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We’re celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week!  Check out our Scotland page for all the latest! #ScotAppWeek24

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NAW - 07 02 2024

Starting Your Apprenticeship Journey: A Guide for Aspiring Apprentices in a Modern World  

Babington Marketing

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It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2024 so what better time to get under the hood of what being an apprentice really means! In this article, we explore some of the vital components of apprenticeships, and how these routes offer invaluable real-world experience and guided learning to build strong foundations for both personal and professional success.

Over 330,000 people started an apprenticeship in 2022/23 academic year. As we often point out, apprenticeships are not only for those starting out in their careers, but can be accessed by those that are looking for a career change or transitioning within their existing organisation into a new role. In 2022/23 around 48% of people starting an apprenticeship were over 25, and around 1 third of all apprenticeship starts were at a higher level, which is A-Level equivalent and above.  

The modern world of work has vastly changed in recent years, and new methods of working and a growing skills gap have resulted in new organisational requirements. An apprenticeship can develop not just the technical skills required to thrive, but also ‘power skills’.

Let’s take a closer look…

Critical Skills That Apprenticeships Develop…  

1. Communication Skills  

Clear and effective communication is vital to thrive in any workplace. Through collaborating with colleagues and managers daily during an apprenticeship, you will hone your ability to share ideas, ask questions, explain processes, and avoid conflicts through strong communication. Not only that, but also hone your emotional intelligence, which is prioritised by over 90% of business leaders, in a formal setting. These skills are universally valuable across roles and industries.  

Communication is key at every level of an organisation as is a recurring theme throughout all apprenticeships from entry-level through to degree-level apprenticeships. 

2. Problem-Solving Abilities  

Hands-on learning means constantly facing new troubleshooting scenarios in real-world settings. Apprentices develop critical thinking, innovation, and analysis as they apply their technical knowledge to overcome workplace challenges. Fixing problems that arise builds confidence and cognitive abilities.  

3. Technical Proficiency/Skills  

While gaining well-rounded skills, the core of an apprenticeship is mastering job-specific abilities. Whether coding software, operating machinery, or creating financial reports -– you will become adept in the tools and platforms needed for your occupation. Ongoing education also keeps your technical skills up to date with the latest industry advancements.  

4. Adaptability  

The modern economy evolves rapidly, requiring professionals to upskill frequently and adjust to new systems. Apprenticeships strengthen resilience by exposing you to changes in real workplace settings. Especially since 93% of business leaders consider ‘resilience’ as the capability that the world in ‘the new normal’ cannot do without. When you know how to evolve along with workflow transformations and expand your abilities, you have the flexibility to grow and futureproof your career over time, even as job requirements shift.  

Preparing for an Apprenticeship

If you decide an apprenticeship is the right path for you, whether that be after secondary school, career development or, a career change, here are tips to secure your opportunity:  

Research industries and apprenticeship level options to narrow down the best fit for your interests and aspirations. Many industries offer apprenticeships including tech, finance, healthcare, construction, and more.  

Understand eligibility and application requirements. Factors like age, work status, academic history, and location can determine if you can complete an apprenticeship. If you aren’t sure, check with your line manager if you are working in a current role or contact us to find out more. 

Ready yourself for any written tests, interviews, or other assessments included in the application process. Reflect on why apprenticeship appeals to you and how it can springboard your trajectory.  

Apprentices gain so much more than job training. You build life skills of communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and learn how to continuously expand your knowledge and abilities. An apprenticeship launches you on a journey of impact and self-improvement that pays dividends throughout your career even if you are just starting out or looking to further develop your professional career. 

Deciding on an Apprenticeship  

With so many industries and occupations offering apprenticeships, how do you determine what’s the best match for your goals?  

Assess your innate strengths and abilities. Do you excel at mathematics, have artistic talent, enjoy helping people or working outdoors? Finding an apprenticeship that utilises your natural abilities will help you succeed.  

You should also consider your interests. For example, if you are fascinated by technology, perhaps a digital marketing or IT support apprenticeship is a good selection. Thinking through workplace environments and types of responsibilities you would genuinely enjoy is important for satisfaction.  

Once you nail down industry sectors of interest, research projected growth rates and salary ranges to make informed choices regarding your career path possibilities. Seek out first-hand perspectives from professionals in your desired field by networking (e.g., try LinkedIn) or setting up informational interviews.  

Speaking with an apprenticeship skills coach can also help you articulate what you hope to gain and identify how different programs align with your goals. They can explain expectations for certain roles and suggest target companies and mentors. 

Making the Most of Your Apprenticeship 

Once you secure an apprenticeship opportunity, these strategies will help you thrive:  

Ask Questions – Don’t hesitate to ask mentors, colleagues, and coaches to explain anything you don’t fully comprehend. Curiosity is key for growth.  

Take Initiative – Look for ways to expand your responsibilities, solve new problems that arise, and share suggestions to improve processes. Proactivity makes you indispensable.  

Build Connections – Get to know professionals working in departments or roles you aspire to someday. They can become future mentors or references while bonds form through your apprenticeship network.  

Absorb Everything! – Keep your eyes and ears open for bits of wisdom regarding workplace etiquette, industry trends, productivity hacks, and career advancement tips. Knowledge fuels your trajectory.  

Get Started on your Apprenticeship Journey 

If an apprenticeship feels like it might by right for you, why not take a look at the apprenticeships that Babington provides, or check out our dedicated hub for individuals below!

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