How to choose an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are hugely varied, so it's important to do thorough research and make sure you find the perfect apprenticeship for you. They offer a great opportunity, but it’s important to remember you’ll be starting a challenging job, while getting to grips with studying for a qualification.
You’ll be expected to achieve academically and at work, managing your time and adjusting to longer hours, with fewer holidays than school, college, or uni. You might have to travel or relocate to find the right opportunity for you.
It’s an important decision, and getting it right will kick-start your career. If you think an apprenticeship might be right for you, no matter what career path you want to follow, you need to do your research.
Key points to investigate
- What is the apprenticeship and job role – does it fit what you’re looking for?
- Find out about the employer – is it the type of company you want to work for?
- Find out about the training provider, college, or university where you could be studying.
- What qualifications, subjects, and grades are they looking for?
- What essential and desirable skills and experience do they ask for, and what qualities are they are looking for in applicants?
- For you, what are the three most and least positive aspects of this apprenticeship or job opportunity?
Check out the employer’s website for any details and information you need. Remember, you can contact the employer, university, college, or training provider, if you’re considering an apprenticeship, to ask any questions you have.
Discover which apprenticeship might suit you
Interested in an apprenticeship but not sure what you want to do? Get to know the different industries offering apprenticeships, from marketing to architecture and business management to engineering.
What to expect from an apprenticeship
Every profession has an apprenticeship standard that outlines what you'll be trained and assessed on. The real benefit is that you'll be able to apply what you learn straight away at work – and because they’ve been designed by employers, they'll be exactly what is needed to do the job. Things like key skills, behaviours, and how you’ll be assessed.
Take a look at how apprenticeships work, or search for real apprentice stories on social media, YouTube, and so on. There’s plenty out there.
Alice, Level 6 postgraduate teaching apprentice
What level apprenticeship should I apply for?
Your qualifications will determine which of the routes you’re eligible for. If you’re about to leave school at 16 years old, take a look at the intermediate and advanced routes. If you’ve got A levels or equivalent, shoot for higher or degree levels.
Find out more about the different apprenticeship levels here.
How to find the right apprentice employer
Research the following:
- Their website – if they ask "Have you looked at our website?" in an interview, you want to answer "Yes." Try to get a sense of who they are, and what their priorities are
- Progression opportunities – what happens after your apprenticeship? Is there scope to progress?
- Apprentice scheme staff – if you can find out who runs the apprenticeship scheme, try and find out more about them. Consider even contacting them to get your questions answered
- Former apprentices – see if you can find out what previous years apprentice graduates have gone on to do. Does that appeal to you?
- Location – Does the job require you to work in different locations, or would you need to move away from home?
Read our case studies to see how people like you got on in their apprenticeships.
Discover employers offering apprenticeships
Liking the sound of an apprenticeship but not sure where to begin looking? Get to know leading brands and the range of apprenticeships they offer. Everything from finance to engineering, and data analysis to project management.
Where to find apprenticeship vacancies
Each country within the UK offers its own official apprenticeship site as follows:
- England – gov.uk
- Scotland – apprenticeships.scot
- Wales – gov.wales
- Northern Ireland – nidirect.gov.uk
Sign up to Career Finder
If you think an apprenticeship could be right for you, head over to Career Finder and create an account.
You'll be able to:
- search for all apprenticeship roles
- filter by subject area, role type, location, and level of apprenticeship
- shortlist jobs
- sign up for alerts
- keep tabs on applications you've made
Or visit the Apprenticeships Zone at one of our UCAS exhibitions, where you can get the lowdown from employers and apprentices first hand. Either come with your school or college, or independently.