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What is involved in an engineering apprenticeship?

Engineering apprenticeships are a great way to get into engineering without a university degree. However, many people are apprehensive because they don’t know what is involved in an apprenticeship. Of course, every engineering apprenticeship is tailored to the business you’ll be working in, so no two are alike. However, there are some commonalities between all apprenticeships. Here’s what to expect when you’re training to be an engineer.

Shadowing

The advantage of engineer training on an apprenticeship is that it’s conducted on real work being done by a real company. So you’ll spend a lot of time shadowing the existing engineers in the firm, who will talk you through different aspects of their work, and wherever possible you’ll gradually join in, performing some of the work yourself.

Supervised work

You will gradually start conducting some work on your own, and taking responsibility for your own part in various projects. You will work closely with the other engineers, who will give you all the instruction you need to do your work. There will always be someone close by in case you have any questions or need feedback.

Study

As well as practical work, engineering apprenticeships involve some desk or classroom-based study. Depending on where you do your apprenticeship, you may do this in-house alongside other apprentices and trainees, or you may spend one or two days each week at a local college or university. Alternatively, you might study in blocks of one or two weeks at a time.

Assessment

Throughout your apprenticeship, you’ll have regular meetings with a buddy or supervisor to make sure you are up to speed on everything you need to know. Your skills and knowledge will then be assessed, which will usually be through a combination of coursework, written essays, written exams, and practical exams.

Payment

Yes, you do get paid while you are training! You will usually receive at least the National Minimum Wage while training, in which case the amount you get paid will depend on your age, and the length of time you have been training. However, many employers choose to pay more than the minimum wage, especially after the first year.

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