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What are the highest paid trade apprenticeships in the UK?

There are some great opportunities out there to learn on the job. Knowing what apprenticeships are the highest paid could affect your decision. Either as an employer or potential employee. Learning a new trade, you can also get paid a decent salary with ever-increasing prospects.

Looking for the highest paid apprenticeships in the UK? Chances are you’re a more hands-on learner.

Going to university means hours spent sitting through lectures and reading book after book. So, if this style of learning isn’t for you, why not consider a trade apprenticeship?

The best apprenticeships for 16 year olds tend to be more hands-on than office based. So they’re a perfect fit for trade professions.

Want to know more?

You’ll still be training for your future career, but you’ll be working outside a classroom, getting a salary, and learning valuable skills every day.

If it sounds like a good fit, you may be wondering what the highest-paid UK apprenticeships are? Read on to see what some of the best paid apprenticeships out there are, including the benefits you can look forward to, plus average wages you can expect.

The benefits of apprenticeships

So, let’s start by looking at the benefits of apprenticeships to make sure this is the right career path for you.

Simply put, an apprenticeship is a course that gives you hands-on experience and the opportunity to develop transferrable skills, all while receiving a salary.

Perks of being an apprentice include:

  • One-to-one training and learning on the job, with professionals who can answer all your questions
  • No expensive student debts
  • Not being stuck in a classroom or lecture hall
  • Earning a wage that’ll give you the freedom to fund your lifestyle
  • Doing something you love while training for your future career

Being an apprentice is a good way to try a trade for the first time. It’s also a great way for business owners to get more hands working on trade jobs.

Your best way forward

  • Start by speaking to a range of different local businesses that are offering apprenticeships
  • Discuss the apprenticeship in detail, covering what you’ll learn, what hours you’ll work and what your day could look like
  • Don’t just choose the highest paid apprenticeship – pick the one that’ll let you develop a wide range of skills
  • If you’re leaning towards a particular trade, don’t switch just for the extra money – doing something you love is worth far more than a monthly wage

Remember the saying, ‘If you find a job you love, you won’t ever have to work a day in your life’. While it is good to consider wages, everyone will agree that the best apprenticeships after A levels or when you leave school are the ones that you enjoy.

After all, there is nothing to be gained from a larger pay check for a job you don’t like. Even as an apprentice.

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What are the highest paid UK apprenticeships?

Taking on an apprenticeship is one of the best ways to get your career started in a certain trade.

Not only will you learn the necessary skills, but you’ll also get real life experience, which is a valuable tool when it comes to branching out on your own (if you pardon the pun).

If you’re unsure which direction to go when it comes to choosing a trade, as a good place to start is considering salaries. Some of the best-paid apprenticeships in the UK include:

Plumbing apprenticeships

Working with everything from toilets to fitting pipes, plumbers play a key role in the running of homes and businesses alike.

As a plumbing apprentice, you’ll learn to install heating systems, service radiators, work with pipes, unblock drains and much more.

According to Indeed, you can look forward to a great average wage of £18,199 while training.*

plumber call out fee

Electrician apprenticeships

Generally, as an electrician apprentice, you’ll learn a wide range of different skills involving the use of electricity.

One day you could be installing lighting and the next, rewiring a home. You’ll also deal with jobs such as fitting sockets, installing security systems, maintaining electrical systems and repairing electrical appliances.

So, what do electrician apprentices get paid? Well, the average salary is £17,759 according to Glassdoor.*

Builder apprenticeships

If you’d prefer to work on a variety of jobs whilst building your physical strength, a builder apprenticeship may be perfect for you.

You’ll be required to work indoors and outdoors as builder apprentices learn everything from roofing to plastering to bricklaying and welding.

As a less skilled role, you could be earning an average of £10,715 as a builder apprentice.*

Plastering apprenticeships

Plasterwork is vital when giving a room you’re working in that final, smoothed-wall finish.

As an apprentice and beyond you’ll be applying plaster on internal or external walls, and applying various techniques such as decorative mouldings on ceilings, all based on the styles and preferences required by the customers.

You’ll have to be physically strong and patient, with a good head for heights, but you’ll be earning on average, £19,000 during your apprenticeship.*

Carpenter apprenticeships

The job possibilities as a carpenter are endless. As a carpenter apprentice, you’ll work on projects including creating wood fittings, working from blueprints, repairing doors, and building custom furniture.

Remember, carpentry isn’t just a trade. It’s also a craft that can be honed over years of experience.

You may be curious as to the average carpenter apprentice wage and according to Indeedthis is £16,428.*

Painter/decorator apprenticeships

Painters and decorators excel at transforming dull or damaged homes into beautiful living spaces. This makes for a very rewarding career path.

If you choose to begin a painter/decorator apprenticeship, you can learn a range of skills from painting to wallpapering and staining wood floors.

So, how much will you get paid during a painter/decorator apprenticeship? Well, the good news is that you could earn around £13,920 as an apprentice painter/decorator.*

Roofer apprenticeships

During a roofing apprenticeship, you’ll learn how to work safely at heights, how to repair damaged roofs, how to waterproof roofs and other skills.

Roofing can be dangerous if not undertaken correctly, and so you’ll be taught exactly how to stay safe and protect yourself from accidents.

Wondering what you can expect to earn as a roofer apprentice? According to Salary Expert, the average salary of a roofing apprentice is £24,611.*

polycarbonate roof sheets

How to take on an apprentice as a business owner

If you’re looking at taking on an apprentice as a sole trader or small business owner, it is important to look at how to bring on an apprentice the right way.

As with any form of hiring there are lots of things to consider, including:

  • Have you got the right legal cover?
  • Can you afford the staffing cost?
  • Do you have the extra time required to support someone?
  • Do you have enough work to justify another pair of hands?
  • Could the apprenticeship lead to full time employment?
  • What are the benefits of working for you?

There are many schemes set up to help with the funding of apprentices. Even for smaller businesses.

If you aren’t familiar with the different options available, why not familiarise yourself with the training grants that are out there?

business higher apprenticeships


Are most apprenticeships paid?

Yes, all apprenticeships are paid. You’ll earn at least minimum wage during your training. Don’t forget that this amount will vary depending on your age and which year of your apprenticeship you are in.

Which apprenticeships are most in-demand?

The most in-demand apprenticeships are traditionally the most in-demand trades.

Some of the most popular trade apprenticeships are:

  • Electrician apprenticeship – Good pay, plus the chance to work with new technology
  • Plumber apprenticeship – Varied workdays and flexible working hours
  • Gas engineer apprenticeship – High earnings and an analytical role
  • Carpenter apprenticeship – The opportunity to be creative and work with your hands
  • Plasterer apprenticeship – A skill you can perfect whilst also specialising in particular techniques

What are my options once I complete my apprenticeship?

You have a few different options after finishing your training, such as staying on with your current employer. Or you could take another job with a different employer or starting your own business.

If you’re considering building a company yourself, in order to hit the ground running, why not join Checkatrade?

Not only will we provide you with free marketing materials, but we’ll also make it easier for customers to find your business online. You’ll be able to save money on essentials like tools and insurance.

Apprenticeship summary

  • Taking an apprenticeship allows you to train in a specific field, giving you the best start to a trade career
  • Some of the best paid apprenticeships include electricians, carpenters, decorators and plasterers
  • You can earn a great wage by taking an apprenticeship, plus you won’t need to pay for costly course fees
  • We’ll always need the services of electricians, carpenters, gas engineers and plumbers, making these apprenticeships highly in demand

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Content disclaimer: This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer here.

* Salary information quoted is correct as of January 2024

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