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Finding the Right Apprenticeship

Trying to work out where you want your career to go is a big decision to make at a young age, it can be a daunting and challenging task.

To try to help, we have answered some frequently asked questions and compiled a list of apprenticeships we provide to see which connect most with you. We’ll take a look at the aspects you need to consider when you’re choosing an apprenticeship so you can kick-start your career and help you achieve your goals.


Is an apprenticeship right for you?

Usually people consider an apprenticeship because they don’t think university is for them, or they want to learn a trade. Thankfully, just because you think that university is not for you, the idea that you can’t enjoy a successful career because of that no longer exists. Combining training in the workplace with college based study and a salary is now an attractive option for many and the apprenticeship route is a very successful one.

Doing an apprenticeship is not just about on the job training. You will not be abandoning your studies altogether. Whichever level of apprenticeship you choose, there will be classroom based learning in order to earn your qualifications. Although, apprenticeships are usually favoured by people such as visual learners, who enjoy being hands on rather than in a lecture hall.


How much classroom based learning is there?

This is dependant on the apprenticeship you choose. Sometimes the apprenticeship will be completed full time in college for the first year, whilst others will spend the first year of an apprenticeship split 4 days in the workplace and 1 day per week in the classroom. After the first year, the full time will be spent at the workplace working towards your qualification and end point assessments, which can take up to four years.


Remember these key things to consider when researching apprenticeship vacancies:

Think about your interests – What are you passionate about and what kind of job would get you out of bed in the morning?

What are you good at? – What do you really excel at? What was your best subject at school? If you’ve already got a transferable skill or talent, this could help you choose an apprenticeship.

Make sure you know what you’re applying for – Read the job description and job advert to see what experience the apprenticeship will offer and what opportunities your qualification will give you.

Research – Research potential employers in the industry you’re looking to do your apprenticeship in. Other things to think about include development opportunities within that organisation and which other similar roles your apprenticeship can guide you towards. Your apprenticeship is just the start of your journey and enhances your career opportunities.

Online career tests – If you’re still unsure on an industry or trade, consider trying a career placement test. Here you’ll answer a series of questions and be matched with some suggested roles.

Interview – This is your opportunity to sell yourself. Be as relaxed as possible, and have as much information to hand about the apprenticeship, chosen trade and the employer as you can.


Which apprenticeship is best for you?

A mechanical fitter is the engineering specialist responsible for putting together machine parts, installing, maintaining and repairing plants and equipment. Mechanical fitting involves assembling parts made from metals or other materials to create production equipment and machinery, working to very fine tolerances and as detailed on engineering drawings and specifications.

A plater is a specialist metal worker who shapes metal for applications such as steel structures, tanks, vessels, brackets, supports and component parts, from detailed engineering drawings, using a variety of equipment and techniques.

Platers often work with welders assembling component parts and are required to work with a range of different metals such as steel, stainless steel and aluminium.

A pipefitter installs, repairs and maintains piping systems using hand and power tools. They read engineering drawings and specifications for fabricating and or installing industrial piping systems.

The systems can be assembled from a variety of metal or nonmetal pipes, fittings, and components (valves), using threaded, soldering, welded, glued, or cemented joints. The systems are installed and supported on brackets, clamps and hangers.

Riggers install and dismantle plant steel structures and components by lifting, moving and positioning loads on engineering construction projects. The loads are lifted with a variety of different accessories used to connect the load to the lifting equipment which could be a fixed or mobile crane or other lifting system.

Riggers work to engineering drawings and lifting plans to ensure all lifts are carried out safely and without damage to the components.

Welders join metal components using a variety of welding processes and techniques in line with specifications and approved welding procedures. The components could be structural steel, piping systems, vessels, tanks or other components that require joining by welding.

Welders work with a range of metals including carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium. A welder work is often subjected to non-destructive testing (NDT) to confirm it meets the quality requirements.

Typical tasks will include installing containment, cables and equipment for various systems including power, heating, lighting, security, fire detection and others. Other tasks may include maintenance, testing and inspecting, fault finding and repairs.

Business administrators handle day-to-day tasks to ensure a business runs smoothly. It is a vital part of any organisation. Typical tasks may include providing office support, assisting with data and organising and maintaining files.

Quantity surveyors oversee construction projects, managing risks and controlling costs. Typical tasks may include assessing if client’s plans are feasible, negotiating contracts, writing regular reports on costs and preparing accounts for payment.

Cost Engineers manage project cost – budgeting, planning and monitoring investment projects. This involves estimating, cost control, cost forecasting, investment appraisal and risk analysis.

The project manager is responsible for day-to-day management of a project and must be competent in managing scope, schedule, finance, risk, quality and resources. Typical tasks include managing what work needs doing, by who and by when; the risks involved and managing these risks; making sure the work is done to the right standard; ensuring the project is running on time and delivers expected outcomes.