How to Become an Apprentice

Getting a job as an apprentice can be a great answer to a confusing search for a career. Apprenticeships are more than "just a job". An apprenticeship provides paid training, the opportunity for good qualifications, and in many cases much needed stability and security for young people. Apprenticeships can also solve the very tough calls about payment for college qualifications which would otherwise be impossible. Apprenticeships always include various forms of academic study, so they're a way of getting exposure to further academic studies through doing prerequisite elements in the courses, too. 

Apprenticeships can change your life

Apprenticeships can bring significant improvements in quality of life and career prospects for those having difficulty finding a career. If you're good with manual skills, or have a natural interest in things like electronics, a trades apprenticeship is an really good career option. You can use those skills, talents and interests to make a great career for yourself, get your own income, and get your life moving. 

Basic requirements for apprenticeships

Motivation is the primary factor in getting an apprenticeship. Learning a trade takes time and real ability, but you must also have this level of commitment so you can really enjoy and profit from the apprenticeship. Your personal talents, like woodwork, metalwork, electrical, electronic, painting, or other basic skills are the key to the trades apprenticeships. You may have a hobby which you can turn into a profession, or a natural aptitude for a trade you've picked up in school. The areas to focus on are where you're naturally good at the work, interested, and enthusiastic. 

Pre-apprenticeship training

In some trades you may be required to do pre-apprenticeship training to have the necessary skills. usually practical and some academic work, with grades used as assessment. This training isn't at all difficult for those with the natural talents, but it is necessary before working in areas where Occupational Health and Safety and handling of materials are important issues.

Application and selection process

The application process for apprenticeships is very like a normal job application. It's also a competitive application. Only so many apprenticeship places are available in any given year.

In general, to be eligible for an apprenticeship, you require:

Proven skill levels. You can show the apprenticeship provider examples of the work you've done, and/or pre-apprenticeship work.

Good grades in related subjects. These are usually high school grades in things like woodshop, metalwork, or science involving electricals and electronics, but may also require formal pass levels in pre-apprenticeship training.

Strong commitment. Employers must see definite intention to complete the apprenticeship. They put a lot of expensive resources into training.

References. These should be:

  1. Character references from people who can provide background and tell employers you're a committed person.

  2. References from teachers or other qualified people able to discuss your work and skills meaningfully with the employer.

Opportunities in apprenticeships

You may be surprised how many different industries offer trades apprenticeships:

  • Aerospace
  • Building trades
  • Clothing industry
  • Construction industry
  • Defense
  • Electrical
  • Electronics
  • Food industry
  • Heavy industry
  • Horticulture
  • Manufacturing
  • Media
  • Plumbing
  • Public sector
  • Shipbuilding

With a trades qualification from your apprenticeship, you can not only create a career, you can realistically build one, as well.