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The benefits of apprenticeships, both to employer and apprentices, have become increasingly prominent with recent reports in the press suggesting that even doctors could soon be qualifying after completing an apprenticeship rather than undergoing traditional medical degrees. Other apprenticeships are already well-established; law apprenticeships, for example, have been widely available across a range of law firms for many years, with The Law Society setting out the pre-requisite entry requirements to gain an apprenticeship position. Competition for quality apprenticeships is fierce, at Interview Skills Clinic provide apprenticeship interview coaching to help you succeed. Additionally, we can help you write your CV and application.

With an estimated 28,000 apprenticeships across more than 1,500 roles, Which summarises that “apprenticeships are giving the traditional university route a serious run for its money”, and should be given serious consideration by anyone either embarking on their career, or considering a change in career.

This article explores how apprenticeships work, whether they may be right for you, and if so, where you can find out more about them.

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What Is An Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a form of training for a trade or profession where the apprentice receives on-the-job training around 80% of the time, with the remaining time allocated to studying the theory behind the work; the apprentice receives a salary during their training. There are generally no exams to complete, but there are regular assessments so that the apprentice can demonstrate their learning and understanding during the course of their training.

On completing the apprenticeship, the apprentice will have gained skills, knowledge, and qualifications where appropriate, to progress further in their chosen career. The main advantage, therefore, is that the apprentice is learning whilst earning, gaining practical and relevant work experience. As the government covers the cost of training, the apprentice avoids having to pay tuition fees or taking out student loans.

Apprenticeships are available at four levels (intermediate apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships), each offering a different level of qualification and lasting between two to six years; see here for more information. Apprenticeships are suitable for anyone, from school leavers or graduates, to those wanting to change or develop their careers.

Training is of a high standard and carefully regulated, with only providers on the register of apprenticeship training providers able to deliver the training. Whilst trainers are subject to regular Ofsted inspections, there are clear benefits of the apprenticeship scheme for them too. These include receiving government funding for training each apprentice (additional government support was put in place for employers who hired an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021 in order to kickstart the nation’s economic recovery); saving on the costs of recruitment, as apprenticeships can be given to existing staff who are wanting to up-skill; and developing high calibre staff to add value to the organisation whilst securing the best new talent.

Pros and Cons of Apprenticeship
There are thousands of different apprenticeship schemes, so if you’re considering one, think carefully whether this is the right one for you; you’ll be doing a full-time working week along with studies in your chosen field, for between two and six years, so you need to remain focussed throughout by making sure that it’ll be something that you’ll enjoy. If you like getting stuck into the practical side of work, are good at organising your time and being self-motivated, and aren’t bothered about missing out on the student experience, then an apprenticeship may be the way ahead for you. If you’re torn between university and apprenticeship, why not apply for both to keep your options open a little longer?

Importantly, if you change your mind after you start an apprenticeship, you won’t be asked to pay back any fees, but you may be left stranded without a qualification despite possibly completing a substantial amount of work. The UCAS website provides some useful information.

Finding An Apprenticeship
Whilst all university places are listed on UCAS, there is no organisation that holds details of all available apprenticeships, but here are some sites to look at for ideas and inspiration:

  • The government’s site lists thousands of apprenticeships, with filters to search based on location, level and/or keywords; another government site also provides free help and support on the advice line number 0800 0151 400 along with a search function.
  • The UCAS site has listings of available apprenticeships in a range of specialisms including Agriculture & Animal Care, Catering, IT, Marketing and Operations.
  • Find out more about, and apply for, Civil Service and NHS apprenticeships on their websites; these apprenticeships have the added benefit of a government-backed pension scheme.
  • Notgoingtouni lists hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities with employers like IBM, Jaguar Land Rover and Sky. Similarly, getmyfirstjob has hundreds of advertised apprenticeships with companies of varying sizes, as does findapprenticeships.
  • If you know the career path you want to follow, search to see if relevant employers offer apprenticeships. For example, details of accountancy apprenticeships can be found on Wikijobs , and include apprenticeships with the “Big Four” accountancy firms, EY, Deloitte, PwC, and KPMG. TfL and the army both have apprenticeship opportunities, as does the Dyson Institute .
    Ratemyapprenticeship not only advertises a range of apprenticeships, but shares reviews of both apprenticeship schemes and employers.

If you’re interested in an apprenticeship with a company, why not call them and ask if they would consider creating one? You may be alerting them to a missed opportunity, particularly if they’ve had previous similar enquiries.

There are thousands of opportunities. Good luck with your application from all at Interview Skills Clinic.
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