Responsible for keeping the country and the economy moving, few other industries offer as many apprenticeships as the transport sector. If you'd like to gain valuable on-the-job experience while gaining a qualification, find out more about available opportunities
A huge number of leading transport employers run apprenticeship programmes. While skills in civil engineering, traffic management and digital technology are particularly sought after, the sector also covers automotive, airline and logistics apprenticeships, so there's plenty of choice for those starting out.
As Apprenticeships GOV.UK points out, opportunities exist across haulage, rail infrastructure operator, passenger transport operations, passenger transport driver, cabin crew and supply chain practitioner.
These apprenticeships range from Intermediate Level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs) all the way up to degree Levels 6 and 7 (Bachelors or Masters standard). Read more about the different levels at what is an apprenticeship? Take a look at degree apprenticeships in more detail.
Road and railway apprenticeships
With many of the government's UK transport infrastructure projects well underway, you'll find road and railway apprenticeships advertised regularly.
Transport for London (TfL) has four apprenticeship options in business, London underground engineering, engineering and technology. Their business apprenticeships span Levels 3 to 6 and are available in project controls, project management, finance, procurement and supply chain, human resources, quantity surveying, general management and commercial real estate.
The London underground pathway includes options such as service control (Level 2) and rail engineering technician (Level 3). Other schemes available via the engineering pathway include highways and traffic (Level 3) and building services (Level 6). There are two Level 4 technology apprenticeships in business analysis and software development and a Level 3 in IT solutions.
Another option is with Highways England, as it trains apprentices in a number of areas across its business. You could work in civil engineering, business administration, customer service or project management. Degree level schemes are available and Level 3 and 4 pathways have also recently become an option.
Railway apprentices could find themselves working for companies such as Network Rail, First Group, Northern Rail and Colas Rail as a train driver, in engineering or the management and planning side of operations.
It'll take three years to complete Network Rail's IT and Business Services Degree Apprenticeship (Level 6). Based in Milton Keynes, you'll assist with day-to-day responsibilities as well as take on longer-term projects as you gain experience in a range of activities. You'll earn a starting salary of £17,000.
First Group, which covers Great Western Railway (GWR), South Western Railway (SWR) and TransPennine Express (TPE), offers a number of apprenticeships. Depending on the train operator you choose to work for, there are programmes in areas such as:
- commercial and train planning
- customer service
Colas Rail offers a range of Level 3 apprenticeships in functions such as train driver, rail engineering technician and rail engineering design technician.
You can also explore other road and rail careers.
Most of the UK's leading car companies run apprenticeship schemes:
- Aston Martin Lagonda apprenticeships - Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3, A-level standard) and Higher (Level 6, degree) awards are on offer in areas including manufacturing, paint, commercial, engineering, IT and design.
- BMW apprenticeships - the three-year Motor Vehicle Technician scheme at Advanced Level 3 sees apprentices employed at a BMW retailer while attending the group academy in Berkshire. The technician role is focused on electronics and cutting edge technology. Other programmes are also available in aftersales customer service, body shop, motorcycles and genius training.
- Jaguar Land Rover apprenticeships - an Advanced (Level 3) technical apprenticeship with the car manufacturer involves spending four years learning the engineering or manufacturing basics, as you earn a wage of £13,000. The organisation also offers a Higher Apprenticeship programme and a Digital Technology and Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.
- Mercedes-Benz UK apprenticeships - on the three-year scheme, you'll have the opportunity to train as a light vehicle technician, parts operations specialist or heavy vehicle technician, while attending the company's apprentice academy in Milton Keynes.
- Nissan apprenticeships - training takes place on site as well as at a local college. Apprenticeships focus on two main areas - technical and business or production and schemes range from between two and five years.
- Volvo apprenticeships - these last between one and three years, with six programmes available at either Intermediate (Level 2, GCSE) or Advanced (Level 3). You can apply to work as a service technician, parts advisor, accident repair technician, product specialist or business administrator.
In addition to car apprenticeships with manufacturers, car dealers also run programmes across their dealership network or in their head office. You'll also find opportunities with organisations operating heavy goods vehicles (for example, driver apprenticeships at ALDI), taxis and buses.
Aside from airline graduate schemes, many of the leading operatives within the aviation industry also have dedicated apprenticeship programmes.
For instance, British Airways (BA) recruits apprentices in three business areas: customer (customer service), corporate and support (corporate and support functions, IAG revenue management, project management) and operations (aircraft maintenance, Heathrow operations, IAG cargo operations).
The Advanced (Level 3) apprenticeship in engineering from Virgin Atlantic gives apprentices the chance to train for nine months in Gloucestershire, working on live aircraft while developing their skills. Later in the scheme you'll get the chance to work for London Gatwick and Heathrow operations. Apprenticeship schemes are also available in finance and cabin crew - the latter is set at Level 3 and takes 14 months to complete.
Boeing also runs a range of aircraft apprenticeships including aircraft maintenance, aircraft fabrication and flight services.
Aerospace leader Airbus also takes on apprentices. Degree apprenticeships are available in commercial aircraft, defence and space and helicopters.
Apprentices who complete a one to three-year training programme with the Royal Air Force (RAF) are guaranteed a job in their chosen field. Aircraft technician, weapon technician, air and space operations specialist and supplier are among the many roles you can select from.
With customer expectations, automation technology and other changes transforming the logistics industry, this is another area where skilled recruits are needed.
Major firms such as DHL look for supply chain apprentices. The logistics company offer a range of apprenticeships from supply chain and data analysis to management. Their UK Supply Chain Professional Leader Degree Apprenticeship is available in four locations and will earn you a salary of £18,000 per year. It takes four years to complete.
Amazon runs a Level 2 Supply Chain with Business Improvement Techniques apprenticeship. The 15-moth scheme teaches you how to identify and eliminate waste, create flow and improve quality leading to greater efficiency and increased profitability.
The armed forces also offer logistics apprenticeships; so visit the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy websites to search for opportunities.
Find out more
- Gain an insight into the transport and logistics sector.
- Discover how to apply for an apprenticeship.