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Time goes quickly and, depending on the level of your apprenticeship, it can take anything between one and four years to complete. When you applied for it, you probably weren’t thinking too much about what you wanted to do next, and the prospect of not working or not having something to work towards may seem quite daunting. If you are one of the lucky ones there may be a job waiting for you, but for many there isn’t such a luxury.
However, the completion of an apprenticeship offers you plenty of options, and the skills, experience and qualifications you will have gained whilst doing your apprenticeship can be put to good use.
Know your Options
In knowing what options are available to you you can make an informed decision about what to do next. At work you can speak to your line manager and see whether there are any opportunities in the company, and if there are not, make an appointment with the careers advisor at your college. He or she will be able to tell you what employment previous apprenticeships in similar roles have gone on to do. Local and national job agencies will be able to tell you what sort of jobs are available in your area - sign up to a few of these and get an appointment to see someone to talk about your options.
Once you have found out the options available to you, you can think about what might suit you and what you want to do when your apprenticeship comes to an end.
As we like to reiterate at Eluceo it’s all about the skills you gain along the way and what you can offer companies. Even if you’ve no idea what you want to do after you finish your apprenticeship, the training, qualifications and skills you will have gained will make you employable to companies. When writing your CV and cover letter, remember to show off the skills and qualifications you’ve developed along the way.
Aside from the qualifications and hard skills you will have gained, your soft skills might include:
- Time Keeping - working full-time means that you have to arrive at a certain time and be dependable.
- Organisation - taking exams on top of working, along with any hobbies or responsibilities you might have, means that you can plan your time efficiently.
- Team Work - an apprenticeship involves working with other people, perhaps on projects with an ultimate goal.
- Working Independently - alongside working with others it’s likely that you will have had responsibility to produce something of your own or worked by yourself for an ultimate team goal.
Staying with the Company
When you first started your apprenticeship, you probably thought it would be nice to stay there permanently when your apprenticeship was up. There is not necessarily a guarantee of employment at the end of an apprenticeship, however it’s likely that you will have been informed about this when you started your apprenticeship. If you’ve been offered a position you might like to do this - think about whether the role is right for you, whether you can see yourself with the company on a medium- to long-term basis, whether you enjoyed working with the company and would you like to continue doing so, or whether you would like to do something else or want to develop the skills you’ve got.
If you are not offered a permanent position and you would like to stay, you could speak to them about creating a role for you. Using your examples of the skills you have gained, show them why you are an asset to the company. If they can’t keep you on, you could ask why this is the case.
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Finding a job
Using local job agencies and your college careers advisor you can see what jobs are available. If you’ve found vacancies you like the look of, whether it’s in a similar company and role to the one you did your apprenticeship with, a new industry which needs your skills or a completely different role think about the skills you’ve got and gained from your time working. Once you can tailor your skills to a job role, and in a specific job advert create a CV and cover letter.
The process of job hunting will be similar to when you applied for an apprenticeship, so remember to highlight you experiences, play up to your strengths, and explain how your apprenticeship makes you suitable for the position.
After finishing your apprenticeship, one route you could go down is further study.
This may include studying your apprenticeship subject more in depth and gaining an HND or an undergraduate degree. Speak to the people in your college careers centre to understand the options available to you.
It’s likely that on completing your apprenticeship you will have gained the equivalent of good GCSE or A-level passes, while there are even apprenticeships that offer you the equivalent of a Foundation Degree and Bachelor’s Degree.
You might choose to study nearby or you might like the idea of the student experience. If this is the case, please see our university pages, while if you are unsure of where you should aim next our table of education levels will make life clearer.