Continuing our theme of apprenticeships this week, we’re going to look today at where – and when – you can find one …

An apprenticeship is a paid job combined with relevant training and qualifications. It means that whilst you work for an employer, a training company or college works with you to help you get a nationally recognised qualification.

Start by looking for advertised vacancies

Ideally, you need to be looking for Vacancies. These are advertised where the employer and training provider have got together to create a paid job which has training and qualifications attached – i.e. an apprenticeship. Think of it as a triangle: the employer, the training provider and the apprentice. The term ‘vacancy’ is important because it means that you are all that is required to complete the triangle and start the advertised apprenticeship.

The main alternatives

The two most likely alternatives to finding a Vacancy may require some additional work on your part.

If you find a training provider offering apprenticeship qualifications in your chosen career, they may expect you to find an employer willing to join the apprenticeship ‘triangle’. Most likely, the trainer will have contacts with businesses that have previously employed an apprentice. However, they work with employers all the time to ensure that as many as possible have vacancies with their training attached so if a relevant vacancy isn’t advertised already, you’ll most likely be having to do some work to find someone willing to hire you.

Equally, if you find an employer willing to take you on as an apprentice, but without qualifications attached, you will need to find a training provider in a relevant career sector to be able to start your apprenticeship. This may be relatively straightforward if the employer has hired an apprentice in the past and therefore already has contacts with a local college or training company.

And there’s something else – training providers rarely offer training in every career sector. Instead, most specialise in particular sectors – such as IT or construction – and, like employers, they are not all of equal reputation. So, whether you need to find an employer or a training provider, there will be additional work for you to do before you can start your apprenticeship – unless you can find the perfect advertised vacancy.

So where are apprenticeship vacancies advertised?

Vacancies with the larger employers – such as the corporate engineering and finance companies – are listed on their own websites, and sometimes on the national apprenticeship vacancy website(s). Type in the name of an employer that you’d like to work for and search under a suitable heading such as early careers or apprenticeships. They often also refer to them as school leaver programmes.

Another good starting point could be the websites of the training providers as they are increasingly listing vacancies. However, you will only find jobs where the training is delivered by that particular college or training company. This means it can help to know which training providers offer apprenticeships in your chosen career sector before you start.

The Government’s Find an Apprenticeship website is the main ‘job’s board’ where most apprenticeship vacancies will be advertised nationally. The simple search boxes allow you to use keywords, postcodes and town names to search the vacancies, even filtering under the different apprenticeship levels as well. Not every vacancy is listed, but certainly most should be on this site.

And of course, we are proud to signpost you to live apprenticeship vacancies listed under the relevant career sectors on Careersnearhere. As an independent website, Careersnearhere works with all training companies and employers. And the vacancies are all in a BS or BA postcode area so you don’t have far to travel.

Careersnearhere also links direct to the websites of training providers who advertise their own vacancies and relevant training courses in your chosen career sector, so it can save you time searching to find them. And we post imminent closing dates every week in a bulletin to schools and colleges with a summary on Facebook @helping16to21s, as well as individual vacancies on other social media.

When are apprenticeship vacancies advertised?

Whereas UCAS has a structured timetable throughout the year, apprenticeship vacancies are advertised at different times depending on the employer, the sector, the level of qualification and whether you will need your summer exam results before you can start. Each has an individual closing date which can be extended when a position is not filled.

There are however ‘seasons’ for certain career sectors for many of the larger organisations including some of the finance, business and engineering positions. And these highly competitive positions will be typically advertised in the winter and spring, when you might otherwise be considering Uni.

Many of the colleges also start their apprenticeship training in September and so a lot of level 2 and 3 apprenticeships will be advertised to start then. With each vacancy having a 4-8 week advertising window, you should find quite a few being announced after your exams. At Careersnearhere, we monitor these and can keep you posted with adverts, blogs and more throughout the year.

And finally ..

In recent blogs we’ve covered what an apprenticeship is, how it differs to a regular paid job (e.g. it can be an alternative to full-time education after GCSEs and/or A-levels), and an overview of the different levels (right up to the new degree apprenticeships). There’ll be more on all of that in future articles.

Careersnearhere: It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started!

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