What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are a combination of work and training. As an apprentice, you’ll be employed in your chosen field, gaining practical, hands-on experience. In addition to this, you’ll spend a minimum of 20% of your apprenticeship receiving training. Training can take place at a college, at your workplace, or even online.
There are four different types of apprenticeships: Intermediate (equivalent to five good GCSEs or National 5’s), Advanced (equivalent to two A-levels or Scottish Highers), Higher (equivalent to a foundation degree) and a Degree Apprenticeship (equivalent to a bachelor’s or master’s degree). Once you finish your apprenticeship you can look for a job or progress to the next level of apprenticeships.
What are the benefits of physics apprenticeships?
As an apprentice, you’ll be paid for the work you complete. You’ll earn a minimum of £4.30 an hour, but you could get paid more, depending on your age or your employer. The cost of training is covered by your employer, so you won’t have to worry about taking out a loan. Furthermore, completing an apprenticeship gives you the chance to experience the workforce.
Entering the workforce early on means you'll have valuable professional skills, such as coping with a heavy workload or dealing with challenges. You’ll also have a far greater volume of experience than university graduates, which will boost your employability.
What sort of physics apprenticeships are available?
There are a range of apprenticeship opportunities within the field of physics. For example, there are opportunities available for aspiring laboratory scientists or technicians.
There are also numerous opportunities available for aspiring engineers, in specialities such as aviation, radiotherapy or structural engineering. Even if you can’t find an apprenticeship in the sector you’re most interested in, you’ll still gain transferable skills.
Where can I find a physics apprenticeship?
You can search for apprenticeships online, using careers advice websites or on employers’ own websites. You might get good results by searching your local training provider’s website.
The UK government even has a dedicated website where you can find companies looking for apprentices. Apprenticeships are advertised throughout the year, but most STEM apprenticeships begin in the Autumn.
You can also find opportunities on the Planet Possibility jobs board.
What qualifications do I need for a science apprenticeship?
To get onto a degree level apprenticeship, you’ll typically need five GCSEs/National 5’s at grade C/4 or above, three A-levels/Scottish Highers, and to have studied at least one STEM subject. More competitive employers might ask that your GCSEs/National 5's include English Language, Maths and Science, or could specify the UCAS points you’ll need. However, there are still numerous opportunities for those who don’t meet these requirements.