How to choose an apprenticeship that’s right for you

Apprenticeships have long been a popular route for young people to take after finishing school or college. Apprenticeships allow students to learn a trade while working and earning some money, which sounds perfect!

Choosing the right apprenticeship can be a bit trickier, especially for those who have a wide range of interests that they would like to explore professionally. Choosing the right apprenticeship is, however, the key to completing it successfully; you don’t want to get halfway through, only to find yourself stuck working in an environment that you no longer enjoy.

Below is a brief guide to help you in making the right decision when it comes to choosing an apprenticeship.

Choosing the right level

This is probably the easiest of all the choices you will have to make. This part of the process is simply about establishing what level you are in the area you want to apprentice in. It is fine to have no previous experience for most apprenticeships; if any grade requirements exist, these will vary depending on the course.

The first level is known as an intermediate apprenticeship. This is the level that those who have less than 5 A*-C GCSE’s will want. It is possible, in some cases, that if you have 5 A* – C GCSE’s then you can skip the intermediate stage and go straight to the second stage: an advanced apprenticeship.

Similarly, students who have already earned an A-Level or two can skip ahead to the higher apprenticeship level. Completing a higher apprenticeship opens up the path to a degree apprenticeship. Completing an apprenticeship at this level is the equivalent of earning an undergraduate or master’s degree.

However, for many students, the advanced level is as far as they need to go to start working in their chosen field.

Choosing the type of apprenticeship

This is a harder decision to make: the type of apprenticeship is the skill or subject that you will be apprenticing in. Remember, the subject you choose needs to be one that you aren’t just interested in but are capable of working in and sustaining an interest in for the duration of the apprenticeship. There are a number of places you can look at to find out what apprenticeships are available near you. For example, you can check out these apprenticeship options from City & Guilds.

If there are several different options that you are considering, then you can try this Career Test which will suggest suitable industry sectors, depending on how you respond to questions. The test will aim to find something that suits your personality as well as your skills and qualifications.

Don’t just rely on a test though. Put some thought into it yourself. Some people will have a very good idea of what they want to do and may have known for some time. The range of industries you can apprentice for means that there is something available to suit any interest and any skillset.

Choosing an employer

Once you’ve decided what type of apprenticeship you want to do and what level you will be doing it at, then it is time to start looking at options for employers. This choice will be just as difficult as choosing the type of apprenticeship you want to do and you will need to put just as much thought into it and research the pay and working environment as much as you can.

Big employers will have more extensive apprenticeships programmes and will often hire many students at once. Smaller employers and independent businesses, on the other hand, will tend to hire only one or two apprentices at a time.

Choosing an apprenticeship can be a daunting task. Fortunately, finding information is as easy as a Google search and there are plenty of places online where you can read about other people’s experiences.