Unusual Apprenticeships

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Welder using a vice and wearing safety goggles

Apprenticeships are all the rage these days - they're a great way to train in a skilled role while working a paid job. There's some pretty awesome stuff out there - as well as some rather peculiar options. Let's take a look at some of the most unusual apprenticeship...

'Check out the 6 wackiest apprenticeships we could find'

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First off, the basics...

What is an apprenticeship? Apprenticeships mix work, training and study to give people hands-on experience and help them to make a great start in their careers. Read more here.

Are they popular? You can train in over 1,500 job roles and there are over 8,000 opportunities available at any time on the government's Find An Apprenticeship site.

What kind of apprenticeships can I do? You can take on an apprenticeship in almost any field, from catering to construction. And, if you look carefully enough, you'll find some pretty unique jobs out there.

Here is a selection of some of the more unusual apprenticeships currently on offer.

Tree surgeon up a tree

Tree surgeons spend a lot of time

outside - often up a tree!

Tree Surgeon

Fancy working up a tree rather than at a desk? Tree surgeons, sometimes known as tree climbers, are crucial for conservation work and keeping trees healthy.

As an arboriculture apprentice, you will learn how to fell, plant and prune trees as part of your daily routine.

You’ll need: an interest in plants and biology, to be comfortable working with heavy machinery and chainsaws and, of course, a head for heights.

Baby Photographer

Working with children and flexing your photography skills: sounds like a great opportunity!

As an apprentice baby photographer, you will learn how to set up, shoot and edit professional portrait photographs and specialise in working with infants and their families.

You’ll need: some experience working with SLR cameras and Photoshop and a few tricks up your sleeve to keep your young subjects focused.


Take your first steps towards a glittering career (sorry) in jewellery making, working alongside experienced jewellers to support the business and learn traditional craft skills.

You'll learn how to identify different types of gemstones, how to repair and clean jewellery, and carry out hands-on adjustments and work on jewels and accessories.

You’ll need: Enthusiasm to learn, a creative eye and a steady hand.

Telescope Maker

Telescope at night

Telescope maker, a great apprenticeship

to begin if you love the night sky

Set your sights on the stars with a career in astronomical telescope production.

As an optical production apprentice, you’ll get the chance to work with diamond drills and other high-tech instruments to create lenses and assemble powerful telescopes that can see into space. 

You’ll need: Science, maths and English GCSEs plus computer skills.

Sail Maker

Take your skilled manufacturing job to the seas as an apprentice sail maker.

Through your training you’ll learn how to measure make, repair and rig sails to boats.

You’ll get to spend plenty of time outdoors sizing up and fitting materials. Some sail makers even get the opportunity to travel with their clients and help them adjust their sails while they are on the water.

You’ll need: an interest in sailing helps but all training is given on the job.

Animal technologist

Medical rat
Animal technologists care for animals used for research

Animal technologists are responsible for the care of animals used in medical research. They make sure the animals are healthy and happy, report any signs of ill health, and keep their living quarters clean and tidy.

They also monitor animal welfare and come up with suggestions to help improve their conditions; for example, by making their environment more interesting.

You'll need: A love of animals plus the ability to cope with animals in distress, to be reasonably fit and healthy, to be hardworking and dedicated.

Important note: These apprenticeship are unusual. This means they're quite rare and not always available.

Image credits

Lead image by Adam Melancon, Tree surgeon via Pixabay, Telescope via Flickr, Medical rat via Wikimedia Commons



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