Guide to Apprenticeships

If you are starting to think that several more years in full-time education isn’t for you, that you would like to start earning money rather than taking on student debt, and you feel ready to launch into the world of work at 18, apprenticeships are a brilliant option, writes Carole Hall.

gdst apprenticeships

If you are successful in gaining an apprenticeship, by the time your friends are leaving university you could be well into your career – possibly in a management position with enough money to put down a deposit on your first house.

You need to know, though, that applying for apprenticeships isn’t an easy option.


What is an apprenticeship

Employers who offer apprenticeships are looking for someone who will become a real asset to their company. From the get-go you will be an employee with a job that your employer needs you to do really well. This means you will have to go through a rigorous selection process to prove you have the skills and personal qualities necessary to do it.

You will receive training and be working towards relevant qualifications, but you still need to be a functioning employee from day one. If you are someone who has already had a part-time job, been a proactive volunteer or have grabbed opportunities to gain experience of team working, decision-making and business awareness (developing excellent communication and people skills along the way) you will be well-prepared to face the challenges of the apprenticeship recruitment process. If you haven’t done any of these things yet, now is the time to start.

Our Guide to Apprenticeships is filled with helpful information that will guide you on your way to becoming an apprentice. In our guide to apprenticeships, you’ll find information on the following topics:

  • Types of apprenticeships
  • Where to find apprenticeships
  • Degree Apprenticeship Events at Universities
  • Applying for apprenticeships
  • How can I prepare for the apprenticeship recruitment process
  • Alternatives to an apprenticeship

Keep reading for a short overview, or download the PDF now! 


What Types of Apprenticeships are available? 

  • Degree Apprenticeships: During these apprenticeships, you will work for an employer on a salary, while also studying part-time towards your degree. Programs that focus on areas like engineering, computer science, and technology are great options for women – who are in short supply in these sectors – and so employers will welcome an application from you. 
  • Higher Apprenticeships: These apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity to gain a Level 4 qualification, one level above your A-levels,  while beginning your career. They involve part-time study, at a college, university, or with a training provider, and require at least five GCSE grades of A*-C. 
  • Advanced Apprenticeships: These apprenticeships provide a way to gain employment experience while studying for a vocational qualification equivalent to A-levels. These can be routes into accountancy, law, and architecture. 


Where to find Apprenticeships?

  • Ucas
  • NGTU (Not Going To Uni)
  • Student Ladder
  • Rate my Apprenticeship


Degree Apprenticeships Events at Universities

As employers have to link up with universities to run Degree Apprenticeship programmes, you will probably find that universities local to you are running Degree Apprenticeship events where you can meet employers who are offering these opportunities. If you just Google the names of universities close to you and add ‘Degree Apprenticeships’, you should find your way to the section of the university website that advertises these opportunities.


Applying for Apprenticeships? 

Each employer will have their own application and selection process, which can include the following:

  • Completing an online application form
  • Achieving the required standard in a series of online tests, or recording a video explaining why you would be suitable for the role. 
  • Telephone or Skype interview
  • A selection/interview day with group-based activities, presentation, and an individual interview. 


How Can I Prepare for the Apprenticeship Recruitment Process?

  • Go to open days or career fairs at your school if the organisation you’re applying for is taking part
  • Contact previous students to see if they are working for companies that interest you and have a chat. They may be able to give you some insider information. Ask friends, family members, and your Head of Careers


How the GDST Support Your Daughter’s Career 

The GDST family supports the career progression of your daughter by supporting them throughout their academic life, from nursery to sixth form and beyond. We provide a tailor curriculum at our independent schools which values supporting girls to take part in extracurricular activities and discover their passions early in life, which later can flourish into a successful career. We support our students in applying to a degree course at university or finding an apprenticeship that they wish to progress into. 

GDST Life, our social community celebrating girl power, is available to students from the moment they join sixth form as well as to our 70,000-strong alumnae network.

We currently offer two mentoring schemes – e-mentoring for our alumnae community, and the pioneering Rungway app, which connects sixth formers with alumnae. We can ensure you are never alone when making big decisions about your career and future. Browse our GDST alumnae stories to find out how we keep in touch with our students and the amazingly diverse careers that our alumni have progressed into. 

Our networking groups for alumni are also a great free way to get in touch with our diverse community of like-minded people for events that include guest speakers, practical workshops, relaxed networking, and fun socials! Get in touch with alumnae and communicate with GDST girls from all walks of life around the globe who are there to support and inspire each other. 

Download our full Guide to Apprenticeships below.