It means that you’ve upheld the delicate balance between work, study, and your social life – and somewhere in there, you’ve gone and bagged yourself a useful qualification. So, the first thing you should do is give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate your hard-earned achievement.
You’ll have added a valuable asset to your CV in the form of applied work experience in your chosen field (make sure you collect all of your certificates and keep them safe). You'll have met a great professional network of new friends, who will be contacts going forward. Which means you can update your CV and start applying for jobs or further education in the sector right away.
According to the latest stats from the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, 90% of apprentices are offered permanent employment either during their apprenticeship or upon graduation.
But only if that’s what you want to do. You might also decide it’s a good time to do some travelling, or just do something else for a while.
Remember that jobs can start at any time of year, so there isn’t a deadline to rush straight into employment.
Don’t be afraid to punch above your weight. Every interview is a chance to learn something, and grow in confidence, and who knows what an employer might see in you. But you owe it to yourself to be totally prepared for the interview stage.
You may have been offered a full-time position by your apprenticeship provider, and if so you should consider it as an option. But don’t feel obliged to say yes, and certainly don’t do so before weighing up your other options.
If you have any unresolved questions about what will happen next, ask your employer for guidance. As well as covering all the nuts and bolts stuff, they might have some meaningful advice for the kind of path you should be heading down.
But ultimately, the choice is yours.
The next chapter of your life is about to begin. And as ever, it helps to have a good idea of where you see yourself in the future.
Hopefully your experience as an apprentice has taught you something about what makes you tick, the things you value in your career, and the kind of work that does or doesn’t make you want to spring out of bed in the morning.
So make sure the next thing you apply for is something that’s going to make you do just that.