Apprenticeship advice for students

Susan Burke

Susan is currently Head of Careers in a high achieving, independent school in Merseyside.

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If you have students who are interested in the work/study route, you may want to provide them with the following apprenticeships advice.

* Getting an apprenticeship is not an easy option. You will need to plan ahead - research is key. Don’t expect college or training providers to find your students a placement. In fact, colleges or training providers will happily recruit but not necessarily find work placement, so it really is important your students are proactive and willing to complete their own research.

* There are different levels of apprenticeships available and entry requirements will differ accordingly.

* Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industry sectors, with employers from large national companies like BT and HSBC to smaller local companies. In fact you may be surprised to know that there are a number of new apprenticeships now available such as becoming a pilot.

* Students who are interested in the apprenticeship route need a strong work ethic because it combines work with study. They are likely to require a reference from school.

Apprenticeships cover a wide range of industries, such as hospitality, agriculture, veterinary nursing, rail engineering, sport, vehicle repair, fashion, financial services, IT and much more. Please follow the link below to check out the full list of over 250 types of apprenticeships below:

Useful websites

Not Going to University
They say, "Contrary to what the masses may say, university isn't the only path to success. From apprenticeships to debt-free learning, there are literally thousands of other opportunities out there."

Apprenticeship Guide
It provides information on what apprenticeships you can study, how you apply, who offers the apprenticeships schemes and more.

Where to research and apply

If you are interested in finding out more about the apprenticeship scheme, and would like to know what vacancies are available, visit:

Plan early

Some high level apprenticeships can be as difficult as gaining entry into a red-brick university, so don’t assume this is the easier option. Start planning the types of companies the student may want to work for and identify companies well in advance of leaving Year 11 or Sixth Form.

As a teacher or careers co-ordinator, you may wish to create a job club for students at lunch time and focus on the following:

  • Apply for vacancies, check weekly and apply ideally in advance of the closing date. Using the job description and person specification to tailor the application to the job.
  • Make sure students do not apply for just 1 or 2 apprenticeship. They need to apply for as many as 20 or more! Make the student aware they are going through the same selection process as any other employee, therefore there is no guarantee they will get the job.
  • Prepare for the selection process. You may want to offer mock interviews and assistance if telephone interviews are part of the process.
  • Advise students to consider 'Plan B'. What if they don’t secure an apprenticeship have they thought of further training or attending sixth form or college?

If your students are successful, they are eligible for an 'NUS Apprentice extra Card'. The Apprentice extra discount card has been developed by the National Union of Students and will offer vocational learners the same discounts and benefits as other students. It can provide discounts on a variety of essentials from more than 120 high street and online retail partners.

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