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Civil Engineering Apprenticeships

Civil Engineering Apprenticeships

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Civil engineers shape the world around us by designing, constructing and restoring the infrastructure of our towns, cities and transport networks. 

There are many roles that a civil engineer could have, and each career pathway has specific qualifications and criteria, so taking an apprenticeship in civil engineering allows you to ‘earn and learn’ while you discover the path you want to take.

By the time your apprenticeship has finished, you will be fully qualified and have solid on-the-job experience that other further education opportunities may not be able to offer. Sometimes, successful apprentices are offered a full-time role at the company and, if not, they will be highly employable when they start looking for a job.

Apprenticeships are available at many of the biggest civil engineering companies in the world – it's possible that international travel could be part of your education.

Of course, further and higher education in civil engineering is available through more academic routes; many colleges and universities have diploma and degree courses, so there is more than one way to get into this career.

It is worth noting, however, that the entry requirements for universities and colleges may be slightly higher.

Civil Engineering Apprenticeships
Civil Engineering Apprenticeships

Who Can Apply for a Civil Engineering Apprenticeship?

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for an apprenticeship. However, in most civil engineering apprenticeships specific qualifications are expected, depending on the level:

  • Intermediate: Level 3 – The level 3 civil engineering apprenticeship is an A-Level equivalent program that requires at least five GCSEs to include Maths, English and a science. Once you have completed this apprenticeship, you will have achieved an NVQ and this should take approximately two years.
  • Higher: Level 4-6 – For those looking for a post-A-Level apprenticeship, a Higher level would be suitable. This apprenticeship usually lasts about five years, and in that time, you can achieve a Higher National Certificate (HNC), a Higher National Degree (HND), a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Engineering degree, depending on the provider. Entry requirements for the Higher level apprenticeships are usually a completed level 3 apprenticeship, a relevant BTEC or A-Levels (including Maths, English and a science).
  • Higher: Level 7 – The level 7 apprenticeship is the top-level apprenticeship and will gain you an MEng or similar qualification. As a rule, you must complete previous levels to be considered for a level 7, though you may be able to apply if you have a relevant degree.

With all these entry requirements, it is worth looking at the apprenticeship opportunity itself, as some employers require more qualifications than others.

Remember that relevant experience and equivalent education can often be used in place of GCSEs and A-Levels.

What Can I Expect from a Civil Engineering Apprenticeship?

A civil engineering apprenticeship is full-time blend of work and study. Most apprenticeship schemes last between two to five years, and include a day a week of study at a local college to understand the theory behind the practical learning you will do.

Some apprenticeships include blocks of classroom-based learning, where you can spend 4 to 6 weeks at a college to learn the theories before applying them.

You will have a mentor during your apprenticeship who will work with you – giving you the knowledge and experience of hands-on learning with expert guidance.

A typical salary for a civil engineering apprentice is around £16,500 a year. Once you are qualified, salaries increase to over £35,000. As an apprentice, you have an employment contract so you will be entitled to holiday pay and enrolment into a pension scheme, too.

Tips for Finding a Civil Engineering Apprenticeship

As apprenticeships are government-funded, there are many apprenticeships to be found on the website. You can search by area, by title and even by employer to see what is available locally or nationwide.

If you know of a company that you are interested in, going to them directly is an excellent way to make sure that you have all the entry requirements, and that you are fully aware of what the apprenticeship looks like in terms of duration, learning and end result.

Below we have listed the best civil engineering apprenticeships, with some links to the relevant company pages.

10 of the Best Civil Engineering Apprenticeships in the UK

These companies all offer comprehensive training opportunities, with recognised qualifications and excellent employee benefits:

1. Balfour Beatty

We are more than construction. Every day our projects change the way the world looks and improve the way it works.

Balfour Beatty offers apprenticeships across a wide range of disciplines within civil engineering, from rail engineering to highways maintenance, as well as quantity surveying and even business support and administration.

With a competitive salary, flexible benefits package and all your qualification fees covered, an apprenticeship with Balfour Beatty is a great way to become a civil engineer.

Apprenticeships available include:


  • Entry Requirements – No minimum requirements
  • Qualification(s) Gained – NVQ level 2, level 2 Competence Qualification
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Usually two years or until relevant qualification gained


  • Entry Requirements – Three GCSEs, 9 to 4 grade, including Maths, science and English
  • Qualification(s) Gained – NVQ level 3, level 3 diploma
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Two to four years or as soon as standards are met and qualifications gained


  • Entry Requirements – Two A-Levels Grade A* – C, five GCSEs/NVQ level 3
  • Qualification(s) Gained – NVQ level 4, NVQ level 5, HNC, HND, foundation degree
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Three years, or as soon as standards are met and qualifications gained


  • Entry Requirements – As for Higher
  • Qualification(s) Gained – Full degree, professional qualification, such as Incorporated Engineer or Chartered Surveyor
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Five years (opportunity to enter at mid-point once Higher level completed)

2. Laing O’Rourke

One of the most engaged workforces of any global company.

Laing O’Rourke offers apprenticeships in construction, scaffolding and many more areas.

Apprenticeships available include:


  • Entry Requirements – Three GCSEs (A to C) or six months (minimum) of work experience in the construction industry
  • Qualification(s) Gained – Technical Certificate, NVQ level 2 and 3
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Two to four years, depending on the route taken

Degree Apprenticeship (in partnership with the University of Exeter)

  • Entry Requirements – A-Level (AAA-ABB) to include maths and a science. Must be in commuting distance of a project
  • Qualification(s) Gained – BEng Civil Engineering Site Management
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Five years (blended learning)

3. Atkins

Our mission is to drive innovation that protects the environment and enhances the lives of people everywhere.

Atkins is on the lookout for apprentices in trades like transport signalling and project management, but it is also keen to get young people into roles in management consultancy, cybersecurity and digital engineering.

Apprenticeships available include:

Advanced Level 3

  • Entry Requirements – Five GCSEs
  • Qualification(s) Gained – NVQ level 3, relevant BTEC, etc.
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Two to three years

Higher Level 4/5

  • Entry Requirements – A-Levels or equivalent
  • Qualification(s) Gained – HND, foundation degree, relevant BTEC
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Two to three years

Degree Level 6

  • Entry Requirements – A-Levels or equivalent
  • Qualification(s) Gained – Bachelors-level degree
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Four to five years

Degree Level 7

  • Entry Requirements – Undergraduate degree (2:1), or equivalent
  • Qualification(s) Gained – Meng, CEng
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Four to Five years
Civil Engineering Apprenticeships
Civil Engineering Apprenticeships

4. Mott Macdonald

Global, employee-owned management, engineering and development consultancy.

From civil engineering to business admin, and from quantity surveying to environmental practitioner, the range of apprenticeships available at Mott McDonald makes an apprenticeship here very appealing.

Apprenticeships available include:


  • Entry Requirements – GCSEs
  • Qualification(s) Gained – NVQ level 3
  • Length of Apprenticeship – See site for details of individual programmes


  • Entry Requirements – A-Levels
  • Qualification(s) Gained – Undergraduate degree
  • Length of Apprenticeship – See site for details

5. Skanska

Skanska, one of the UK’s leading contractors, is an inclusive and responsible business that is helping to build a better society.

Skanska offers three sectors of apprenticeships:

  • Engineering
  • Operations
  • Business Support 

All roles include a salary. Once your apprenticeship is completed, Skanska will work with you to create a personalised, structured career path so that you can realise your full potential.

Contact Skanska for further information on apprenticeships, as requirements vary for each career pathway.

Opening dates for the apprenticeship program are usually at the beginning of the year.

6. Jones Bros

From applying the latest civil engineering techniques to minimising the environmental impact of our work, Jones Bros leads the way when it comes to progressive engineering.

Jones Bros offers an apprenticeship in general construction or as a plant operative. Both have minimal entry requirements.

The apprenticeships offer ‘sandwich’ style training (12 to 15 weeks at a purpose-built training facility) with the rest of the time ‘on the job’.

A competitive salary that increases with experience, holiday pay and travel and subsistence are included in the package.

Apprenticeships available include:

Level 2

  • Entry Requirements – School leaver, driving licence
  • Qualification(s) Gained – NVQ level 2, opportunity to join an engineering training scheme for HNC/HND
  • Length of Apprenticeship – 15 months to two years

7. ISG

Our vision is to become the world’s most dynamic construction services company, delivering places that help people and businesses thrive.

ISG apprentices specialise in either quantity surveying or construction management.

Apprenticeships available include:

Level 6

  • Entry Requirements – 97 UCAS points, including Maths and science
  • Qualification(s) Gained – Degree, professional chartership
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Five years

8. Kier

Kier is a leading UK construction and infrastructure services company.

Kier offers apprenticeships in over 25 sectors around engineering and construction, and a competitive salary as well as benefits.

Kier also offers a means-tested bursary to all its apprentices to support them in their work and study – up to £1,000 per year to supplement their income and allow for the purchase of such things as smartphones, laptops or office clothing. 

Apprenticeships available include:

Levels 2 to 6

Apprenticeship requirements vary – some require no formal qualifications, while others need specific grades. If you are looking to get involved with a Kier apprenticeship, check for your preferred career path and see what is needed.

9. Peter Brett LLP

We design with community in mind.

Peter Brett offers several apprentice positions, from civil/structural engineering to transport planning. It offers a competitive salary, flexible working arrangements, and will work with you once your apprenticeship is completed to further your learning and training – whether that is a Higher level apprenticeship or other education.

Apprenticeships available include:

Level 3

  • Entry Requirements – Five GCSEs, including B/6 in Maths and a C/4 in English
  • Qualification(s) Gained – BTEC/EngTech
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Three years

Level 5/6

  • Entry Requirements – Five GCSEs and three A-Levels, or an Advanced BTEC
  • Qualification(s) Gained – BEng/IENg
  • Length of Apprenticeship – Five years

10. ARUP

We shape a better world.

At ARUP, apprentices are trained in a wide range of disciplines, from civil engineering, rail design and transport planning to back office roles like HR, business administration and accounting. 

Training is delivered one day a week for the engineering roles, whereas the office-based training is all delivered in-house.

The benefits package at ARUP includes a competitive salary, private health insurance and a starting bonus – as well as holiday pay and a flexible benefits fund that you can use for things like a gym membership or car insurance. 

Apprenticeships available include:

Levels 2 to 6

ARUP is looking for more than traditional qualifications when it comes to choosing its apprentices. While some need specific academic attainment, the company places great importance on personality and other strengths.

Each apprentice role is different, so you need to check each one before you apply to see if it is right for you.

Final Thoughts

For those who have a fascination for designing and building the world around us, civil engineering is the perfect career choice. From construction management to rail engineering, highways maintenance to quantity surveying, there are many career paths that you can follow.

Becoming a civil engineering apprentice means that you can learn from experienced professionals in the field, while also studying the theory and academic side of this profession.

The application process for apprenticeships usually follows a similar process to any job, and could include some or all of the following:

  • An application form and/or CV
  • Online written or aptitude tests
  • A telephone or Skype interview 
  • A final, face-to-face interview

Each company will have its own process, so make sure you understand what you need to do and when you can expect to receive feedback about your application.

For more information about civil engineering, look at the ICE website. ICE (the Institution of Civil Engineering) is an organisation that offers membership and qualifications to civil engineers, ensuring industry-standard engineers have a community with learning information, news and upcoming projects.

If you are looking for a hands-on learning experience to become a civil engineer, then an apprenticeship is a great way to achieve the qualifications and experience you need.