School Leaver Programme

So, you’re leaving college and working out your options?

There’s a lot of pressure for college students to go to university or jump headfirst into a full-time job – even if you have no idea what you want to do.

University can be a fun experience, but it’s not for everyone – and that’s OK. Here at Merlin we want to provide opportunities for school leavers to earn a decent wage whilst also gaining valuable qualifications.

That’s why we’ve launched our School Leaver Programme, offering school leavers the opportunity to gain a degree level apprenticeship qualification while also being able to earn money and develop their career with us here at Merlin.

The School Leaver Programme lasts 3.5 years and at the end of it you'll have a Bsc (Hons) in Leadership and Business Management​ from the University of Aston.

Applications have closed for now. Watch this space for the next entry date! 


What you need to have...

You'll have / be working towards 3 x A-Levels (BCC or higher)

Minimum of English & Maths at Grade 4 or GCSE C

Enjoy working in a team

Desire to progress into a management career

Passion for Customer Service

You must be living in the UK (you must have been in the UK for 3 years)

Course Details

This is a level Degree apprenticeship in Chartered Management. You will be working at one of our attractions whilst studying for your qualification using both remote learning and 2 days learning based at Aston University every term.


The three and a half year course is split over three stages and cover the following topics:

Stage one

  • Financial management
  • Marketing
  • Strategic management

Stage two

  • Operations management
  • Leadership and change management
  • Excellence in business project management

Final stage

  • Your choice of two optional modules
  • Final project

Learning and teaching

Apprenticeships are structured differently to a traditional degree. You'll spend the majority of your time at the attraction doing a real full-time job as well as studying for your degree part-time. Your learning will be made up of a combination of online seminars that take place outside of office hours as well as occasional sessions on campus where you can meet face-to-face with your peers and our academics.

Study time is structured to fit around your job with us, and as your employer we're committed to ensure your work and study commitments work hand-in-hand.

To Apply: 

1) Please make sure your CV is up to date.

2) Please make sure you know your predicated A-Level Grades


Which Resort / Attraction will I be working at? 

When you apply for the programme you will be able to list your 1st and 2nd choice. The Resorts and Attractions you can choose from will be released before the application start date. Please check back for more info. 

Which University will I be studying at 2 days per term?

For this apprenticeship we are partnering with Aston University in Birmingham (Aston St, Birmingham B4 7ET). You can find their website here.

What will my job be during the programme?

During the programme you will have the aim to move into a Team Leader position within 6 months. Depending on the Resort / Attraction you work at, you may be working as a Host, within the restaurant or hotel,  in customer service, or in admissions. You may also have the opportunity to work in different departments.

What careers will a Chartered Management Apprenticeship Degree open up for me? 

This apprenticeship could help you gain a management position in many industries, including entertainment & leisure.

This course will also put you in great stead to develop your career with us! In fact you may be able to pursue these career paths with Merlin:

  • Restaurant Manager 
  • Rides and Attractions Manager 
  • Admissions Supervisor 
  • Guest Relations Supervisor 
  • Retail Manager 

In the long term there are a lot of opportunities to develop your career with us across our exciting attractions and support functions. 

If I've already got a degree, can I apply for this programme?

This course is designed for people wanting to learn about chartered management. so if you have a similar degree already then this course isn't for you. However, if you have an unrelated degree, you may be able to apply. 

How much will I be paid? 

Most apprenticeships pay a standard hourly rate of £4.30 in the first year. However, we feel that if you're doing a full-time job you deserve to be paid as much as your colleagues. So we'll pay the standard employee wage for the Resort you're working at (this will vary depending on where you're working.) 

My question hasn't been answered here. Who can I contact? 

You can contact