Searching for a new job, whether it’s your first or you’re just fancying a change, can be quite daunting, especially if you’re not sure what it is that you want to do. Apprenticeships are massively varied – there are more than 617 types that you can get stuck into, with hundreds of different employers. That means it’s important you do some research to find the best opportunity suited to your goals.
There are a few things that you may want to consider first when searching for an apprenticeship, from the industry you’d like to join to the level you can complete. So, we’ve put together some tips to get you thinking so you can feel supported at every step of the way.
Which Industry is best?
If an apprenticeship will be your first job, you might be a bit lost as to what industry is the best fit for you. As we spend most of our adult lives at work, choosing the right industry to suit our needs is important. Making sure you explore all options before deciding on a certain apprenticeship is crucial.
Whether you prefer to be hands-on in practical roles, working outside at one with nature, acting behind the scenes to ensure success, or if you love interacting with others every day, there’s something out there for everyone. Get stuck into an industry that you know will hold your interest.
Job satisfaction is as important as how much money you might earn, it’s important to feel fulfilled in your career. If you have a passion for hair and makeup, a beauty therapist apprenticeship might be the perfect match for you. Or if you love cooking up a storm for friends and family, a chef apprenticeship could be a great fit.
When looking at industries it’s also important to consider their growth – an industry like Tech will only expand in the next few years which could mean more lucrative opportunities if that’s what you’re after. You can find out more about each industry here.
Which level of apprenticeship should I do?
The next important step is to consider which level of apprenticeship is the best fit for your needs. Apprenticeships can range anywhere from a Level 2, the equivalent of GCSEs to a Level 7, the equivalent to a master’s degree; there’s truly something for everyone!
Your current qualifications determine which apprenticeships you can be eligible for. You could work your way through them or start from whichever level you’re qualified for already. If you’re still wondering what qualifications you’ll exactly gain with each, in a nutshell:
Level 2 – the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at 9 to 4 (or A* - C on the old grading scale)
Level 3 – the equivalent to 2 good A-Level passes
Level 4 – the equivalent to an HNC, CertHE, Level 4 NVQ, BTEC, or first year of university
Level 5 – the equivalent to a DipHE, HND, Level 5 NVQ, Level 5 BTEC, foundation degree, or second year of university
Level 6 – the equivalent to a BA or BSc Degree, Graduate Certificate, Level 6 NVQ, or Level 6 BTEC
Level 7 – the equivalent to a Meng, MA, MSc, Level 7 NVQ, PGCSE, or Postgraduate Certificate
So, if you’re just about to leave school a Level 2 apprenticeship will likely be the best option for you. But if you’ve got some A Levels under your belt a Level 4 or 6 apprenticeship could be perfect to keep advancing into a higher qualification. Or, if you’re wanting a change in career path, starting from a lower level could be a great way to set some foundations for your new profession. You can see more about the levels of apprenticeships here.
What Employers offer apprenticeships?
Once you’ve decided on the level of apprenticeship, it’s important to consider what employers offer the course. Apprenticeships are found across the board in big international businesses, small and family-run places, or central Government departments in Whitehall. Your experience and skills development will be designed to meet both your needs and theirs.
As a potential employee, think about where you’d like to work – there are loads of factors to consider. Some are practical. Where are they based? How much do they pay? You may focus on things like the size of the organisation, the company culture, and any future opportunities to move up the career ladder. Give it a bit of careful thought and make the right choice for you.
Speak to previous apprentices by networking on sites such as LinkedIn or checking out our awesome Ambassador stories to see what your daily life as an apprentice would be like. You can find a company’s values in their ‘About Us’ section on their website, this is a great way to get a sense of what they stand for and could offer. We also have information about our very own GetMyFirstJob Apprenticeship Partners here.
Do I need Work Experience?
This is not an essential part of applying to an apprenticeship. With many apprenticeships, especially those at a lower level, you won’t be expected to have loads of past work experience. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be quite useful in the apprenticeship search.
If you’re still not sure about what role or industry is best for you, getting some work experience can help you make your decision by learning about what a full-time career in it could be like. If you don’t enjoy your time in work experience, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! You can now direct your search elsewhere and find something better.
Getting some work experience under your belt can be an advantage if you’re considering a higher level of apprenticeship, like a Level 6 or 7. Most employers consider your experience in an application, even for apprenticeships, so it can be essential to getting a role in the more competitive schemes. Whether you have great qualifications or not, it’s a fantastic way to support your application.
Where should I look?
We have some good news… you’re already in the best spot! You can find plenty of excellent apprenticeship roles right here on GetMyFirstJob. Just take a few short minutes to sign up to get started on your apprenticeship journey.
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