Industry Approved Level 3 Apprenticeships

Industry Approved Level 3 Apprenticeships

New entrant workers are essential to the continuity and productivity of all industry sectors. Time, health, progression and other factors means that there is an indispensable requirement to attract, train and retain the next generation of replacement workers.

Most UK construction trades, have fared poorly over the past three decades in their efforts to appeal to the best of the annual school-leaving population. Other existing and emergent industries have maintained or built better brands and propositions, allowing them to outbid some of the established trades for vital new blood.

ETT is especially interested in promoting the electrical installation apprenticeship to prospective school leavers. We believe that an authentic four-year Level 3 Diploma electrical installation apprenticeship provides the best foundation for a diverse and rewarding lifelong career.

Non Employed Level 2 Traineeships

In 2021, the Department for the Economy introduced funding for Level 2 electrical installation Traineeship programme.  It should be noted, that once again no consultation or approval by the industry was sought after or achieved by the Department.  The Level 2 option has been imposed on a sector that has traditionally been committed to an established Level 3 entry preference.

On the plus side, the Level 2 traineeship is in the correct occupational area; unlike the previous detrimental Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations programme.  However, employers, trainees, parents and guardians should be aware that achievement of a Level 2 traineeship is not sufficient to become or be recognised as a fully qualified electrician.

Previous experience shows that low entry criterion means that many learners become trainees but are unable to progress to a level 3 apprenticeship due mainly to underlying literacy, numeracy and IT capabilities.  Other learners join an electrical traineeship programme without an adequate assessment of their ability to progress to Level 3 or simply because there was an available place.

Low outcomes, poor timekeeping & attendance and low retention rates characterised much of the previous Level 2 programme.

Exceptions do exist, trainees can and do progress through to achieve a Level 3 outcome.

However, the achievement of a Level 3 outcome depends on the intentions and goals of training providers. The realistic potential to achieve a Level 3 outcome should be considered before a trainee is admitted on a Level 2 programme.  Otherwise, the trainee risks becoming another semi-skilled, underqualified product of the system.

Important Considerations

Employers should take time to carefully and realistically assess the potential of a trainee to achieve a Level 3 outcome where literacy, numeracy and IT skills are at the lower end of the GCSE spectrum.

The industry must carefully consider the impact upon Level 3 apprenticeship recruitment given the small gains and previous poor record of the Level 2 electrical traineeship programme.

 Matters for employers to consider

  1. Previous negative feedback from trainees, apprentices, employers and training providers
  2. Low retention and progression rates
  3. Poor attendance and timekeeping
  4. Mixed class ability, attitude and commitment
  5. Some Level 2 achievers and those with incomplete Level 2 units are retained in the industry but fail to become qualified.
  6. Achievement of essential skills ticks the box but is often not sufficient to carry academically weaker trainees through to Level 3 success.
  7. Early exit from Level 3 and loss of employer grant.


We are committed to supporting industry approved apprenticeship standards and framework agreements as the preferred means for young people to enter and develop through the industry.

We recommend that employers remain committed to Level 3 recruitment and training as the preferred entry point.

Better for the employer:

  • Retention and achievement outcomes are much more likely.
  • Less likely to loss an apprentice and experience interruption.

Better for the learner:

  • Commitment, attitude, achievement and employer engagement tends to be higher.