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Apprenticeships: How to start one and tips for success!

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Hello, future apprentices! I'm Sam Pusar, the Apprenticeships and Outreach Officer at The Planning Inspectorate. As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week from 5 to 11 February 2024, I want to share with you the exciting opportunities that await at The Planning Inspectorate and the immense benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship. 

As a former apprentice myself, I can say with confidence that apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain a professional qualification while continuing to work. They offer a unique blend of theoretical learning and practical experience, allowing you to apply new knowledge and skills in real-time. This combination of earning while learning sets apprenticeships apart from traditional education pathways. 

How to start an apprenticeship  

Anyone can complete an apprenticeship, whether you are taking first steps in your career or have lots of experience behind you. 

Some apprenticeships require you to have a previous qualification or a certain amount of experience within a role. Before applying, find out what the minimum requirements are and whether an apprenticeship would be the most suitable option for you. The Institute of Apprenticeships website is a great resource for researching and finding apprenticeships. 

If you haven’t got a minimum of a grade C/4 in Maths and English GCSE (or equivalent), you will need to complete a functional skills qualification alongside your apprenticeship. 

Join us: 5 vacancies for a Business Administration apprenticeship! 

Are you interested in a Business Administration apprenticeship? We currently have 5 vacancies to work within one of our casework teams while gaining a formal qualification (Level 3 Business Administrator). Apply at Civil Service Jobs by Wednesday 14 February.

Tips for success in an apprenticeship 

Apprenticeships take commitment, and the more you put in the more you get out. Here are some tips to help you succeed: 

  • Apply what you learn: Unlike traditional education, apprenticeships allow you to apply new knowledge and skills in real-time. Work with your supervisor and team to match your learning to your work. This practical experience is invaluable. 
  • Make use of ‘off the job’ training: All our apprentices are given a minimum of 6 hours a week for ‘off the job’ training. Use this time wisely to complete your learning, write assignments, attend workshops, or conduct your own research. 
  • Network: Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity for personal growth and to build your network. Take advantage of this to meet and network with other apprentices
  • Stay organised: Depending on the apprenticeship, you may need to complete some of your studies in your own time. Stay organised and manage your time effectively. 

Our apprentices’ success stories 

Let’s hear directly from our apprentices about their experiences at The Planning Inspectorate: 

Harrison, Business Administrator Level 3: 

Being an apprentice allowed me to work in a variety of roles and gain invaluable experience while also earning a qualification. The combination of working and learning created a solid foundation for my future career. I think apprenticeships are a brilliant way to start or progress your career, and I would highly recommend them to anybody.

Nick, Chartered Manager (Degree) Level 6:  

I have been interested in undertaking further education for some time, and the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship has allowed me to access Higher Education at a point when I didn't have enough UCAS points to do so on my own. Being able to study alongside my role has allowed me to put my theory learning into practice, and in the short time that I have been on the course, my management skills have already improved.

Max, Chartered Town Planner Apprentice Level 7:  

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was keen on pursuing a career in planning. The  apprenticeship at the Planning Inspectorate was a perfect fit for me. It allowed me to gain experience working in planning appeals, complete a masters degree in urban planning, and achieve chartered membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). I can confidently say that this apprenticeship has been instrumental in progressing my career.

Madeleine, Chartered Town Planner Apprentice Level 7:  

My apprenticeship has been a fantastic way of gaining professional work experience while undertaking a fully funded masters degree in Urban Planning. The broad range of training opportunities has significantly developed my planning knowledge and skills. I feel that my apprenticeship has set a solid foundation for my future career.

Aamina, Chartered Town Planner Apprentice Level 7: 

Having completed a BSc in Architecture, I was interested in the built environment but no longer wished to pursue architecture as a career. The Chartered Town Planner Apprenticeship was a game-changer for me. It allowed me to continue working and studying simultaneously without compromising on my earnings. The wide breadth of planning experience I gained at The Planning Inspectorate has enriched my learning in a way I wouldn’t have achieved through full-time study alone.

Amy, Senior Leader Level 7:

I am early in the second term of a 2-year level 7 apprenticeship and really enjoying it. The workload can feel intense alongside work and family but the flexible way that the distance learning takes place makes it possible and it's wonderful that employers will give you consistent and substantial time away from work responsibilities to gain a qualification. I feel very fortunate to have this support to invest in my own development.

These are just a few examples of the many success stories at The Planning Inspectorate. The hard work our apprentices have put into their studies, alongside the brilliant support they’ve received by our line managers and colleagues has made our apprenticeship programme something to be truly proud of. 

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