It’s the UK’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) and apprentices are getting the recognition they deserve! It’s a week that shines the spotlight on apprentices and their employers, however this year’s celebrations will be particularly special, as it will highlight how the building industry’s helped out and made a difference during the pandemic.
You might think that the pandemic has meant that there aren’t any apprenticeships going ahead, but that’s where you’re wrong. Apprenticeships are very much still going ahead, and are in demand because of their many benefits. If you’re considering this career path, we’ve summarised the key things you’ll need to know before you start applying.
WHERE TO GET STARTED
You’ve decided that an apprenticeship is the best option for you, so what next? Like any other job, you’ll need to find a vacancy for an apprenticeship. Luckily, there are lots of online resources where you can search for apprenticeships in your local area. The government’s website is a great place to start, as it gives you plenty of useful apprenticeship-related information. You can also get in touch directly with any companies you’d like to work for, or check out their recruitment pages, as they may not advertise on third-party websites.
When searching for job openings, you’ll notice that the requirements will vary; some won’t need any formal qualifications, others will need some GCSEs, and some may even need a degree. Just make sure that you’re applying for apprenticeships that match your skillset and current qualifications.
APPRENTICESHIPS IN COVID TIMES
Even in the strictest of lockdowns, apprenticeships are still permitted to go ahead. Of course, like any other occupation, apprentices are encouraged to complete as much of their work at home as possible. However, if face-to-face training is essential, these can go ahead as long as the government guidelines are followed to keep everyone safe. These sessions can only take place in small numbers, following a thorough risk assessment and with social distancing in place.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not this is the right path for you, here’s Dani’s story of how she got into her apprenticeship. She’s a mother of three, part-time social care worker and has recently decided to take on an electrician apprenticeship.
“I’ve always wanted to be an electrician and follow in my Dad’s footsteps as he was an engineer in the Marines, however with motherhood and just general life, I was never able to pursue an apprenticeship fully. But last year I decided it was time and I began my journey to becoming an electrician – right when the pandemic hit.
“Rather than let it take the wind out of my sails, I kept going with my six-month intensive course at a local college. Even though I haven’t been able to do as much practical work as I’d like, as on-the-job training and support really is invaluable, it has meant I’ve had the time to get to grips with the theory behind the trade – possibly quicker than I would have done given normal circumstances. Although it may not be a ‘traditional’ apprenticeship, I’m still absolutely loving it and feel I’m finally getting the qualifications I’ve wanted for so many years.
“My advice to fellow apprentices would be to go for it! The pandemic doesn’t need to stop your training as companies are still hiring and looking for apprentices. I’m working with a company one day a week and hope to join the team fully once the restrictions are eased. Social media is a great way to compensate for the reduction in on-the-job training. There’s a great community out there that’s happy to offer advice and support, all you need to do is join in!”
Follow Dani’s story on Instagram by following @ladyelectrics. And, if this has inspired you to take that leap and start your apprenticeship journey – good luck!