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Using engineering apprenticeships to jump start your engineering career

Traditionally, apprentices did not need prior experience or education. You did not need to be employed or have a college degree to gain employment as an engineering apprentice in an organization. Today, the apprentice concept is not as popular as it was a few years ago, but it is essential to note that engineering apprenticeships are still very much in existence.

How does this concept work?

Individuals in search of new career opportunities can submit applications to become apprentices. As mentioned above, an apprentice is not required to have any prior experience or education. As a matter of fact, this is something that is primarily intended for individuals who have lost their jobs, and are looking to switch careers.

In the case of engineering, apprenticeships in this field tend to have wide and far-reaching options, e.g., electronics, construction, mechanical, and electrical engineering. An engineering apprenticeship calls for you to have a certain set of skills or technical know-how in a wide range of disciplines and subjects.

Perhaps it is this need for one to have an increased skill set that has seen more learners opt to continue with their education, instead of considering an apprenticeship in an engineering field after completing school.

Given that there is a broad range of speciality areas and disciplines possible in engineering, it comes as no surprise that many learners have been unable to narrow down on their preferred choices of suitable apprenticeships. These are apprenticeships that, if properly utilized, would help them to gain experience and knowledge in a broad range of areas.

Statistics have shown that engineering is one of the most competitive industries, and as such, it does pay for one to do prior research. Countries that have apprenticeships, like the UK, also have organizations and companies that are willing to accept such applications. However, the kind of apprentices they can accept for their engineering divisions will, of course, be dependent on the kind of technology they are currently using.

However, the most important thing to note is that the applicants will not only earn a wage during the year or years they train as an apprentice, but they will also gain meaningful experience and knowledge. A potential engineer can apply for various kinds of apprenticeships:

• Intermediate apprenticeship—this is on the GCSE level
• Advanced apprenticeship—this is on the A- level
• Higher apprenticeship—this is on the foundation degree level
• Degree apprenticeship—this is on the Bachelor’s degree level

Essentially, what this means is that a person who starts an apprenticeship will get an opportunity to work, get experience and full engineering training, and also improve their engineering skills. All of this occurs when they are still in school learning to get their engineering degrees.

In addition to all this, the company providing the engineering apprenticeship may choose to support you by paying for your engineering degree, or by providing you with a bursary, which will go a long way in helping pay for your education. That is quite an opportunity for anyone interested in the field.

How to apply

A proper and formal application is required so that an organization can consider the application submitted. Potential employers may also consider your knowledge of mathematics and allied subjects, as well as your existing technical skills. Often, they will concentrate on the areas that they think will be essential during the course of your internship.

It is also important to keep in mind that employers have a right to perform additional tests that they may consider essential. The UK government is encouraging young women to apply for engineer training and apprenticeships in a bid to reduce the existing shortage of female engineers in the country.

Photo: Engineers_12 by InstituteForApprenticeships licensed under Creative commons 2
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