If you have absolutely no idea what to pursue as a career option, or don’t have the skills and experience in your dream job, the job search process can be extremely overwhelming. Making choices about whether you should go to university, pick a particular field, or even what kind of job to take could be a total landmine.

If you could relate to the above examples, apprenticeships may be your best bet!

On this occasion of National Apprenticeship Week, we have curated a complete guide to apprenticeships to help you navigate this career option.

What Is An Apprenticeship?

The modern apprenticeship is considered a viable option to university because of its accessibility, flexibility and convenience to both young people and employers.

Lasting a minimum of 12 months, apprenticeships combine hands-on work with the opportunity to train and obtain qualifications. They’re also paid positions, so you earn while you learn. Additionally, at least 20% of your time is set aside for learning, usually at a college, university or with a training provider. Some apprenticeships, especially those at higher or degree level, can last between four to six years. This is because apprentices balance studying and working full-time at the same time, so it can take a bit longer to complete than the traditional route.

But they’re not all theory either! With apprenticeships, you spend the rest of your time applying your knowledge and skills in the actual workplace, doing the job that you set out to get. At the end of it, you’ll gain official certification, which will be equivalent to traditional qualifications. Apprenticeships also cover 1,500 job roles in a wide range of industries, from engineering to accountancy, public relations to veterinary nursing. You will be treated just like all other employees, with work responsibilities, a contract of employment, a salary and holiday leave.

An apprenticeship can take two to four years to complete and is usually made up of three parts – all completed on the job, online, or in a classroom.

While most people under 18 cannot access professional jobs, they can still access apprenticeship opportunities, as long as they’re 16 or over. There is no upper age limit, so we are seeing more and more individuals start their career, change career, or return to the workplace as an apprentice.

Apprenticeships Levels Are Set and Equivalent to:

· 2 (Intermediate): GCSEs

· 3 (Advanced): A-levels

· 4 (Higher): foundation degree

· 5 (Higher): foundation degree/first year of bachelor’s degree

· 6 (Degree): bachelor’s degree

· 7 (Degree): master’s degree

To Start An Apprenticeship, You Need to Be:

• Aged 16 or over

• Living in England

• Not in full-time education

Let’s Talk Wages

As an apprentice, you’ll earn a wage. The current minimum wage rate for an under 19 apprentice is £4.15 per hour. The national minimum wage is currently set at £6.45 for 18- to-20-year-olds, £8.20 for 21- to 24-year-olds and £8.72 for those aged 25 and over. While these are minimum rates, most employers pay a lot more and pay their apprentices competitive salaries.

What’s In It For Me

With apprenticeships, you get to explore potential career options with both theory and practical knowledge and experience in the field. You also get to:

  • Earn a real wage;
  • Be trained in the skills employers want
  • Set yourself up for the future – apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their training, and those completing a higher apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.

Where Can You Find One

You could reach out to companies or organisations that you are particularly interested in to enquire about whether they have any apprenticeship programmes or would like to start any with you.

Other options include online platforms dedicated to available apprenticeships such as:

The greatest benefit of an apprenticeship is that you will be part of a company that is invested in your future. You have the opportunity to forge a career within that company and rise through their ranks. As you complete a level, you can progress to the next one, or change pathway and embark on a new route to achievement. For example, you could start at a company as an Administrator doing Business Admin and move into the Recruitment team and then enroll on a Recruitment Apprenticeship. The options are endless as long as you are able to demonstrate evidence of meeting the criteria within the required standard.

For free 1:1 consultation on how to write your apprenticeship applications, CVs and cover letters, find opportunities not advertised elsewhere, or to develop your skills and employability further, reach out to our expert, Alice McGill (alice.mcgill@yes-ltd.org.uk).

We’re here to help and support you as you navigate these career trajectories during these difficult times. Check out our Careers and Employment services to see how we’ve helped hundreds of young people find their dream jobs!

Good luck!