I’m sure you’ve already heard a million times that in order to start your carer you need a combination of experience and qualifications. And although most people tend to follow the traditional path that takes them from school to university to unpaid internships and, finally, to unemployment/employment, there’s another way to go: apprenticeships. Apprenticeships essentially allow you to train on the job, learn and earn a wage.
To find an apprenticeship you need to take a close look at your personal interests and goals for the future. Apprenticeships require dedication and usually take between one to four years to complete which means that they are no walk in the park. Many prestigious companies offer this type of training programmes and you can build a successful career through these schemes.
To help you get started we’ve put together a list of the six methods you can go through to find an apprenticeship:
1. The National Apprenticeship Service
The NAS, which is part of the Skills Funding Agency, is responsible for supporting, funding and coordinating the delivery of apprenticeships throughout England.
Their website currently features more than 19,000 available vacancies in the country across all industry sectors.
You can search for vacancies either by a job title or employer you’re interested in. You can also search using your location and distance level from where you live. While, if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, there’s an option to browse through vacancies in various industries.
Each vacancy includes all the relevant information, including weekly wages, start dates and entry requirements.
If you’re based outside of England, follow the links below to find opportunities in:
2. Contact Employers Directly
Many large organisations across the UK, as well as small businesses, start-up companies, local councils and health authorities, are always on the lookout for the right apprentice as they are always considered an asset to a company. The problem often is that many employers fail to understand the importance of training and as such, provide little opportunities for skill development. It’s best to avoid companies like this because they’ll do little for your career progression.
As an aspiring apprentice your goal should be to find a company that will provide you with the right training as this is essential to building a successful career.
Some of the top employers include:
Jaguar Land Rover
Lloyds Banking Group
This is just a selection of the employers that offer apprenticeships. It doesn’t mean that other employers are not just as good. What we always advice apprentices is to make a list of the companies they’d be interested to work for and then go through their websites to find any available vacancies.
Keep in mind that speculative applying can also be beneficial as many employers could use a spare set of hands, even if they don’t always admit that they do.
3. Use Social Media
According to recent studies, a whopping number of recruiters now hire via social media channels and this means that a lot of positions never get advertised on job boards or other websites. This means that taking your job search on social media can significantly boost your chances of finding an apprenticeship.
The good news is that searching for an apprenticeship on social media is very simple and it can be very effective, while it can also be less time-consuming than other means of job search.
The best channels to look for apprenticeships include:
- Twitter: Follow @apprenticeships, the government’s official apprenticeship programme, and @MillionExtra, the official account for the City & Guilds Million Extra drive for news, information and the latest vacancies. Also, make sure to follow relevant hashtags like #getingofar and #apprenticeships.
- Facebook: Search for groups dedicated to local job placements, and don’t forget to follow company pages to learn more about what they do and any relevant vacancies.
- LinkedIn: Join groups and follow blogs that post industry news relevant to your chosen apprenticeship. Make sure to participate in discussions as well as make valuable connections with professionals and influencers in your target industry.
Ensure that your social media profiles support your professional brand, not weaken it. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Use a professional profile picture. Make sure it’s a recent photo of you in which you are easily recognisable.
- Delete any potentially damaging photos or posts. Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report 2016 found that 47 per cent of UK recruiters view photos of alcohol consumption negatively, as do they marijuana use (71 per cent).
- Activate your privacy settings; restrict access to ‘Friends only’.
- Ensure you have a professional looking Linkedin profile
4. Attend an Apprenticeships Fair
Job fairs are filled with employers looking to recruit school leavers and career starters into their apprenticeship programmes. It’s therefore essential that you attend as many as you can, especially at the beginning of your career.
Of course, it’s not just a matter of attending. To find an apprenticeship you need to prepare in advance for the fairs. Pick a professional looking outfit, print out copies of your CV, do your research on employers participating and find your unique selling point to help employers understand how they could benefit from hiring you.
As apprenticeships fairs are attended by an overwhelming number of people, you need to ensure that you stand out as much as possible. You want to make a lasting impression and this means that you need to be well-prepared and ask on-point questions.
Look out for dates for the National Apprenticeship Show, a fair that hosts over 100 employers and showcases opportunities to thousands of aspiring apprentices.
5. Check Your Local Jobs Centre
Although jobs centres have taken the back seat now that job searching is literally at the tip of our fingers, it remains a very effective method to find a job. This is especially true for apprenticeships as many small and medium businesses looking for staff are very likely to contact them.
People working at jobcentres are also very experienced and they can give you lots of useful tips that can help you with both your job search and your career in general.
Visit your local Jobcentre Plus office and speak to an adviser for more information as well as advice and current vacancies. Use the local office search to find your nearest branch.
6. Search Online
Ultimately, the best way to find an apprenticeship is by taking the search in your hands and going through job boards and career websites.
In fact, searching online can yield dozens of opportunities that match your needs and this is why online job search should always be an indispensible aspect of starting your career.
Here are a few websites that can help you:
- GetMyFirstJob: With tens of thousands of vacancies every months, Get My First Job is a great place to start looking for a job. This website will connect you with employers and training providers to ensure that you’ll be able to make the most of your career.
- Apprentice Employment Agency: This website is designed to help employers expand their talent pools and grow their businesses. It also features a designated apprentice section which lists vacancies from the company’s clients.
Apprenticeships can be a great way to kick-start your career as they will allow you to become experienced and skill, while earning a wage.
Do you have any tips on how to find an apprenticeship? Let me know in the comment section below.