29th Jun 2012
I want to be an apprentice: what should I do?
Apprenticeships are a great way to kick-start your career and the apprenticeship model of on-the-job training can be applied to a different types of jobs, from hairdressing to IT and plumbing.
Northern Ireland's range of six regional colleges offer a wide range of courses for apprentices, which are combined with on-the-job training.
But there are also a host of other training providers depending on the sector in which you want to train, such as the Electrical Training Trust and the Plumbing Services Trust.
If you are looking for work as an apprentice, you should monitor the press for advertisements in job sections.
For example, BT and NI Water have recently advertised their apprenticeship schemes taking on a total of 23 apprentices. You can also contact companies to ask if they have apprenticeship schemes and if so, when they will be advertised so that you can apply for them.
You should also register your interest in apprenticeships with the regional college in your area as colleges have strong links with employers and work with employers, including come up with a training framework for apprentices. Bear in mind that, just like any other job, there will be eligibility criteria, such as a basic understanding of IT and GCSEs at grade C or above in English and Maths, or the equivalent.
Apprenticeships usually take between two and four years.
You and your employer will agree what you will be paid but minimum wage applies. The employer must give you a contract which has you working with them for a minimum of 21 hours a week.
You will usually spend one day a week training at the regional college or with your training provider.