Apprenticeships for school leavers

Finishing school can be scary, you’ve spent years studying and getting ready for the real world – but where do you start? There are many options, some people apply to university and others start apprenticeships. If university isn’t for you, an apprenticeship is a great way of starting off your career, gaining experience and a qualification whilst earning some money at the same time. 

First, you need to think of the type of apprenticeship that you would like to go into. This is crucial, it’s your chance to pick the field that you are best suited to and the field that excites you the most. Here is a list of possible fields that you could go into depending on your interests:

  • Healthcare, animal care, social care, education

With healthcare, you could search for apprenticeships with the NHS, armed forces or your local authorities. Also, try to see what there is to offer at your local doctors’ surgery, pharmacy or hospital. However, if you prefer to work with animals, you could look for apprenticeships in your local veterinary practice, get involved with wildlife management projects or even look for positions related to animal and environmental care.

Or maybe your passion lies with working with people. There are several areas that you could get involved with, for example, teaching. If you yearn to bestow your knowledge onto others and help shape the future, possible positions include classroom assistant, learning and development officer or a specialist trainer. Other apprenticeships with people include working with your local council, you could enquire about working with social services and other public health sectors. 

  • Creative, media, arts, publishing, fashion, music

So, you have a creative streak within you, whether you enjoy drawing, keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends, playing instruments or even if you like television programmes, the possibilities are endless. Let’s say that you have a creative and a technical side, you could be perfect working within media, areas such as graphic design, tv production, camera work or publicity. With media also comes other topics of interest, you could look into theatre production and design, acting, music marketing or artist management? 

Of course, the most common apprenticeship for fashion lovers is a hair and beauty one, however, there are other ones that you could look into and they’re just as interesting. How about looking into possibilities like interior design, personal shopping assistance, nail art, becoming a professional masseuse or physiotherapist or even retail? 

  • Business, accounting, admin, law

Although the salary might start off a little lower than you would like, working in these areas is particularly useful if you want to get onto the corporate ladder early – and don’t forget, you can work your way up and get yourself into more desirable positions. If you have the knack for it and you enjoy working with numbers why not try accounting or insurance? If you possess numerical and communicational skills, you could go into administration, or into roles that work closely with people, such as human resources, marketing and customer services. Law is also a popular field for the people that have great communication skills, you could find placements at any of your local law firms or with the council. 

Other possible sectors for apprenticeships are engineering, tourism, construction, transport, hospitality, etc. The list really is endless, the important thing is finding out what interests you and what your skills are most suited to be doing. 

Now, don’t worry too much, employers will understand that you have just finished school and that you don’t have much experience in the world of work. However, you can make yourself stand out from other students by doing a few things that aren’t related to working, but will interest and entice employers…

  • Volunteering & fundraising
  • Reading books related to your topic of interest
  • Attending lectures/talks related to your field
  • Build up a portfolio for yourself (if this is something that would be useful for your field)
  • Pick up a new hobby/skill that can be transferrable to a workplace, for example, learning a language, public speaking or exercising. 

It’s difficult to pick just one field to go into, however, if you take some time to think about what you want to do, you will find the perfect apprenticeship. The important thing is that apprenticeships offer you an insight to the real world and they provide wonderful opportunities for students that have little experience. All-in-all, if you don’t want to go to university for whatever reason – an apprenticeship is a very smart move. 

Post by Anika Tazmin

Anika is a 4th year student at the University of Nottingham.