bigstock-Apprenticeship-Cocept--30654770 Why Choose an Apprenticeship?

For some careers apprenticeships are an excellent alternative to university as they give you the opportunity to,gain recognised qualifications, work experience,  employability skills, build useful industry contacts  and earn a salary.

If you’re concerned about the costs involved in going to university and the issue of graduate unemployment then this is an option you should consider. 6th form students should see apprenticeships as a real alternative to going to university.

You should be looking at either an Advanced Apprenticeship which, although the same level as A levels (level 3), will broaden your knowledge, skills & experience or you could look at Higher Apprenticeships which are level 4 & equal to 2 years of a degree.

There is planning for an additional 2,300 Higher Apprenticeships by May 2015. There are developments with professional bodies to link Higher Apprenticeships  to entry to some professions eg: accountancy, banking and engineering. All vacancies will be advertised on the National Apprenticeship website.

Below is a list of the occupational areas that may offer apprenticeship opportunities-

Agriculture, horticulture and animal care

Arts, media and publishing

Business administration and law

Construction, planning and the built environment

Education and training

Engineering and manufacturing technologies

Health, public services and care

Information and communication technologies

Leisure, travel and tourism

Retail and commercial enterprise

How Does It Work?

Apprentices are either employed directly by an employer or through a training provider who will link you to a company looking for an Apprentice. Usually there is an induction period to help you to settle in then you would be working alongside other employees and be trained while you work You’ll also be attending either a college , training centre or possibly even a university for further training and to help you to gain your qualifications. This could either be on a day release basis where you work for 4 days and spend one day a week at college or block release where every few weeks you’ll spend a week at college.

After 6th form you would either be looking at-

* Advanced Apprenticeship – NVQ level 3 =  2 A levels

* Higher Apprenticeship – NVQ level 4 =  HND / Foundation degree

Entry Requirements

This will depend on the Apprenticeship level you’re applying for as well as the type of work you want to do. For Advanced Apprenticeships you will usually need some good GCSE’s or another level 2 qualification and for Higher Apprenticeships you may need a level 3 qualification such as A levels or a BTEC National diploma.

What Qualifications Could I Get?

NVQ’s – On an Apprenticeship you usually work towards NVQ’s (National Vocational Qualifications). There are different levels depending on the Apprenticeship you’re doing.

Other Qualifications – for some jobs you may need other specific certificates such as Health and Safety or First Aid. You may also need to do some Key Skills that will help you to develop skills that employers look for such as English, Maths, team work, communication skills and IT.

Where Can It Lead?

In most cases you will become a permanent employee with your company or you might decide to look for another job for promotion or to broaden your experience.

How / When Do I Apply?

Although Apprenticeships are advertised all year round, for school / college leavers the majority of employers / training organisations recruit from November to July. This is when you’ll see most vacancies advertised.

Most companies who run their own Apprenticeships will usually advertise from the Spring term onwards but some companies such as Jaguar Land Rover advertise their vacancies from Oct / Nov the year before!

You can either wait for the vacancy to appear on the Apprenticeship website or be proactive and look on their company website to find out if and when they’ll be recruiting.


Infographic below taken from Guardian Careers

Infographic: is an apprenticeship right for you?

 To find out all about Apprenticeships & to search for vacancies, visit the National Apprenticeship website at  To search you usually need to register first (it’s free) and then look under ‘Search for Vacancies’. See also the Year 13 blog for news of opportunities and the  Useful Websites section for other Apprenticeship related websites and guides.