Giving you the chance to put your studies into practice while earning a wage, a HR apprenticeship allows you to gain a qualification tailored to the needs of your role

Working in human resources involves engaging with a range of people and dealing with challenging situations and issues as they arise. You'll need a motivational attitude, approachable manner and a good understanding of workplace policies and culture.

Entering the HR profession through an apprenticeship is the ideal way to gain valuable, practical experience, applying your learning as it takes place.

What types of HR apprenticeship are available?

HR apprenticeships are available at two levels:

  • Level 3 - HR Support Apprenticeship - equivalent to an A-level, and typically lasting 18 to 24 months, on this apprenticeship you'll use HR systems to keep records, help the business make HR changes and work in a range of areas including recruitment and retirement. A HR Support Apprenticeship is for you if you're entering the profession or are an existing member of staff looking to refresh your knowledge.
  • Level 5 - HR Consultant/Partner Apprenticeship - if you're a HR manager in a small organisation, or have leadership duties in a larger organisation, the HR Consultant/Partner Apprenticeship will boost your decision-making and influencing skills. The course runs for two to three years (or 18 months, if you've already completed the Level 3 apprenticeship) and is the equivalent of a foundation degree.

Whichever level you study at, HR apprenticeships focus on workplace-based learning. You'll also complete professional development training and spend a percentage of your time in the classroom. The apprenticeship culminates in an End-Point Assessment (EPA), where you'll have your skills, knowledge and behaviours evaluated against the relevant apprenticeship standard.

Which companies offer HR apprenticeships?

As HR is central to most sectors you'll find roles across a number of organisations including:

  • Amazon - Offers both Level 3 and Level 5 apprenticeships lasting 18 months and two years respectively.
  • AstraZeneca - The two-year rotational apprenticeship scheme allows you to work in generalist HR roles, as well as focus on specific areas such as talent acquisition and recruitment marketing.
  • Nomura - offers HR apprenticeships in five areas: HR Advisor, CAO Apprentice, HR Analyst Centre, Learning and Development and Graduate Recruitment. You'll obtain qualifications across a period of 12 to 24 months at the company's London headquarters.

What do HR apprenticeships involve?

You will be responsible for providing support on all HR related topics. For example, on the Amazon apprenticeship you'll be involved in employee administration, such as attendance, to ensure it's managed accurately and timely. You'll also collect and input data in order to provide reports to senior leaders and support hiring initiative including onboarding new staff.

The AstraZeneca apprenticeship will see you rotate around different departments giving you experience in all areas. Possible rotations include talent acquisition, generalist HR roles, employer branding and recruitment marketing, new employee onboarding and specialist HR projects.

Who are apprenticeships aimed at?

Traditionally, apprenticeships were aimed at school leavers and only covered intermediate or advanced qualifications. However, as apprenticeships are now seen as an alternative to university the number of degree-level opportunities is increasing.

Advanced (Level 3) apprenticeships are aimed at school leavers and you’ll need GCSE passes in English, maths and science to gain a place. You'll need to be 16 or over, living in England and not in full-time education to be eligible to apply.

Higher and degree apprenticeships (Levels 4, 5 and 6) are generally geared towards those with A-levels or those who have already completed an advanced apprenticeship. Learn more about degree apprenticeships.

Masters apprenticeships (Level 7) are aimed at those who already hold a Bachelors degree or have previously completed a degree apprenticeship.

How much will I be paid?

As an apprentice you're entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which is currently £6.40 per hour (from April 2024). This rate applies to those under the age of 19, and those aged 19 and over in the first year of an apprenticeship.

If you're over 19 and have completed your first year, you must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for your age. Use the GOV.UK wage calculator to check you're being paid correctly.

You'll be paid for your working hours and any training you complete as part of the apprenticeship. You'll also be entitled to at least 20 days' annual leave per year, plus bank holidays.

Despite these stipulations, salaries are set by individual employers and in many cases you'll find you're paid significantly more than the NMW.

You won't incur any tuition costs on an apprenticeship - your employer covers these.

How do I get an HR apprenticeship?

The majority of employers offering HR apprenticeships advertise them on the careers section of their website. It's likely you'll have to fill out an application form, but check with individual employers as their methods may vary.

Treat your apprenticeship application in the same way you would a job application. When preparing your CV and cover letter, research the company you're applying to and read up on relevant legislation and current affairs in HR - see CIPD - News, views and policy for resources to help you keep up to date.

Tailor your application to include evidence of examples where you've demonstrated the required competencies. Being able to market your skills in this way will be advantageous if you're invited to interview, assessment centre or required to complete psychometric testing. In these settings, you're usually required to draw on your past experiences to give an indication of how you'll perform in the workplace.

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