Beyond apprenticeships

Published on: 24 Jan 2024

How to leverage your apprenticeship to find secure and well-paid work and begin your career journey in style.

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Anyone completing an apprenticeship will need to think about what they would like to do next. For many, the hope may be that they will be offered a job with the employer at which they have done the apprenticeship, but this is by no means guaranteed.  

Where this is the case or not, you’ll need to go about reinventing yourself to an extent, to ensure you are seen as a valued employee in the same way as anyone else, and no longer 'just the apprentice'. Take steps to build your contacts internally. Speak to your line manager about the opportunities that may exist to work with new people or in other parts of the business. This will  to give you a wider experience than you may have encountered up to now.  

Those who don’t stay with an existing employer will also need to adapt. Suddenly what may have been a very structured process will come to an end;  while some colleges or employers might be able to help suggest some next steps, you may feel you’re now on your own.  

Soft skills 

The challenge here is to identify and find potential jobs. You’ll need to have an up-to-date CV, talking about your achievements and listing any softer skills or other attributes that might be of interest to a potential future employer. Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile, too, and include on there any references or testimonials, perhaps from tutors or the employer you did your apprenticeship with.  

Think about the type of job you’d be interested in. While it’s a good idea not to restrict yourself too much at this early stage of your career, there may be particular parts of your apprenticeship which you enjoyed, or some which you didn’t. These could help you identify roles that would be of interest.  

You’ll also need to brush up your interview skills. Anticipate the types of question you’re likely to be asked, and make sure you’re able to talk about what you enjoy and the type of role you’re looking for. Again, stressing softer skills such as teamwork or communication will be important, and be prepared to talk about other experiences and interests you have outside work.

When you find a new role, you’ll need to approach it differently to how you did before. You’re no longer the junior apprentice, and have a good deal of workplace experience. Introduce yourself confidently to colleagues, and let them know you’re keen to get involved with projects. Make yourself a valuable addition to the team.

Of course, finishing an apprenticeship is only the start of your career journey. While you’ll be moving away from formal  education, there will still be opportunities to learn. Talk to your employer about any courses you can do to develop, and remember that IOSH can help you record your continuous professional development as you move through the different membership grades.