An apprenticeship can be a great stepping-stone in your career. Whether it is your first move into employment through a Level 3 course, or completing your education through a master’s apprenticeship, you can’t go wrong gaining experience and a wage whilst you learn.

Although the potential for gains are enormous, they often take longer to complete than the equivalent qualification in a full-time study environment. Therefore, an essential step in applying is to research the apprenticeship beforehand to make sure you are making the right decision.

Apprenticeships have been standardised to improve their quality and consistency. Those which have been agreed and released are known as apprenticeship standards.

There are now so many choices out there spanning across a variety of industries, and new apprenticeship standards are being developed and released every month.

Who can apply?

Anyone with the right to work in the UK who is 16 or over can apply for an apprenticeship. However, there are some restrictions on which apprenticeships you can apply for, especially if you already have a qualification in the same field.

For more details on whether you are eligible for a particular apprenticeship, visit our page on who can start an apprenticeship.

Finding the right level

You don’t have to have a preceding qualification in that field to do an apprenticeship. This means you can apply for whichever level is right for you, decided by the training provider.

However, if for example you only have level 2 or 3 qualifications and are applying for a level 6 or 7 qualification, it is unlikely that the employer will see you as being capable.

For more information on finding the right level of apprenticeship for you, visit our page on the types of apprenticeships.

Finding the right apprenticeship

Here is a useful tool which details all the apprenticeship standards. It is largely aimed at employers, so you can ignore some of the information about the training providers and funding bands. However, it includes all the skills and content of the apprenticeship you will be undertaking.

It is good to remember that you will still be spending up to 80% of your time with an employer, so finding the right company for you is just as important as the training itself in the apprenticeship.

Sometimes it’s best to work backwards. Find the Career Paths section on our sister-site Developing a Student. This website is aimed at assisting graduates enter a career after university, so this section has lots of information on roles within different sectors.

By seeing where you may want to end up, you can figure out what types of skills and experience you need to develop. In turn, you can see which apprenticeship suits you best, so you can reach your future potential.

Applying for an apprenticeship

Once you have found the right apprenticeship standard for you, it is time to find the actual apprenticeship itself.

However, before you search, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Apprenticeship applications are just like job applications

This means you are likely to miss out on a few apprenticeships before you get accepted. Don’t lose heart, the key to success is perseverance!

For tips and guidance on applying, visit our apprentice’s document library for essential tools to help you succeed.

2. Keep what you want in mind

It is unlikely that you will find the right employer providing the exact apprenticeship you want right away. If you do decide to look for apprenticeships other than the one you have selected, keep in mind why you chose it.

An apprenticeship is a big commitment, so don’t apply for an apprenticeship just because it’s available. As long as you are still getting what you want out of the apprenticeship – then go for it!

With nearly half of all experienced professionals in the UK considering switching careers because they jumped into the wrong at an early age, it’s better to take some time now to get it right than having to switch further down the line!

Now you’re ready to search and apply for an apprenticeship!

Currently, the best place to visit is the government website.