Let’s assume you have explored you career options and have come to the decision that an apprenticeship is the right path forward for you. That’s the easy bit over! So where do you start?
There are several considerations to work through but doing your research and understanding what apprenticeships can offer is time well spent. Let’s look at some things you need to know more about.
The Type of Apprenticeship
There are a wide range of apprenticeships with over 1500 job roles in diverse industries such as aerospace, engineering, health and social care to becoming a vet or an accountant.
Your career pathway is an important decision and you might already know what career and industry sector you are interested in. This is a great start and you can now focus on researching further into this. If you have no idea, then the best starting point is to understand yourself better – what things you are interested in and perhaps what you do well in at school or in the job you currently have.
You will also have to consider that you will be studying as well as doing a full-time job and if you haven’t already got good time management skills it may be worth exploring how you can learn this skill. Competition for an advertised apprenticeship is often quite high, as not only are there school leavers applying but also those who may work for other organisations who have some job experience and are looking to get on an apprenticeship in their preferred job.
You need to keep an open mind too! There are opportunities for apprenticeships in so many different job roles and many you may never have even considered for yourself or even knew existed.
You should also be aware that not all apprenticeships might be available in your area. Once you start your job search you will see clearer what your local area offers.
Your Career – Your Future
The type of apprenticeship goes hand in hand with your career aspirations. It might seem a tall challenge especially if you have just left school but you should give some consideration to where you see yourself in 5 years time. What job do you see yourself doing and then look at all the skills that are required for that job – or jobs that are similar.
An apprenticeship is a big stepping stone into a job that should kick start your career. For many individuals completing an apprenticeship is not the end of the study journey. Some individuals start at the lower level of apprenticeship and work their way up – others may go straight in to a higher level.
What Level of Apprenticeship Can You Start On?
There are factors that determine which level you can do your apprenticeship in. Here are some guidelines you need to consider.
Intermediate: Level 2 Entry requirements – considered equivalent to five GCSE passes
You need to be over 16 years old and show you have the ability to complete the programme. Thee are some employers who will require maths and English passes.
Advanced: Level 3 Entry requirements – considered equivalent to two A level passes.
Some industries want apprentices who have three or more GCSEs, but other employers don’t specify any formal qualifications. Some may ask for previous experience in the industry.
Higher: Level 4 and above entry requirements – considered equivalent to an HNC, a foundation degree, or the first year of an undergraduate degree.
Levels 5 and above entry requirements – considered equivalent to a full degree.
Entry requirements can include at least five GCSEs grades A – C, and Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQ/SVQ Level 3, or a BTEC National. Some will expect or require applicants to have subjects related to the particular apprenticeship.
Degree: Levels 5 to 7 – these are new and enable apprentices to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship.
Levels 5 and 6 – equivalent to a full degree.
Level 7 – equivalent to a master’s degree.
Choosing an Employer
There are literally 1000’s of employers even within the geographical area you live. Who you work for will be as important as the apprenticeship you decide on.
The size of your employer choice will vary greatly and there will be pro’s and cons to consider your decision to work with a small employer, a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) or large organisation. Will it be a public sector organisation like the NHS or a private organisation which may also be global. It will really depend on how much research you do to understand the company or it may even be that you know someone like a family member who works there.
There are some factors to consider such as if you work for a large organisation they usually have larger apprenticeship programmes with more intakes every year. The way they run their apprenticeship programme may mean they have their own training academy and everything is done by the employer. If you go to a smaller organisation you might be one a small number of apprentices or even the only one and you may have to go to a local college or training provider to study.
You should plan to research all sizes of organisations and use their websites and local job fairs are great as you can speak with the people who already work there.