Make the Most of Your Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships, in any field, are real opportunities to achieve a head start in your career. It's not generally known, but a bit of extra effort and some exploration of possibilities can create a lot more opportunities. The common image of apprenticeships is seriously over simplified. You can do much more than just "become a tradesperson". You can specialize, and you can work on technical skills that can be developed in to important assets for you when you qualify as a tradesperson.

Opportunities are where you make them

You can undertake other areas of study which aren't on the basic apprenticeship program, provided you're doing well and up to the required standards at your level of qualification.

Important note: Don't get yourself into a situation where extra studies conflict with the required qualifications areas of the apprenticeship. You can always do the extra work with good time management.

These extra skills come in various forms: They can be extra academic studies, or more advanced practical work with the apprenticeship provider. These opportunities are not to be missed, because they can give you a very good pass in your qualification. (In some cases you can also earn some extra money while getting these skills, so it's not a bad business proposition, either.)

There are so many possibilities we'll need to use an example of an opportunity:

John Plumber is a very good second year apprentice plumber. He's the image of an A student, doing excellent work. Most importantly, he has the employer's trust on high value jobs. The employer is prepared to trust John to do commercial work, and do it well. That's worked out well for both of them, and now John's now mentioned to the employer that he wants to move on into more advanced work.

That's good news for the employer, because he's now very busy, and needs more hands than he has qualified trades people. There's some work available that John won't do for another two years in his apprenticeship program, but the employer is sure that he can do that work. He does the practical training, and John is enrolled to do the extra theory work in the academic part of his apprenticeship. (John also gets on the job oversight, and learns the job thoroughly.)

The idea works brilliantly, and John, when he qualifies, has two years experience in work which allows him to go for jobs at professional, rather than entry level. The employer just puts John on the payroll at the higher wage rate.

Advantages of enhanced apprenticeships

What John did was to enhance his qualifications within the apprenticeship program. He effectively created an extra level of qualifications with the added experience and skills. He qualified as an experienced plumber doing high value commercial work, rather than a graduate apprentice.

An apprenticeship with extra credits can create a great start to a career. Employers appreciate extra effort from their apprentices, and the additional work is valuable to them. It also helps to improve your working relationships, your CV, and creates an early career network.