Think of an apprenticeship as bigger than just a job or a route to study. Because although paid tuition is the draw, the reality is a full working week with a qualification at the end of it. So, give yourself a reason to get up in the morning.

Look for the right position, the right employer, and above all the right career path for your future. Find something that lights your fire.         

What level apprenticeship should I apply for?

Your qualifications will determine which of the four 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.

Amanda's apprenticeship experience

It can be hard to work out what you want to do after school or college. Amanda chose to enrol on a level three Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeship with Resource Productions. She shares her story.

How do I choose the right profession?

Now there’s a question. For the purposes of this article, all the advice we can give is: if you’re unsure, consider a traditional route with more flexibility. Or, give yourself time to find something you can really see yourself doing. 

Jill, an employer at Nestle

Be clear on why you want this opportunity before you apply for an apprenticeship. Do it because it’s how you want to start your career – because you are curious and passionate about what your future might look like – do it for you. Understand who you are and what you want to become.

How do I know what to expect from an apprenticeship?

Firstly, take a look at how apprenticeships work. Or, prowl the internet for real apprentice stories on social media, YouTube, and so on. There’s plenty out there.

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. Standard stuff.

How do I find the right employer?

You’ll know you’ve found a good one when you’re excited to apply.

If they aren’t listed, approach them directly. Most will have apprenticeship schemes of some description. Just have your application fully prepared before you pick up the phone or hit send.

But ask not what you can do for your employer. Ask what they can do for you. Research the following (by whatever means necessary):

  • Staff welfare and morale – do their staff enjoy working there? Are they treated fairly and kept motivated?
  • Time allowed for study – do they allow ample time for your study? Is it one day a time, or in blocks?
  • Progression opportunities – what happens after your apprenticeship? Is there scope to progress?
  • Work/life balance – will you be expected to work overtime? What’s their staff culture like?
  • Promoting career progression and possible management roles – do their staff feel supported with their personal goals? Will you be?

Where can I find apprenticeship vacancies?

The National Apprenticeship Service and our own Career Finder are the best places to start.

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 just yourself. Find an exhibition near you.

See our guide to joining an apprenticeship programme.

What if I can’t find a vacancy I like?

Stay positive. These things take time, and new vacancies pop up every day. Or you might need to broaden your search – the more willing you are to relocate or delay your start date, the more options you’ll have. Don't forget, if you can't see anything that fits yet, why not contact the employers who are advertising outlining what you're looking for. You never know, it may work.

Best of luck with your search, and if in doubt – go with your gut.

Torn between university and a degree apprenticeship? Here’s something to help you choose.

Six things you didn't know about apprenticeships

  1. You won't have to pay fees.
  2. Higher and degree apprenticeships are assessed by employers.
  3. There are four different types of apprenticeship.
  4. Apprenticeships often have higher entry requirements than employment.
  5.  Apprenticeships are for all ages.
  6. You will learn the same things on an apprenticeship as at uni.

Find out more