With so many options for post-16 education, it’s difficult to know where to start. This week is National Apprenticeship Week 2019, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to research into apprenticeships, read about what they are, and learn how they can help you start your career in your chosen industry. 

Now is the perfect time to start an apprenticeship. With hundreds of companies reporting a worrying skills shortage among current employees, this is the ideal opportunity to become an apprentice, hone your skills and learn on the job. Half of UK employers can’t find the skilled workers they need, so getting started on your apprenticeship journey will meant that you learn valuable, transferrable skills that will make you stand out from the crowd! 

Apprenticeships, as with all post-16 education options, have both pros and cons, and it’s very important that you think about all of your options. As a starting point, here are our four key advantages of undertaking an apprenticeship. 

1. Gain experience and a qualification 

Apprenticeships are developed using structured training schemes. Therefore, apprentices learn in a way that allows them to work towards achieving a recognised qualification while still gaining excellent experience on the job. Apprentices can then take the skills and knowledge they learn into future job roles as they will have a fantastic, transferrable skillset. 

2. Earn while you learn 

Many apprenticeship schemes offer good hourly rates in top companies, which means apprentices can benefit from a monthly wage while learning and working towards a qualification. What’s more, apprentices don’t have to worry about any student loans or debts!

3. Apprenticeships in any sector 

Thanks to apprenticeships becoming more and more popular, you can now get apprenticeships in almost any sector! With more than 400 types of apprenticeships available, apprentices can work in so many different industries. Whether you’re interested in media, agriculture, engineering or construction, there will be an apprenticeship tailored to your interests and chosen industry. 

4. Develop key skills 

Apprentices not only develop personal skills but also practical skills during their apprenticeships. This is because they’re working directly in the workplace. Therefore, you can gain more valuable on-the-job experience than another student who doesn’t have any work experience, for example. Most apprenticeship learning is done on the job and by working alongside experienced employees during your apprenticeship, you’ll be learning directly from people in the industry who have lots of experience and knowledge.  

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you’ll have vast experience of the industry, a qualification, a great set of transferrable skills and may even have made some contacts within the industry. Keeping in touch with these contacts and networking is a great way of finding out about future job opportunities once your apprenticeship has come to an end. 

If you’re interested in apprenticeships and want to know more, do some further research online, read up on apprentice case studies and speak to as many apprentices as you can about their experiences. A good place to start is by visiting the government’s apprenticeship advice website, which is tailored around National Apprenticeship Week. Also take a look at The Apprenticeship Guide, which has lots of helpful resources, and they advertise current vacancies, too. You can also use the hashtag #NationalApprenticeshipWeek to start your search online.