Is an Apprenticeship Right For Me?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Whether you’re 16 or 36, the prospect of starting on a new career path can be daunting. There are a multitude of options that you can take from going to university, partaking in technical education like an apprenticeship, or jumping right into a job role.

One avenue that is often misunderstood and overlooked by jobseekers, but increasingly valued by employers and the government, is starting an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships have evolved massively over recent years and, even though they still offer great avenues for lower-qualified occupations, they now offer routes to acquiring all kinds of qualifications, even including master’s degrees.

For a jobseeker, becoming an apprentice means setting off on your new career with no debt, a regular wage and all the training you need to fit the needs of the business. Although it can feel like doing an apprenticeship is delaying getting the qualifications you want, with an apprenticeship you are only taught the skills that you actually need to work in the field. With industry moving faster than ever, there are always new skills that businesses need and by doing an apprenticeship you’ll be one of the first to learn them. Even if you don’t manage to stay on in a job role with the company, you will be better prepared to find another job in the field than someone who was learning from a set curriculum and has little experience in the job market.

To help you figure out if an apprenticeship is right for you, we have compiled the 5 essential questions to ask yourself before you start an apprenticeship:

Do I Want to Be Paid While I Learn?

Unlike other education avenues, an apprenticeship provides a full and regular wage for every hour of work you do, including your time spent learning. Although for some apprenticeships this can mean a slightly lower wage, often businesses will recognise your learning as an investment into your future potential and how the skills you learn will fill the skill gap in their business.

Do I Want a Good Chance at a Job When I’ve Finished Learning?

A business or organisation creates an apprenticeship because they have a job role that needs to be filled. This means that 91% of the time successful completion of the apprenticeship leads to the offer of a permanent job. Although a job is not guaranteed, it usually only not offered due to the job role being made redundant.

In addition to this, up to 80% of your course will be spent putting the skills you have learnt to the test in a real working environment. This will give you invaluable work experience that some other educational avenues do not offer, and will set you up with the confidence to take on any future role you choose to pursue in the field.

Do I Want No Risk in My First Career Step?

One of the greatest bonuses for apprenticeships is that they hold no risk for the apprentice; you can quit at any time with no costs attached. This means that if you find the role or field isn’t quite right for you, you can simply leave and try something else. This is a world apart from going to university, in which you incur a lifelong debt from the very first day you start.

For more information, visit our page on Leaving an Apprenticeship.

Do I Want a Real Qualification in as Little as a Year?

A lot of students leave half-way through their degree after realising it’s not right for them and have absolutely nothing to show for the work they have done apart from a heap of debt. Not only do you gain invaluable work experience from an apprenticeship, but you can gain a real qualification to show to future employers in as little as a year.

Do I Want Constant Support?

Because the apprenticeship is sponsored by a business that will want you to work for them at the end of the course, and you will be trained by a provider whose entire reputation is based on your success, it is in everyone’s interest to make sure you get the best help that you need.

With the government recognising how vital apprenticeships are to the future of the UK economy, they have also invested in a multitude of schemes and support systems if you ever need any external assistance. If you are interested in such support, you should go to our Find Help In Your Area page.

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Last Updated: Tuesday February 14 2023
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