training programmes such as Skillbuild or Foundation Apprenticeships which give young people the opportunity to learn a skill or trade and earn money at the same time.

In terms of support, your training provider usually plans and organises this and they'll refer to your Learning and Skills Plan drawn up by Careers Wales to assist them. In some circumstances your provider can make a request for additional funding to support you to the Welsh Assembly Government.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work based learning and training programmes on offer visit the Careers Wales website or make an appointment with your nearest LLDD Careers Wales advisor.

Disability Rights UK “Into Apprenticeships” Guide

“Into Apprenticeships” is a guide for people with disabilities, parents and key advisers about applying for apprenticeships in England. To obtain a copy visit the Disability Rights UK website.