JOIN the 750,000 young guns climbing the career ladder as apprentices.
National Apprenticeship Week begins on Monday, with thousands of firms offering earn-as-you-learn opportunities.
Today and next Friday, we will showcase thousands of roles — and reveal how to bag your dream job.
The Association of Accounting Technicians found half of employers now prefer to hire apprentices with practical experience over university graduates. Just 24 per cent still favour degree holders.
An apprenticeship can let you study for professional qualifications up to degree level without racking up big debts. You also get years of valuable work experience.
Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers — 46 per cent are taken by people aged 25 or over, some by folk in their fifties or sixties looking to retrain, and more than half by women.
The health, business, engineering, retail and construction sectors all have lots of apprentices.
But courses now cover almost any work you can think of, from fashion, to space tech or pet care. Level-2 apprenticeships are equivalent to five GCSEs, level 5 is like a standard degree and level 7 equates to a master’s degree.
Four in every five apprentices go into work or further training — and salary data shows that taking an apprenticeship can boost your earning potential.
Find National Apprenticeship Week events happening near you at nawevents.co.uk/
THE Co-op is one of the country’s biggest apprenticeship providers, with 1,000 on offer this year – and one of the more unusual schemes is in funeral care.
Jennifer Plews, 19, joined The Co-op Funeralcare in Kendal, Cumbria, as she wanted a role caring for others.
She says: “I assumed I’d need years of experience. But that’s not the case.
“As an apprentice, I get on-the-job training and I support families through what can be the hardest time of their lives. I never knew a job could be so rewarding.’’
Lloyd Thomas, The Co-op’s group apprenticeship manager, says: “Since we relaunched our apprenticeship programme in 2011, thousands of Co-op colleagues have begun their working life with us or opened a new chapter in their careers.
“By building up our apprenticeship programme, we’re not only teaching the skills we need as a business, we’re also creating a pipeline of talent that will operate at every level of the business.”
Why it’s right for you
CONSIDERING an apprenticeship? Jennifer Coupland of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, has five reasons why you should.
- You get paid to learn. Every apprenticeship has a salary. You do a job and learn skills in the process, training to the same high standards as college or university.
- Gain vital experience. Many employers value this as much as qualifications and you also gainr valuable time to learn on the job. If you start at the same time as a university pal, you come out with the same level of qualification plus three or four years’ work experience.
- They are relevant because employers designed them. Firms including Sky, Balfour Beatty, Jaguar Land Rover and Microsoft set the standards.
- They are for everyone, with 500-plus available, from GCSE-equivalents to degree-level. They are also available for adults who want to change career or reskill later in life.
- You can train for all kinds of roles. Not just plumbing or construction or carpentry. Try nursing, teaching, accountancy, digital design, the law and lots more. One more thing: Training is paid for, so no huge debts.
THE Automobile Association has 24 customer service opportunities up for grabs in Newcastle and Cheadle, Greater Manchester.
Find out more at theaacareers.co.uk.
Find that cloud 9
HUNTING down a computing apprenticeship is easy PC.
IBM is offering 120 roles in 11 areas, including test engineering, digital and technology solutions, junior management consultant and even a chartered business management degree apprenticeship.
The courses vary from 18 months to four years.
IBM’s Jenny Taylor called the firm “a great place for school leavers to kickstart their career”.
Those interested should apply at ibm.co/school_leavers by February 14.
Meanwhile at At Brighton-based software firm Cloud9 Insight, the firm has apprenticeship vacancies for IT support roles.
Apply at cloud9insight.com/about-apprenticeships/.
KITCHEN and bathroom firm Kohler Mira needs six apprentices in engineering and business roles.
Apply by February 12 at mirashowers.co.uk/earlycareers.
Follow the money
BANK on a new career. Barclays is hiring 150 apprentices this year, including in technology and operations.
Claire Findlay, head of apprenticeships, said: “These offer a great opportunity to earn while you learn, and invest in your development while giving you recognised qualifications”. Details at joinus.barclays/eme/apprenticeships.
SAY cheers to a new start. Pub chain Mitchells & Butlers is taking on 545 level-2 apprentices for chef, bar and waiting work, and hospitality management, plus 46 level-3 apprentices in supervisory roles.
Jan Smallbone, director of talent development, said: “Our best apprentices are up for a challenge and are team players.”