By Donna Sutton, Careers Coach

As a Career Coach in a college, I hear more and more students talk about the opportunity to secure an apprenticeship to achieve their dream career.

An apprenticeship is a great way to continue learning, and gain hands on experience while working alongside staff with lots of experience. You have the opportunity to develop job specific skills and knowledge, while earning a wage.

Apprenticeships range from level 2 all the way up to degree level 6 and 7 and there are entry requirements just like other education routes. A good foundation of GCSEs shows a potential employer your versatility and capability. English and maths are particularly important with most entry requirements looking for grade 4 or higher in these subjects.

There may be some opportunities where it is possible to start with grade 3 but you must be prepared to study maths and English as part of the apprenticeship to improve your grades to 4 or higher.

Sounds an ideal way to gain a higher qualification, while working doesn’t it? So where do I start to search for an apprenticeship?

Researching apprenticeships

It’s in the subheading RESEARCH. When you start thinking about apprenticeships, it’s really important that you do your research. The more research you do about your career the better and it’s never too early to start searching for the apprenticeship you want. So, what are you waiting for?

For a great place to start searching take a look at The National Apprenticeship website: You’ll be able to read stories about real people who decided that this was the best pathway to their career, find out about the benefits and create an account to allow you to search and apply for that dream apprenticeship.

If there is a particular industry or company that you want to work for, have a look on their websites in their careers or work with us sections. While researching an apprenticeship, take a good look at the day-to-day duties you’ll be expected to do, those important skills that you’ll need to have and most importantly the entry requirements.

Once you’re sure that you’ll match the job description – apply, but make sure that your application stands out from other applicants. These vacancies are very competitive and you need to take a pro-active approach when trying to secure one.

The waiting game

It’s not as simple as applying for an apprenticeship getting an interview and starting work. The apprenticeship application could be a lengthy process depending on the level you’ve applied for.

Don’t feel that your application has been dismissed, the employer will be looking for that one applicant that stands out from the others. If you’ve applied for a higher or degree apprenticeship there will be lots of different stages, which could include psychometric testing, telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews and other challenges before you’re offered the apprenticeship.

For more information on higher and degree apprenticeships, take a look at the guide from amazing apprenticeships: Higher_and_degree_apprenticeship_fact_sheet.

As National Apprenticeship Week approaches from 8– 14 February 2021, this is a great time to shout out about and celebrate apprenticeships. It showcases how employers have helped people of all backgrounds to achieve their careers through hands on experience.

Here’s the link to look at what this week means to some people: national-apprenticeship-week-2021.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship week 2021, UCAS is currently sharing webinars for students to engage with employers and apprentices. Here’s where to find these links and register to take part: discover-apprenticeships.

Help to find the right career path

So, to summarise, apprenticeships are exciting and an engaging way to learn and achieve that dream career. Parents, guardians, teachers and advisers can all help to support you to find the best option.

Higher and degree apprenticeships are an alternative option to becoming a full-time university undergraduate.

Other useful websites with apprenticeship information are: ucas apprenticeships, notgoingtouni and rate my apprenticeship.

So what are you waiting for? Start your research and find that perfect opportunity. Good luck!

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