Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to earn while you learn through a combination of study, training and work. Not to be confused with an internship, an apprenticeship is a structured programme that provides real industry experience and learning while obtaining a professional qualification.
You can get on to an apprenticeship scheme with GCSE’s, A Levels, BTECH’s or equivalent qualifications. You will find that each programme has its own entry requirements and these vary vastly between industries. Due to an increase in university tuition fees and government incentives for employers, an increasing number of schemes have opened up in the past 5 years which is providing more opportunities for those starting out in a new career.
If you like the idea of earning a salary while gaining a qualification then a good place to start the apprenticeship journey is to search for industry-specific opportunities. Google is your best friend and there are sites dedicated to providing apprenticeship advice that can guide you along the right path.
When you are looking for apprenticeships, it is important to understand the entry requirements. Due to the different avenues of access for apprenticeships it can be confusing to fully understand the qualifications you need. You should visit UCAS to fully understand what your education to-date and what credits they provide for you when applying to relevant positions.
If you have a specific industry in mind then you should Google the industry name and apprenticeship fairs to see what local exhibitions are taking place. On these listing sites, you will also see some of the firms that have such a programme in place so you can use that list a start of your own research and potential application.
Not all schemes are the same so you should make sure you fully understand how much time you are given to study during your working week, the specifications of the qualification you are working towards and the salary you will be paid. It is interesting to know how many applications each place gets and of those who are accepted get offered a job after the fixed term internship.
Although the salary can be appealing, that should not be the main reason to apply to a certain apprenticeship over another. Opportunities to learn, the credibility of the qualification, the connections you make and the chance of getting a job offer after you have completed the programme will mean you earn more in the long-run.
Each company will have a different application deadline and a starting date so make sure you note these down as you find them. If you have any questions, there is no harm in contacting companies asking for more details and also to speak to speak to current/previous apprentices to hear about their experience.
Apprenticeships are a great option when considering further education and the power of the internet means that information is as easy as ever to obtain.