With more than 700 options available, you’re spoilt for choice in your search for an apprenticeship

There are more than 700 apprenticeships currently available in England. But how do you identify an apprenticeship that may interest you and become your future career choice? How do you match who you are now with what you want to do with the rest of your life? These are important and complicated questions, but they needn’t be difficult to answer, if you consider these four questions first:

1. What do you enjoy doing?

Your interests and hobbies are the things you enjoy doing most, so they’re a good basis for choosing a career. You’ll spend a good proportion of your adult life in various roles, so they should be doing something that you’re committed to and wish to develop in. Above all, you need to bear in mind that you could be spending eight hours per day in an office. You could be giving up your weekends because you work on a rota. You could be spending extended periods of time away from home. Your ideal apprenticeship needs to be something you have a passion or interest in.

A good example is being outdoors. Do you like going for walks? Do you spend a lot of your time in the countryside, or at a public park? If you live for fresh air, you may not enjoy spending your entire working day behind a desk, crunching numbers in a spreadsheet.

Instead, the ideal place to start is the agriculture, environmental and animal care group of apprenticeships. These kinds of apprenticeships include varied roles like estate managing the countryside; as a ranger preserving the countryside; or as a dry stone waller, repairing or rebuilding walls or landscape features.

What if video games are more your thing? This is where apprenticeships offer options: video games are the result of collaborative effort, involving skilled artists, designers, writers and many others. Is your interest in playing or creating? Using digital media systems lends itself to the digital and ICT group of apprenticeships. Head to that section to learn about software testers, who design and prepare test plans and conduct software testing to ensure that software is fit for purpose. Are your interests more creative? Then head over to creative, media and the arts, where you can find out about creative and digital media apprenticeships, which offer routes into animation and interactive media, among others.

2. What were/are your strongest subjects at school?

Your school subjects are important to your apprenticeship choices, particularly those you did really well in. Throughout school you have been given a broad academic grounding, allowing you to develop and flourish in certain areas. If some subjects really don’t interest you, you can accept skills in that area will never become a passion, and so wouldn’t be appropriate to pursue as a career. Bye-bye to those!

However, where you did excel is extremely important. That’s because it means you have the academic grounding as well as the basic skills to take it further. Maybe you enjoy being outdoors, like running, and loved PE at school; that might mean that your next step is the sport and fitness group of apprenticeships, where you can learn about the sporting excellence apprenticeship and what you’d need to do to become a professional sportsperson. Or use your passion to work with others as a personal trainer or sports coach.

Of course, not everyone has a clear pathway from a young age. Maybe your interests didn’t really match up with your school subjects. Maybe you’re less academically inclined and so you didn’t excel in a school environments. That’s not a problem. Apprenticeships offer vocational training that can provide an alternative. Apprenticeships focus your education on directly applicable subjects, such as specific training relating to a particular trade or profession. It’s worth bearing in mind that most school subjects and interests teach widely applicable skills. Take English Literature: during the course of your education, you’ll learn to interpret texts and understand context, which are two essential skills for almost every job in the world. Be broad-minded during this step, because you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how much you can do when you think about it.

3. What is the apprenticeship like?

When all is said and done, you need to understand what the apprenticeship you take a fancy to is really like. What does the role actually entail? What are the advantages and disadvantages? (Every job comes with both.) Is it something you can develop a passion for? If you’re going to find and keep a career, you need to know what’s in store and whether it’s something you want to do.

In this guide, you’ll find Success Stories. You’ll hear from apprentices who’ve already completed their apprenticeship, or they’re still doing them. You’ll hear what they really think and get a chance to learn more about particular apprenticeships. Throughout the guide, young people from different backgrounds and across the sectors reveal why they chose their apprenticeship, what they’ve gained from it, and what you can do to enjoy the successes they have.

At this point, it’s also worth speaking to the people around you. Your peers may be able to tell you why they have chosen a certain apprenticeship and their answer can help inform your decision. Your teachers and parents, even your GP or the owner of a local business you frequent; they can all help influence you. It’s just about gathering as much information as you can.

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