A step-by-step guide to help you secure an apprenticeship after leaving school

Apprenticeship programmes at Cambridge Regional College

Apprenticeships are a mix of real-world training and study, helping you to gain the qualification and skills you need to progress in your career or study at university. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The results are in, and whether you’ve got the grades you expected or not, there are plenty of doors open to you. The question is which one should you take?

To help you find out, we chat with Maureen Horan, director of employer engagement at Cambridge Regional College, who reveals the next steps you can take to enter the world of work through the apprenticeship route and set you on the right path for your future.

Step 1: Explore your options and select a route that works for you

Everyone is different and enjoys learning in vastly varied ways, which is why you need to consider all your options. You could continue on to A-levels if you've just finished GCSEs, go on to college and study a vocational programme or apply for an apprenticeship

Construction apprenticeships at Cambridge Regional College

Anyone over 16, that’s not in full-time education, has the entry grades and is eligible to work in England, can apply for an apprenticeship. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Apprenticeships are well-suited to those that want to get out of the classroom and head straight into employment. You can get paid while you learn, gain invaluable insight and real-life experience. It’s a brilliant mix of on-the-job training and study.

We always have lots of different apprenticeship vacancies on offer from employers recruiting across the region, which could be in programmes like digital marketing, construction, business and management, hair and beauty, hospitality and catering, and social and health care.

Apprenticeships can be studied from Levels 2 to 5. You can earn the qualifications you need to progress in your chosen career or study at university. Anyone over 16, that’s not in full-time education, has the entry grades and is eligible to work in England, can apply for an apprenticeship. 

Step 2: Be proactive

Looking for an apprenticeship is essentially like searching for a job. You will first need to secure a position with an employer that you can learn and train with. We work with over 1000 employers nationally and locally, and assist them in hiring their next apprentice. You can look at the latest job vacancies in the region on our website or sign up for job alerts to help you stay up-to-date.

If you already have an employer in mind, try searching their website or getting in touch to see if they have any opportunities. Offering to undertake a work trial is a great way of showing your enthusiasm and commitment and could lead to an offer of a position as an apprentice. 

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Step 3: Applying for your apprenticeship

 Cambridge Regional College GCSE and A-level advice classes in Huntingdon in August and September 2021

GCSE and A-level results advice cafes are running at CRC's Huntingdon and Cambridge campuses to offer students the support and guidance they need. - Credit: CRC

Most of the time, securing an apprenticeship will involve you submitting some type of application. So it is useful to have your work experience, education and relevant skills prepared and ready to use. Your application is the first thing they will see, so ensure it is well written and helps you stand out from the crowd.

Step 4: Prepare for your interview 

Research the organisation before your interview and consider what relevant experience you possess. Don't forget transferable skills. Even if you've not done the job before, think about how you may have shown the skills they are asking for in your personal or school life. This will help ease your nerves and will show your interest and commitment to the job, which employers like to see.

Apprenticeship programmes on offer at Cambridge Regional College

Cambridge Regional College offers many apprentice opportunities including digital marketing, construction, business, hair and beauty, hospitality, social care and more. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you have discussed a placement with an employer but need to arrange the apprenticeship training with a provider, contact us as soon as possible so we can start the process with you and your employer. 

Step 5: Find the advice you need

Our apprenticeship team can answer any questions you may have, help you find the right placement for you and assist with your application. You can book a free apprenticeship advice appointment to discuss your options. There are currently over 50 apprenticeship vacancies throughout the East of England, and more are added daily.

We are also running Advice Cafes until September 3, 2021, that you can visit or call for support and advice. 

To find out more visit camre.ac.uk, call 01223 418778 or email training@camre.ac.uk.