by ANTONY CLAY
YEARS ago apprenticeships offered by employers were for most people the normal route into a career.
The local factories would offer placements where newcomers to the workplace could spend years learning the essential skills they would need to do a job to the highest standard.
But the popularity of such schemes fell away in recent decades as young people were encouraged towards higher education and offered other routes to work.
Now apprenticeships are back in a big — and a very positive — way.
Thousands of apprenticeships are being offered across the country to give people a vital route into employment, teaching those on them skills as well as offering the pride of a useful job.
The Government has run National Apprenticeship Weeks to highlight the roles available across the country. Private companies and public sector organisations offering apprenticeships have been encouraged to promote what they have to offer.
Ofcourse apprenticeships are not for everyone but for those who have signed up there is opportunity, stability and the chance to prove themselves.
There are many sorts of apprenticeships to suit different people. For example, there are now higher and degree apprenticeships. Different types of apprenticeship provide different qualifications which can make moving around the workplace more effective.
Apprenticeships combine qualifications with work experience — which is something that potential future employers like to see.
What is an apprenticeship? It is a proper job where participants combine practical training with study.
People doing an apprenticeship will work alongside staff, be paid and be given time to study.
Apprenticeships are open to everyone over 16, with no upper age limit.
There are different levels of entry into apprenticeships. The Intermediate level requires five GCSE passes at grade A*- C or 9 – 4. The Advanced level requires two A level passes/Level 3 Diploma/International Baccalaureate. The Higher level needs applicants to have a Foundation degree and above, with the Degree level requiring a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Where can people find out more about apprenticeships? There are many sources of information but a great place to start is apprenticeships.gov.uk. You can search and apply for vacancies on Find an apprenticeship on GOV.UK. Once registered on Find an apprenticeship, email and text alerts can be set up about new apprenticeship vacancies.
For information on some well-known employers, visit amazingapprenticeships.com.
People can also contact the National Apprenticeship Helpdesk on 0800 015 0400 or email email@example.com.
Another good source of information is available by visiting YouTube and searching apprenticeships/NAS.
At any one time there are between 12-20,000 apprenticeship vacancies available at gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship.
So, if you are looking for fulfilling work or thinking about starting your career, look into the opportunities offered by apprenticeships. It could change your life!