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Apprenticeships and Internships:
The Journey to Your Career
When you’re looking for a job, whether it is your first position or your fifth, you need to know what skills you have and fill in the gaps where necessary.
As a recent college leaver or graduate you may choose to complete an apprenticeship or internship to gain the relevant experience needed to find a permanent job. The job market for first-time job seekers will always be competitive and this work experience can significantly improve your chances, if you know how to use it.
It’s All in the Experience
Since the UK apprenticeship programme began it has increased in popularity and has become one of the most effective ways to gain relevant, on the job experience.
Over the last few years, the UK government has invested significantly in the apprenticeship programme with the number of places available in England increasing to 440,400 in 2014. These apprenticeships are offered in a number of fields from the media to business, law and manufacturing.
Apprenticeships benefit those who are more practical because there are a number of positions in construction and trade where you can learn specific hands-on skills. In 2014 in England there were 125,900 apprenticeships in construction, planning and the built environment and 64,830 in engineering and manufacturing technologies.
Through an apprenticeship you’ll be working within an established company gaining real experience from people who are practised in your industry. A significant part of the programme however is to give you real qualifications such as BTEC and GCSE awards as well as others more specific to the industry.
As an apprentice you’ll also be assessed on your transferable skills since these will be essential to your career. Everything from communication to numeracy and language competence will be honed and incorporated into your overall programme.
Into an Internship
The majority of people follow the route of education and stay in school, then go on to complete a degree at university. Although this gives you some great qualifications, you may find yourself needing some work experience before securing full time employment.
Many graduates or school leavers complete an internship, last year alone the government estimated that there were up to 70,000 interns in the UK. Given the competitive nature of the job market for graduates, these internships are often a beneficial way for people to secure relevant experience and formal qualifications.
Internships can last for anything from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the employer and field it is in. You can be doing anything from administrative tasks and shadowing to real work and production, again, based on the employer.
These internships are most popular in media-based industries where university qualifications often aren’t enough to demonstrate your suitability for these varied roles. However, they are becoming more popular in the construction and manufacturing industry too, where companies appreciate the value of fresh talent and enthusiasm.
Following your internship you’ll have refined existing transferable skills from school and university and have real, hands-on experience in your industry. Moreover, many internships offer training and will help you achieve formal qualifications that can make your CV stand out among the sea of other applicants.
Now Look at Your CV
With an apprenticeship, internship or previous work experience, you will have gained many skills, some that you might not even realise you have. A recent study by the University of Sheffield found the top qualities that employers seek are: teamwork, motivation, leadership, communication and commitment.
To find out which skills are best suited to a career in construction, rail, trade and mechanical engineering check out the infographic below.
When it comes to applying for your next job remember - you have the transferable skills, you just need to show them.
About the Author
Kelly French is the Senior Marketing Executive at Fusion People, a specialist recruitment company that operates within the core markets of construction, property, engineering, industrial, financial services, IT and training.
For the last 10 years Fusion People have been providing talent solutions for permanent and contract work, from entry-level right through to senior positions. They pride themselves on providing a personal, consultative approach to workforce provision.