The Young Apprenticeship programme comes within the framework of the UK government's 14–19 and Skills agendas. The programme offers an opportunity for able 14–16‐year‐olds to combine the practical application of skills and knowledge in a vocational context, with the chance to gain qualifications that relate to specific occupational areas. It is seen as an addition to the range of vocational options at Key Stage 4, where pupils can follow specific vocational programmes outside school, in partnerships with employers and involving long‐term work placements.
The first cohort of 1 000 learners started their two‐year programme in September 2004 in art and design, business administration, engineering, health and social care, and the motor industry. For the second cohort, the programmes expanded to include sports management, leadership, and coaching; performing arts; hospitality; and textiles. See also Modern Apprenticeship.