Think it’s only your local council and the small businesses in your local area who sign up apprentices? Whether you’re a school leaver considering joining the growing number of apprentices in the UK or already enrolled on an apprenticeship, it’s worth noting the huge range of apprentice schemes on offer in a complete mix of industries.
Companies of all sectors and sizes provide on-the-job training, although it’s traditionally the larger organisations that tend to have more apprenticeship places available. Here’s the lowdown of just some the key players in huge industries that provide their own apprentice schemes:
Energy and Finance
British Gas has trained over 3,300 apprentices over the past decade and expanded their apprenticeship programme last year, to allow a further 200 youngsters to join the company in a mixture of positions. Although EDF energy don’t have as many vacancies they still remain hugely popular, with over 2,000 teenagers applying for 52 places last summer.
For those looking to pursue a financial career, the vast majority of high street banks offer apprenticeship programmes to get you started. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Barclays are both set to launch their latest apprenticeship search in the spring and HSBC have seen over 1,000 apprentices since launching their scheme a few years ago, while the Lloyds Banking Group expanded their apprentice scheme by more than double last year to cater for 1,000 new starters.
The BBC has launched a new local radio apprenticeship programme, to go alongside their already oversubscribed production and technology schemes. The new project will see 45 apprentices across the country employed from September as broadcast assistants at one of the BBC local stations, while they train towards a level three broadcast journalism qualification.
ITV will open applications for their latest set of apprentices in the coming months, with courses available in both creative and digital media and business and administration, while Sky offer similar programmes in broadcast operations and marketing among others.
By far the biggest employer of apprentices nationwide is the British Army, with over 5,500 new recruits each year enrolling on their wide variety of apprenticeship programmes. The Royal Navy offer programmes in eleven different sectors, ranging from health and social care to retail and commerce enterprise, which provide over 2,500 school leavers an apprenticeship to start their careers.
BAE systems, the UK’s largest security and defence company, are planning on offering their highest ever number of apprenticeships this year, with 568 apprentices to be recruited over the next few months. The Royal Air Force (RAF) is another that offers schemes in a wide range of disciplines, with 14 different types of apprenticeship available for their estimated 1,700 apprentices.
Many of the world’s leading car manufacturers and Formula One construction teams offer apprenticeship schemes to give budding petrol heads the chance to push for a motorsport career. Dozens of parts specialist and engineering programmes are offered by Mercedes Benz and Honda among others, while Ferrari’s apprentice scheme sees over 1,000 applicants fight to be one of 11 people to be trained over three years as a service technician.
While we can’t guarantee you’ll become the next Sebastian Vettel, there are examples of people who have made the step up from an apprenticeship to a recognisable figure in F1, including well known team principal and engineer Ross Brawn.
Ryanair have apprentices working towards either cabin crew and engineering qualifications to join their 8,500 staff, with both them and EasyJet running annual schemes to recruit their newest members. British Airways offer a limited number of similar programmes, as well as additional apprenticeships in the IT and financial areas of the company.
There are plenty of apprenticeship schemes available on the trains too. Crossrail, the major rail development in central London, has said they’ll be using at least 400 apprentices during the construction of the network, with over half of those already learning on-site. Transport for London (TFL) also provides over 25 lucky apprentices from in excess of 7,000 applicants the chance to break into the transport industry, providing schemes in all areas of the rail network.
As you’ve already seen, plenty of well known companies offer opportunities to budding apprentices. For those looking for a catering or hospitality apprenticeship, hotel chain Premier Inn has pledged to employ at least 2,000 apprentices by 2018, while McDonalds regularly has a large number of apprentice crew member vacancies across the country.
Tesco offer their own in-house apprenticeship scheme, which is recognised and accredited by City & Guilds and offers hundreds of apprenticeships annually, while supermarket rival Sainsbury’s have recruited nearly 400 apprentices over the past twelve months. Chocolate lovers can become part of Nestle’s 1,900 strong apprentice staff by enrolling on management or engineering programmes.
The big companies: household names that offer apprenticeships*
|Company||Number of Apprenticeships|
|EY (formerly Ernst & Young)||150|
|Lloyds Banking Group||1,000|
* disclaimer: Data taken from numerous sources. Information believed to be correct as of February 2014
Think we’ve missed out a big company? With thousands of organisations across the country taking on apprenticeships, it was almost going to be difficult mentioning all of the big apprentice employers. If you’re an apprentice, why not let us know which organisation you’re training in and how you’re finding it, by getting in touch via Facebook or Twitter?
With a BA in Journalism, Alistair has a passion for writing, especially if it's got anything to do with football or other sports. In his spare time, he's big on exercise and he once completed the London Marathon.