A Guide to Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have never been more accessible and attractive to both employees and employers than they are in the current job market climate.  But if you’re looking for an apprenticeship where do you start and who can you go to for advice on getting on the right track?

Apprenticeships are an exciting way to make your mark in industry with some of the UK’s brightest and most innovative companies.  From Burberry to Dove to Costa Coffee and Converse shoes these are just some of the innovative companies you can join an apprenticeship scheme with.    The British Army has one of the most extensive and trusted apprenticeship schemes with about 75% of new soldiers taking part and over 5,500 completing their apprenticeship training each year.

Being an apprentice can give you an amazing edge over university graduates.  Why?  Because in the four years it takes a graduate to qualify and apply you’ve already spent four years getting to know the company and your role inside out.

So how do apprenticeships work?  Well they are just like a permanent job in that you get paid for the work you do.  The government has set a minimum wage for anyone taking part in apprenticeships.  Currently this is £2.65 per hour.

Apprenticeships can also be a route to attaining special technical certificates, such as a BTEC or City & Guilds Progression Award whilst giving you the benefits of being paid to train and earn your own money. In many circumstances, an apprentice can essentially be paid to progress their way through Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, and Level 5 of the NVQ.

The majority of apprenticeships involve learning a trade skill through manual labour, manufacturing or creative industries – you will find them very hands roles that will require a knowledge for working with complex machinery or apparatus specific to that job role.

If you’re looking for where to start in applying for an apprenticeship visit your local council website as they have sections dedicated to apprenticeships and getting started.  The National Apprenticeship Service website has a wealth of information to get you started (http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/) and covers all the valuable information such as getting paid, holiday entitlement and even a search option to help you find the right apprenticeship scheme for you.

You can also use social media to help you in your search for an apprenticeship. Employers are realising the benefits of social media to reach new employees and through the web you can find companies in your desired field, and connect with them directly to find out about apprenticeship opportunities.

There are a number of useful resources to be found on Twitter. Head-hunters, government labour organizations, large corporations, and job placement agencies all use social media to advertise positions and job vacancies.

Worth a follow is the account @apprenticeships which is the British government’s official apprenticeship program account, and the @millionextra account for City & Guilds Million Extra Apprenticeships drive who both post opportunities and info daily.

Facebook is another great tool for finding information about employers and apprenticeship programs one of the most regularly updated profiles to check out is http://www.facebook.com/apprenticeships




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