Many clients talk to me about wanting to change career but have concerns over how to do that. They worry a lack of qualifications (and/or skills/knowledge) in the relevant sector, will mean they can’t get into that field. A good option if you are in this boat, might be to complete an Apprenticeship. Contrary to popular belief, these are not just for young people and as National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, it feels only fitting that I should share some ‘top tips’ for potential Adult Apprentices.
1) Do your research
There is a lot of misinformation out there on what Apprenticeships actually are, so choose your sources carefully. The best place to start is with the government apprenticeship website. Essentially, Apprenticeships are an opportunity to learn ‘on the job’ with a more ‘formal’ training element which results in the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification, whilst gaining work experience and getting paid for that work. If you are an adult with another, even higher level, qualifications, that is fine as long as it is in a different area of study. Which is why this makes a great option for adults looking to change career.
You may also find this guide of use as a general introduction:
2) Know what you want
Part of doing your research should entail looking at what specifically you want to study. The Government’s A-Z list of all available types lists out all options and at 6 pages long, that should tell you something about the many options available! Apprenticeships are not just for plumbers and electricians, there is everything from Fashion to Project Management to IT roles to Paramedics....the list goes on.
There are also a range of levels of apprenticeship which you might like to consider and UCAS has a great article detailing more on what these are. The level you study will influence what you get paid and this will be something to consider carefully and know your worth. Apprenticeships are not always the greatest salaries as they are essentially trainee roles but they provide opportunity in the form of development and qualifications. And many companies do actually pay and treat apprentices well, which is something to explore at interview stage.
3) Useful websites
The website above is one way of searching for apprenticeships but don’t be fooled into thinking it is the only one. All the usual job search websites such as Indeed, Reed, Monster, TotalJobs etc all offer apprenticeship vacancies. You can also look on sector specific websites such as JobsGoPublic if you’re looking to move into the public sector for example.
Looking for an Apprenticeship is just like looking for any other role, so apply all the usual tactics to your job hunt, such as making use of your network. Approach friends and family, old colleagues and associates and let them know you are on the hunt for a suitable Apprenticeship. Make use of networking sites like LinkedIn - with millions of people using it every day, it is a great place to research, network and build your online personal brand and presence as an apprentice in waiting.
5) Speculative Approaches
As well as looking at job sites, it is also important to look directly on company websites too. Think about the sorts of organisations you’d like to work for and do your research. Larger organisations in particular don’t always advertise on search sites like Indeed and even if they are not advertising anything right now, you can also contact them directly with a speculative application. Likewise, talk to training providers who are delivering the Apprenticeship you are interested in and ask for their help in finding a role.