Are you a whizz with computers? Are your friends and family always asking you to fix their laptops? If so, applying for an IT apprenticeship could be a smart move for you.
IT and ICT apprenticeship schemes are designed to get more young people into IT roles. Some are with large IT companies, while others are with smaller local companies specialising in software or hardware development. Either way, they offer school and college leavers a great opportunity to get started in a career in IT.
'IT apprenticeships offer young people a great opportunity to get started in a career in computers'
To find out more about what it's like to do an IT apprenticeship, check out this video from E-Skills UK:
For a list of ICT apprenticeships, check out the Jobs and Courses section on the Success at School website.
What qualifications do I need to apply for an IT apprenticeship?
The first thing to consider is that there are different types of apprenticeship out there and every scheme is different. To give you an idea of the qualifications you'll need for each type of IT apprenticeship, take a look at the summary below:
Many intermediate ICT apprenticeships don't require you to have any formal qualifications at all. However what you will need is "functional skills qualifications" in English, maths and ideally in IT or computer science. Functional skills qualifications are similar to GCSEs and if you don't already have them you can get them as part of your apprenticeship training. Read more on functional skills if you're still unsure.
An advanced ICT apprenticeship is a step up from an intermediate. In order to apply for an advanced apprenticeship, you'll need to have completed around 5 GCSEs with passes from A to C.
Higher and degree
So, why should you apply for an IT apprenticeship? We've outlined some of the benefits below:
1. You'll earn while you learn
One of the great things about apprenticeships is that you'll be paid for your efforts. Generally speaking, your time will be split between studying at college and working with experienced staff members. As of April 2020, the minimum wage for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour but most apprentices are paid above the minimum wage.
As you progress in your apprenticeship, your salary will also increase and by the time you complete your apprenticeship, you may find yourself in a higher paying job than those who went to university.
2. You'll gain practical experience
It's all very well knowing the theory of a job but being able to carry it out in practice is a different thing altogether. Apprenticeships are designed to give you all the practical experience that you'll need to carry out your job independently. You'll receive on-the-job training from senior staff, attend seminars and have the opportunity to receive coaching and shadowing.
Everything that you learn during your apprenticeship will be directly related to the job that you'll be doing once you graduate. Unlike in school, where you may have to study subjects that don't particularly relate to your career aspirations, with an apprenticeship programme, your schedule will be tailored towards your specific role.
3. You'll gain a nationally recognised qualification
While completing your apprenticeship, you'll gain vocational qualifications. You'll get an award, certificate, diploma or other qualification at the level of your apprenticeship. For example, if you do an advanced apprenticeship, you could gain a level 2 diploma.
4. You'll have the chance to build a contacts list
An apprenticeship usually lasts between one and four years and during that time you'll have plenty of opportunity to make some valuable connections with colleagues, managers and clients. After completing an apprenticeship, many companies offer full-time, permanent positions, so you'll want to make a good impression on the people who make the decisions.
However, there are no rules that say you have to stay with a company after qualifying, although about 77% of apprentices do. If you plan on looking for a full-time job elsewhere, the contacts that you made during your apprenticeship will prove useful when it comes to gathering references.
90% of apprentices go into work or further training when they complete their apprenticeship, so the chances of staying employed are very high.