The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive rift in the way the modern world works, especially when it comes to finding employment. In the 3 months to November 2020, the unemployment rate in the UK rose to 5%, the highest in 4 years. Looking at those figures 5% may not seem much, but that equates to over 1.7m now out of employment.
The hardest hit areas are within the customer service sectors including catering, retail, hospitality and entertainment; with the hardest hit ages between 16 – 35. It’s hard to know what to do and how to get back into work, but there are more ways than ever to find employment, and it may be in ways that you never realised; apprenticeships being one of them.
Below are a number of questions that will be on your mind regarding the apprenticeship scheme. We’ve taken the time to answer them and give you some insight as to how an apprenticeship could be the route for you.
Aren’t apprenticeships for school leavers?
Not anymore, apprenticeships can be suitable for any number of professions, ages, locations and skills. Whether you have experience from education, work or even none at all, employers look for an apprentice with the right passion and transferable skills that can be brought into that sector.
Can I apply for an apprenticeship?
As long as you have been a resident in the UK for 12 months (if from the EU) or 3 years (outside the EU), you can apply for an apprenticeship. The youngest an apprentice can be is 16, otherwise there is no age limit. Many employers will require that you have certain qualifications; mainly that you have either GCSEs or Functional Skills in Maths and English for Level 3. There are certain areas where the employer will prefer or need someone with past experience in that sector. Any information in regard to experience, skills and/or qualifications will be on job descriptions.
What are transferable skills?
No matter your work experience, you gain what’s called transferable skills. These are the skills that you can take into any form a work and utilise them in the best way possible. For example:
- Communication with customers, clients or team member
- Telephone and email experience
- IT skills – Microsoft, online systems
However, if you do apply for apprenticeships be sure that your skills suite the job role. If you are unsure as to what transferable skills you have, start by making a list. Write down your strengths, skills (from work, hobbies or education), duties and responsibilities in previous work experience and write them down. Then when it comes to looking at positions, you will have a better understanding if you will be right for that role.
I’ve worked in my profession for some time, how can an apprenticeship help me?
Many who have been made redundant may want to stay in that profession, so it is understandable to be wary of going down the apprenticeship route. Even though you may have insight and experience in that area, there is still a lot you can learn. Yet if you are looking to move into another profession, an apprenticeship will give you the tools, skills and experience you need. There are more apprenticeships available than ever before, so there is ample opportunity to continue learning and progress.
What areas can I do an apprenticeship in?
Currently there are almost 600 apprenticeship standards across England, meaning that finding an apprenticeship is easier than ever. Some will be more niche than others, but the most common routes are Health and Social work, Business Administration, Law/Accounting, Construction and engineering. Yet areas such as Digital Marketing and IT/Software are becoming more prominent in the digital age. If you are someone with more team leader or management experience, apprenticeships in those areas are also available.
Apprenticeships start from Level 2 (GCSE) and range up to the highest of Level 7 (Degree), with the most common being Level 3 (A-Level) and 4 (Foundation).
Can I afford an apprenticeship?
There are no fees to pay during your time as an apprentice, meaning that you save money while training. However, you will need to take into consideration if being on an apprenticeship wage is financially viable. Depending on the level apprenticeship you apply for, you can start at the wage of £4.15 hour (for Level 2, 3, 4) equating to £700 monthly. Some employers can pay over the minimum but that is dependent on them. Though the starting wage is lower than full time positions, your rate of pay does increase leading up to minimum working wage after 12 months.
How will an apprenticeship be completed if not in the workplace?
With the advances in communication many apprenticeships can now be completed online, though it does depend on the course you are completing. If an apprenticeship is more labour intensive, they will still be within the workplace. Once signed up to an apprenticeship you are paired with a tutor from a training provider who is there to guide you through the course. Usually they would visit you in the workplace, but now everything is done via video call platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. All work and updates are uploaded to on online portal, so everything can be accessed easily.
I’ve decided to look for an apprenticeship, where should I start?
First of all figure out what you want to do, continue in the same industry or start anew? If you are looking to start anew, be sure that you are applying for the right positions. Take into consideration your transferable skills and experience; someone with customer service and office experience would be more suited to business administration than IT Infrastructure or engineering.
Location is another important factor. Whether you drive or commute via public transport, look at positions that are under 1 hour journey. This isn’t just for the employers, but for yourself too. Travelling can take a toll if having to commute far distances daily, so be sure that you are able to commute. This will also save you money in travel expenses, free up time for yourself and ensure that you arrive to work on time.
Where are the best places to search for apprenticeships?
Job boards such as Indeed, Total Jobs, Reed, Google Jobs and Facebook are great places to start. If looking on different boards becomes stressful or confusing, there are apprenticeship recruiters who are more than happy to help. We at 360 Apprenticeships specialise in recruiting for the apprenticeship sector, from finding CVs to offering advice and guidance. Finding an apprenticeship shouldn’t be stressful, which is why apprenticeship agencies are the best stress-free routes.
It’s been some time since I updated my CV, what can I do to make sure it’s suitable?
At 360 Apprenticeships we have a page dedicated to making your CV as strong as possible. So that your CV will be seen by employers, things to take into consideration include:
- Keep descriptions short – make valid strong points without writing an essay
- Show your strengths – whether it be skills, experience or even hobbies/interests
- Make sure it is tailored to the profession you are applying for
- Only have the previous roles that are relevant – Employers don’t need to see every position you have had, only the ones that will suite the position
- Try and keep it to a max of 2 pages – as stated they don’t need an essay
What happens once I finish an apprenticeship?
The great thing about apprenticeships is that you can be offered a full-time position once you have completed. A stigma around apprenticeships is employers get rid once you have finished, but that is not the case. Employers take on apprentices to become part of the team; they’ve invested their time in you, so suddenly getting rid of the apprentice wouldn’t be right. Apprentices can also be promoted while completing their course, so there are more opportunities than ever. Yet if you decide that you don’t want to stay after the apprenticeship, that is fine too.
Over the last few years apprenticeships have become a highly reliable and successful way to build your skills and gain a nationally recognised qualification. No longer are apprenticeships aimed at school leavers or non-graduates, this is a route that can become suitable for anyone no matter your age or skill set. Though there is uncertainty of the financial and working climate, apprenticeships are still going strong with employers continuously looking for someone to join their team.
How 360 Apprenticeships can help
Whether you are looking to an apprentice or start your apprenticeship journey, 360 Apprenticeships can help. We provide a free service from first point of contact to the successful placement of each apprentice. Every apprentice who is successful will only be placed with the best training providers (Graded 1 and/or 2 by Ofsted) so you know that everyone is in safe hands.
You can find out more regarding the apprenticeship scheme on our website. To speak to one of our recruiters directly, you can contact us on:
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