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Apprenticeships (level 2 & 3 only)

So, you’re thinking about doing an apprenticeship? Finding an apprenticeship
How do apprenticeships work? To do list
What you need Useful links
  marcr.net – CV writing   marcr.net – Interviewing
marcr.net – Employment section


If you’re not ready for an apprenticeship but you would like to learn ‘on the job’, or if you don’t have the right grades for an apprenticeship yet; have a look at Traineeships.


So, you’re thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

These are some of the things you need to think about:

  • You need to be ready to go to work. Do you have experience already? If so that will increase your chances but it will also increase the chance that you have made the right decision.
  • You need to know what apprenticeship you are looking for… ideally. It’s also possible to see what kind of apprenticeships are out there and then to make a choice. There is a risk that you then can’t or haven’t thought about what it is like enough and that you’ll get into an apprenticeship you don’t like.
  • So always do enough research and thinking before you decide. It’s not as comfortable to drop out of an apprenticeship and you can’t just ask to switch, like you can do in the first couple of weeks of a college course.
  • Your preferred learning style is more practical. Apprenticeships are ‘straight into a job’ even though employers are generally more flexible with apprentices. Don’t worry, a job is nothing to worry about, but your boss will need to know you’re up to the job.
  • Not everyone will find one. Especially now, it’s important to think about, and plan for, what you would do if you don’t find a placement. It happens! Be prepared! Also, if you’re not 18 yet you can’t officially just go for a job instead. A lot of people apply for a backup college course in exactly the same thing they want to do an apprenticeship in. this is normally a one year college course during which you will gain knowledge and skills, increasing your chances of finding an apprenticeship the year after, possibly an advanced apprenticeship as well, so you won’t have wasted your time.
  • It doesn’t earn you much money… to start with. Think about it; it’s great to earn money, but other jobs which aren’t apprenticeships will give you more of it. So it’s attractive. Well, it’s important to think again. You’re earning not a tremendous amount in an apprenticeship because your boss is investing in you with their time and money. You are investing in yourself as well, by learning a set of skills that will earn you potentially a lot more later. So in the end it’s financially worth it.

It’s best to explore what you want to do an apprenticeship in and not to make assumptions. you can do this on the following links:

How do apprenticeships work?

Some repetition, because it’s important: you need to find a placement. You can apply to college for an apprenticeship but unlike college courses, you’re not ‘in’ yet until you have one. Once you have a placement, normally your employer will get in touch with a college or other learning provider and set up the apprenticeship. You normally don’t need to do anything yourself, but if you’re stuck, please come and talk to me in school or ask the employer to contact a learning provider or local college.

Do you know your employer can get a financial boost to help cover part of the cost to train you? This could be something mention or show them to help them say yes to an apprenticeship and to you! Ask them to have a look on www.gov.uk/employing-an-apprentice/get-funding.

Did I mentioned a backup! It’s a really, really good idea to get one. You may thank yourself for applying for one later and if you find a placement, you can always cancel.


What you need:

  • A good idea of what you want to do an apprenticeship in
  • A good CV [add link to CV page and booklet]
  • Confidence to talk to employers and go for an interview
  • Interviewing skills [add link to interviewing prep page]
  • A good backup
  • Internet access
  • A decent email address to use for your applications

If you’re not ready to start an apprenticeship but you feel that on the job learning is more for you, then you could explore a traineeship.

Finding an apprenticeship

It would be essential to find a placement as soon as possible after Christmas in your last year in school as other people are looking for placements as well!! A placement is a key part of an apprenticeship, so you have to find one or fall back on your backup. No placement, no apprenticeship!

Unless you are 100% sure you have your placement and your contract is signed, then you don’t have a placement yet. Think about, plan and apply for a backup to be safe! You can always start an apprenticeship the year after, which means you have more chance because you have more experience, for instance by doing a one year college course in the same subject!

You can do the following to maximise your chances of finding a placement:

  • If you did work experience in year 10 or without school’s involvement, then that could be the first place to go and ask if you would like to work there and if it’s the kind of apprenticeship you’re looking for. They know you and they will more likely to say yes. If they can’t take you on, please don’t take it personally. It’s most of the time because of other reasons. And… while you’re talking to them, ask if you could use them as a reference for your CV!
  • On http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/ or https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/apprentices where you can also register. Click on ‘Find an apprenticeship’ > click on the green ‘Search’ button and then you can enter what you are looking for.
    • If you’re not sure what you are looking for, or you just want to see what’s there, leave the ‘Keywords’ box blank.
    • In the ‘Within’ box always double the mileage you think would be a good idea. It’s easier to say that something is too far than to apply for something that’s not shown because you kept the mileage for the search too low.
    • On the results page, before you do anything else, go to the bottom and select ’50 per page’. You’ll be clicking forever otherwise.
  • You will be able to find addresses for potential employers on www.yell.com or by entering the kind of business you want to do an apprenticeship in and your location on google. You can then either:
    • Contact these employers direct – have your CV ready! and
    • Look on their website for any apprenticeships they have available.
  • Through friends and family – let everyone know you are looking and what you are looking for!
  • For some careers there are alternative searches you can do:
  • In the local papers, Job centre, On the web…
  • By contacting local training providers – not all apprenticeships are run through a college.


It’s important to do all of these at the same time!! Don’t try one or apply to one and wait to hear back. If you get several offers you can choose where you want to do your apprenticeship.


Let’s talk money and qualifications

While doing an apprenticeship you will get:

  • A minimum of £4.30 an hour (updated for and correct for 2021 and until April 2022), including time spent on training, but this could be more, which depends on your employer.
  • A minimum of 20 WORKING days off per year. This does not include bank holidays and weekends if you would normally get weekends off

For qualifications you will get:

  • An NVQ or City and Guilds qualification. Sometimes a BTEC
  • Any professional qualification you need for your work, such as health and safety etc…


To do list

You need to be ready with these by Christmas in your last year in school, so you can start applying straight after Christmas at the latest!

  • Think about what you would like to do an apprenticeship in and explore! You can be flexible if useful, but this is a job already so you need to make sure you are going to like what you apply for.
  • Write a good CV
  • Look for, plan and apply for a backup – which often is a college course in the same subject
  • Register on the apprenticeship website
  • Look through the vacancies and apply for any you like
  • At the same time:
    • Start contacting employers
    • Let people know you’re looking for an apprenticeship and what you are looking for
    • Have a look at college websites (see below) and apply to colleges you can get to, so you get their vacancies
    • Visit local employers with your CV (ideally adapt your CV to each employer if you can – look on their website, see what they’re all about and try to match what they are looking for in the best way you can)
    • Follow up with the other ways of finding a vacancy above.

Useful links:

For exploring ideas:

General apprenticeship links:

Local colleges in alphabetical order: