How do I choose an apprenticeship?
It sounds obvious but don’t jump straight into an apprenticeship – remember, this will be something that takes up at least a year of your life!
First of all you’ll want to ensure you’re choosing the correct level of apprenticeship. If you’re starting from scratch you can take the first level, which is intermediate. However, if you already have five A* to C grade GCSEs you may wish to skip this level and apply for an advanced level apprenticeship. Equally if you’ve already got two A Level passes you may wish to consider a higher apprenticeship, but bear in mind these are far less common than the advanced apprenticeship. For an idea of what a higher apprenticeship is like, check out CIMA who provide the first ever higher level apprenticeship in management accounting.
Choosing an apprenticeship might be tough if you don’t know exactly what career you want to go into. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our section on choosing a career. You might be restricted in choice anyway, depending on whether you need to remain in your local area, and what your experience is. Competition for places can be tough so being able to demonstrate some kind of interest and/or commitment to the job is essential. Think about the future career prospects a particular apprenticeship will give you, too. Perhaps you might consider a growing industry, like the environment or IT, with the vision that more jobs may be available in the future, or maybe focus on areas with a skills shortage, such as engineering. Bear in mind that it’s an investment of your own time into your future, just like a degree would be!
Remember that apprenticeships are generally quite practical too, so think about your potential workplace. Are you more hands-on? Would you prefer something more desk-based? The employer may influence your decision too, so decide whether you’d like to work for a big company or somewhere more small and local. Of course, larger companies are likely to employ a number of apprentices at a time and have a bigger apprenticeship programme with higher wages. They are also likely to put together all the off-the-job training into big blocks, whereas smaller companies might make you go to college one or two days per week, and you work for them the rest of the week. Consider too that competition is likely to be higher for larger companies.
If you’ve considered all those things, then it’s time to get applying and see how you do! Make sure you check out our tips for interviews and CVs when applying too. And now check out our jobs board for apprenticeships! There are loads to choose from and all the details you need are right there, so click below when you’re ready.