Apprenticeships and School Leaver Schemes are some of the most diverse and interesting work-based training opportunities available in the UK today. However, finding a vacancy isn’t always easy. Apprenticeships vary from Level 2 through to Level 3 as well as Higher Apprenticeships at Level 4 and newer Degree Apprenticeships… School Leaver Schemes sometimes consist of an apprenticeship component but frequently involve training devised by the company. These are usually aimed at sixth-form and college leavers with Level 3 qualifications often needed for entry.
Knowing where to look to find vacancies and building a strategy which works for you is important. This is because setting a series of goals which feel unachievable can put a barrier up before you even start. In addition being open to opportunities can sometimes widen the chances of finding an opportunity. For example if you were interested in general construction, perhaps considering an apprenticeship in carpentry would also suit you.
In terms of listings we have the national providers of apprenticeship vacancies (such as Not Going to Uni and Apprenticeships) but finding your local vacancy listings can increase your chance of success. To find these, contact local colleges to see if they hold any vacancies in their career centres. Also search for training providers or specialist vacancy listings which may advertise in some or all parts of a county. For example in Kent we have Kent Training and Apprenticeships and job boards, such as that run by the Kent Messenger, which provide specialist vacancy listings. These should be checked regularly for vacancies. If you have difficulty finding these for your area, contact your nearest professional careers service.
Larger companies advertise on their own careers websites and can take some searching to find, but can offer rewarding opportunities. An example of this is the Tesco’s School Leavers Scheme for junior management
Another strategy to use is networking via social media. For example; putting a carefully worded post on a website such as Facebook may result in a “friend of a friend” contacting you with an opportunity. A number of students in my schools have found opportunities this way.
Our final strategy is networking in the traditional sense. Try contacting employers with a CV in person by arranging to see the manager of the business you are targeting. In this way they get to see you, giving you a greater chance of making a positive first impression. To make sure you get this opportunity to see the manager, phone in advance to arrange an appointment. If they are unable to offer you an apprenticeship, consider asking for work experience or a volunteering opportunity instead. Such work experience can be invaluable. It may result either in an apprenticeship in the long run or provide further material to add to your CV to help you in your search.
CXK provides confidential and impartial careers information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work opportunities. If you’re a young person looking for support, or a parent looking for careers advice for your young person, visit our Careers Advice for Young People page.
The National Careers Service provides free, up to date, impartial information, advice and guidance on careers, skills and the labour market in England to anyone aged 13 and upwards.
To speak to a National Careers Service adviser, call 0800 100 900 or use our webchat (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week)