Business apprenticeships | What to expect
If you decide to take on an apprenticeship, probably the first and most important area to consider is what sector you want to work in.
Apprenticeships schemes are many and varied
According to government figures, there were 128,790 apprenticeship vacancies in the UK in 2012/2013, so there is certainly no shortage of opportunities out there. Of these positions, the greatest proportion were in business, administration and law, which accounted for nearly half of the placements (59,610) in 2012/2013. Apprenticeships in the UK cover more than 17 industries and 1,500 job roles, so how should you narrow the field?
Firstly, it makes sense to look at what areas you excel at. If you enjoy interacting with people, then you may want to consider taking on a customer-facing role in the retail sector. What subjects did you enjoy at school? If maths was a strong point, then you could think about a traineeship in finance or business administration.
Business apprenticeships create good skill set
Business apprenticeships are great if you are looking for diverse training that will give you experience of many aspects of working life.
Most positions within a company require a range of skills and that’s when starting an apprenticeship in something like business helps to build those varied competences.
Experience is very appealing to prospective employees
A business apprenticeship gives you real-life experience of an office environment and that counts for a lot when companies are considering candidates for a position.
Indeed, nearly half of employers (48 per cent) would think about hiring an apprentice rather than a graduate for entry-level positions, according to a survey commissioned by totaljobs.com and the Association of Graduate Recruiters.
The 2013 review of recruitment revealed nearly a third of employers believed graduates lacked the necessary work experience to be considered for a role.
What you can expect to learn doing a business apprenticeship
Business apprenticeships teach you how to communicate with fellow employees, partners, suppliers and outside agencies.
You learn how to work as part of a team and how to interact with other departments within a company. This is helpful as it also teaches you how your role fits with others and is part of the bigger picture.
If you take on a business apprenticeship, you will be expected to make contributions to running a project and will be taught how to produce documents to a professional standard.
You will also gain experience of making and receiving calls and using a firm’s IT infrastructure. This will probably involve learning how to manage your email inbox. This could involve understanding how to flag messages, read and respond in a timely manner, prioritise emails, create folders for some and search for specific subjects.
Most companies use Microsoft Office and so-called on the job training will teach you how to produce documents using applications like Word. You will probably gain experience of producing spreadsheets in programmes like Excel too. You may also be required to input data – or extract information from – customer relationship management systems. Some companies will require you to get to grips with desktop publishing programmes and web editing tools.
All these skills will prove invaluable when you apply for your next role. If you decide to stick with the company within which you trained, you can demonstrate the knowledge you have gained in-house. Alternatively, if you choose to move on elsewhere, the skills you pick up by undertaking a business apprenticeship are fully transferable.