A decent apprenticeship will prepare you for the working world, by teaching you on-the-job skills generally coupled with some form of classroom-based learning and theory. There is also the fact that, rather than paying tuition fees, all of your training will be paid for and you will even receive a wage. The fact that many apprentices go straight into relevant work is also a huge plus point for this particular career path, as compared to many graduates who struggle to find (relevant) employment after leaving university. Nor is it the case that apprenticeships are just about manual work and trades such as plumbing or construction. Of course, these type of apprenticeships are available, but there has also been a marked increase in the number of ‘white collar’ apprenticeships that are available – even meaning that in some instances university is not the only route into certain careers. While all of these things are good news for apprentices, there is another positive point when it comes to opting to take an apprenticeship – the people!
Coming at a variety of levels (you can find out about apprenticeship levels here), an apprenticeship isn’t just about learning skills. It can also be a superb opportunity to network in an industry you are interested in working in. With a great many people finding work through people they know, getting the chance to meet people in an industry you are interested in is not to be taken lightly.
You should get the chance for some ‘apprenticeship networking’ – meeting people within the company you are working for. These may be supervisors, managers, or even a company CEO – but getting the chance to talk with, learn from, and even impress is not one to be taken lightly.
While they may or may not be able to directly help your career, they will be able to provide you with some interesting insights into your chosen career, show you a few ‘tricks of the trade,’ and advise you on how you can progress your career. Of course, if you impress enough you may even land a permanent job or, if not, be put in touch with a contact who can offer you work!
It is not just those already working in the industry who could be of use either. You may be surrounded by other apprentices in a similar position. Making new friends, you can help each other through your training and again, some of these fellow apprentices could turn into great contacts for finding work later. By meeting up with your fellow apprentices you may gain access to their own network of contacts.
Learning from people who are doing the job right now is certainly a better way of preparing for a career than just reading over old theories, but these people can also offer a new network of contacts to draw upon. Rather than applying for work cold, you have a chance to impress those with some real sway in your chosen career – why would you pass that up?
Of course, to do an apprenticeship, it helps if you know what you want out of it at the end – and that means having some sort of career goal. Don’t worry if you are not sure just yet – there is plenty of career inspiration available.
Alternatively, you can just look through the available apprenticeships and see if any take your fancy. But remember, it’s not just about a qualification – this is a real chance to make some connections for life.