The Apprenticeship Route

Apprenticeships have common misconceptions and apprenticeship myths that you should know about! A key point that will help with your own progression is understanding what you want to do and what can help you achieve your goals.

An apprenticeship could give you the experience you need to succeed, along with a qualification; some students may prefer lectures and assignments at university, while others learn better on the job and practically doing the work, apprenticeships offer you the best of both worlds.

Before you start your apprenticeship search, you need to make sure you find the right apprenticeship for yourself. Find an opportunity that will match your skill set and something you thoroughly enjoy.

We’ve listed a few things to consider before you delve into an application form and apply for that dream role!

What Apprenticeships are best for my career development?

This is a tricky subject, it depends person-to-person. Your interests and goals need to reflect your decision making. Do you enjoy a particular subject at school, or are you one of the best in the class? Each can be a driving force when ultimately looking for an apprenticeship.


Follow your long-term dreams and be aware of what gets you going in the morning! If you’ve got a favourite subject such as Science that you look forward to every week, have you considered Lab work or working in a Pharmaceutical company? Or even consider working for the NHS, where you help save lives on the front line.
Each role will be different with the addition of its own perks to the role over another. If you stick to roles where you particularly like the industry, it will help you to engage with, enjoy and ultimately finish the course. You may have an interest in multiple sectors, so make sure to explore them all.

Skill Set

When you undertake a role, it’s important to know that you’re an employee of the business and you will need to carry out responsibilities in a real-world environment. At the start of your apprenticeship, it's completely normal to feel nervous about the tasks ahead, as it'll all be new to you; don't worry, it's just part of the learning experience and once you've settled in and have found your feet, you'll be much more comfortable in your new surroundings.

You can draw on past experiences to help you in your new role and this may also aid the development of new skills too. For example, communication is key and involves listening, speaking and writing. If you have ever played a team sport, the chances are that you will have communicated through listening or speaking with your teammates, so remember the skills that you've learned and apply them to new situations.

Other new skills can be gained through apprenticeships, such as decision making, problem-solving and organisation skills, some of these skills you may have used at school before and some of them will be completely new to you. Analytical and research skills or leadership and management are often skills that people have never gained prior to working, so don’t think that you’re expected to know everything - you’re there to learn, so don’t be afraid to learn new skills too as it's all part of the learning and development experience!

Research – Company, Role & Location

The more research you do, the more prepared you will feel. There’s an abundance of information online when it comes to apprenticeships. You should focus on understanding the different levels and what you can possibly undertake and what you can’t.

When you focus on researching companies and sectors, make sure that you read the job description and research more than just one company. Another useful way to compare roles is to research into some apprenticeships that you have no interest in. See the differences and compare the details to apprenticeships you are interested in. This will allow you to clarify what you want to get out of an apprenticeship and what sort of details you see as a necessity. You can then refine your search and highlight the key roles that you like.

Key points to consider are:

  • Company: are they a brand you can connect with, can you see opportunities for growth, and are they a good fit in terms of the sector you’d like to work in?
  • Role: Is the role suited to your skill set, are there areas of learning and progression? Will you enjoy doing this role for 12 or 24 months?
  • Location: Is the location local or would you need to commute? Is it a reasonable travel time door-to-door that you’d be happy with?
  • Pay: Does the pay reflect personal costs i.e. does it cover your travelling,food and other essential costs to sustain living and working? How does this pay compare to a competitor or a similar role?

You’ll be the one doing the apprenticeship so make your own decisions when it comes to applying for the roles. Weigh up each opportunity equally and fairly. If you have any doubt over a job role, get in contact with the job provider/company and they will help you to answer those questions or doubts.

Despite this, there are other sources to seek advice from, such as your parents or guardians, family members or your teachers as they may be able to help with advising on the apprenticeship programmes that you could possibly apply to join or help you to focus your search.

Helpful advice & resources

When it comes to apprenticeships there are plenty of useful guides, blogs, and case studies around the life of an apprentice and general need to know content. From online student blogs such as those written by Pearson Business School to online apprenticeship job hubs such as Not Going To Uni.

If you’ve done your research and still feel stuck, it’s a good idea to possibly ask someone you’ve got a personal relationship with or someone that is very knowledgeable in the area. Friends and family, teachers or even careers advisors are a good source to help you with your decision.

Apprenticeships are a great way to not only develop yourself but also earn a salary and qualification all at the same time. Hopefully this article has helped to spark a few ideas around the possible apprenticeships you could undertake.

For your Information: Degree Apprenticeships vs Higher Apprenticeships

Want to know the difference between a higher apprenticeship and a degree apprenticeship? In both instances, the cost of education (i.e. your course fees and training) is paid for by your employer and the government. In a higher apprenticeship you'll study towards a level 4 or 5 qualification, or in some cases, a foundation degree or HND. In a degree apprenticeship, you'll study a level 6 or 7 qualification (i.e. a bachelors or masters degree). Both higher and degree apprenticeships offer the best of both worlds, combining a qualification with work experience, so you'll gain a qualification and lots of new skills and experience too.

To find out more about degree apprenticeships, visit the Pearson College London website.