Apprenticeships for school leavers

Just left school and looking for work? You should consider an apprenticeship…

If you’re a recent school leaver, apprenticeships can be a great way to get your foot on the career ladder – and earn money whilst learning a trade. The problem is, with hundreds of different schemes available, narrowing down your options is often easier said than done.

We’ve already covered how to apply for an apprenticeship, but if you’re still stuck on what role is right for you, here’s a quick guide on available apprenticeships for school leavers:


Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Care

If you love animals or have a penchant for the great outdoors, there is a wide range of opportunities out there for school leavers to consider.

Typical careers could range from animal care, environmental conservation and equine-related roles, through to floristry, game and wildlife management, and veterinary nursing.


Arts, Media, Publishing

Opportunities in these sectors generally combine a sense of the artistic with a technical aptitude.

For pure creative types, there are apprenticeships in community arts and other cultural and heritage careers, whilst those who have a great mix of creative and technical skills could take on an apprenticeship in theatre design and production, music marketing, or live events.


Business, Administration, Law

Careers in these sectors offer school leavers the chance to quickly work their way up the corporate ladder and although salaries may start off relatively small, that will soon change after becoming fully qualified.

Apprenticeship schemes range from accountancy, banking and insurance to administration, customer service and marketing roles.


Construction and Environment Planning

If you’re more practical in the way you work and like the idea of being involved in a project from start to finish, this may be the sector for you.

Construction and building provide a significant range of opportunities for apprentices looking to forge a career in anything from architectural design, electrical engineering and plumbing to environmental planning, building and painting.


Engineering and Manufacturing

Most sectors make claims about their diversity of opportunities, but few can compete with manufacturing (the art of making things) and engineering (the art of making these things work).

If you think that a career in this sector is all about oily rags and spanners, think again. Apprenticeships here cover roles including civil and nuclear/chemical engineering, materials (metallurgy, textiles) and mechanical engineering, quality assurance and printing.


Education and Training

If you see yourself teaching young people but don’t like the idea of going to university, there are a number of options for getting involved in education and training.

Apprenticeships in this field can help you to develop a career as a classroom assistant, learning and development officer, or even a specialist trainer – providing guidance for employees in areas such as computer or communication skills, among others.


Healthcare, Public Services and Care

The NHS is not only the biggest single employer in Europe, it is also one of the leading providers of health and social care apprenticeships too. A number of opportunities can also be found working with private sector organisations, local authorities and even the armed forces.

Apprenticeships usually involve working in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, nursing homes or similar, and often require very little in the way of prerequisites to get started.

There are also a number of opportunities available in the health and beauty sector, which would suit anyone looking to get into beauty therapy, hair styling or nail care, straight after finishing school.



With technology becoming an ever more essential part of our daily lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that there are a number of apprenticeships available for IT based roles.

In fact, there’s an insatiable demand across almost every industry sector for technically proficient individuals who are both analytical and practical – and the opportunity to learn relevant and up-to-date skills makes it an especially attractive option for recent school leavers.

IT Apprenticeships can cover everything from business analysis and programming to games development and cyber security. Previous coding skills may help, but may not be a necessity.


Leisure, Travel and Tourism

If you have an outgoing personality and are a real people person with a passion for sport or travel, there are some great apprenticeship schemes on offer.

Opportunities are varied and can range from travel agency and leisure centre management to customer services to working as a holiday rep, cabin crew or being an instructor at an outward bound centre.



Apprentices in this sector will soon find that having a combination of good social skills, problem solving ability and strong organisational skills will make you a valuable commodity.

Opportunities cover a range of different job types and workplaces, including department stores, shops, bars, hotels and restaurants. So depending on what role suits you, you could find yourself advising customers, training as a chef, arranging window displays or training for management.


Final thoughts

Apprenticeships offer real prospects and real opportunities for school leavers.

And with 15% of employers stating that apprentices are more employable than those with other qualifications, coupled with their continued commitment to promoting former apprentices to the company’s highest positions, it’s a viable alternative to university for those who want to start their career right away.

If you’re still not sure, try reading our guide on what apprenticeships are available, and find out more reasons why you should choose an apprenticeship now.


Ready to start searching? View all available apprenticeships now.