“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”  – Katharine Whitehorn: English journalist, columnist, author and radio presenter.

In 1975, Whitehorn wrote that this was the best careers advice given to the young and it rings as true today as it did then. This is a quote you will see used across social media by people ranging from influencers on Instagram to seasoned recruitment professionals on LinkedIn and with good reason. As young people take their first steps out of secondary education, it is easy for them to feel overwhelmed by the choices available to them. However, for many, apprenticeships provide the perfect opportunity to not only do what they like doing best but to get paid for doing it.

The variety of apprenticeships that are available now is truly astonishing, ranging from advertising and media through to nuclear engineering, and from intelligence analysis to personal training! Apprenticeships provide the perfect route for those who are ready to get hands on, actively doing something they love, as they move into a career that will truly allow them to thrive and flourish.

Apprenticeships are hard work as those who earn places on them learn to balance working normal working hours in their chosen jobs with continuing to study and complete the course work and/or exams needed. However, if you love what you’re doing, finding that balance doesn’t seem like anywhere near as much of a challenge. It’s precisely that which makes apprenticeships such a great choice for so many though; love of the job is the greatest motivator! (Earning as your learning is just the cherry on top of the cake.)

At SBY, through our Insight into Apprenticeships programmes in Bristol and Somerset, we actively work to open the eyes of young people to the range of options which are available to them as they enter the next phase of young adulthood, encouraging them to draw on their strengths, interests and passions. We show them they can find what they like doing best and get someone to pay them for doing it!

Our top tips to get someone to pay you for doing something you like (get an apprenticeship):

  1. Do your research! If you know the things you like doing and are interested in, start researching the jobs that will help you do those things. You will be amazed how many jobs there are that you didn’t even know existed! As a starting point, look at: Apprenticeships: Everything you need to know | National Apprenticeship Week
  2. Start looking for an apprenticeship early and register for email updates on apprenticeships in the area you want to work in. You can do this at: Apprentice Jobs | Careermap Opportunities
  3. Sell them on you! Make sure that, when you write your application, you include all of the amazing things about yourself that would make you a great candidate for the apprenticeship. Football team captain? That shows leadership skills. Volunteer with the local Brownie pack? You’ve got great interpersonal skills.
  4. Show them why you want to work for them specifically! Look at their website and learn a bit about them. What is it about them that makes you want to work for them in particular? What values do you share with them? Is there a particular project they’ve done that excites you? Show them you’ve done your research.
  5. Proofread your application! Make sure you check your writing for errors but then get someone else to check it too. Ask a trusted friend or adult to look at it for you. Ask them not just to check your grammar and spelling but ask them to make sure you haven’t sold yourself short! Someone who loves you will probably see more amazing things in you than you see in yourself.
  6. Got an interview? Prepare for it! Reread your application so you are clear what they already know about you. Check their website again so you know specific things about them you can include in interview answers. Think about what you want to ask them too but remember to keep it professional. It’s much better to ask them about their amazing engagement with local charities than it is to ask them if you ever get to go home early on a Friday!
  7. On the day of the interview. Dress smartly, arrive early and smile. You’ve got this. All of that preparation pays off here. Now just go in there and be yourself!

Don’t forget to also have a look at our Quick Guide to Apprenticeships on our Resource Page here: A Quick Guide to Apprenticeships : South Bristol Youth | Empowering young people to succeed (sby.org.uk)