This year’s National Apprenticeship Week, which ended last Friday (18 March) aimed to show that an apprenticeship can “take you anywhere”. And a new survey from WorldSkills UK shows that, rather than limiting themselves to traditional courses and training schemes, today’s employees, and those of the future, are keen to earn while they learn in a broad variety of disciplines.

According to the WorldSkills UK survey, Britons have the “CSI” bug: forensic science would be the most popular choice of apprenticeship to study among respondents, with almost 16% of those questioned selecting it as their preferred choice. Traditional subjects such as engineering, catering and stone masonry scored highly as a potential apprenticeship subject, but so too did less conventional industry options, including tv production, app development, jewellery design and visual effects. Major Tim Peake’s exploits aboard the International Space Station have inspired many, with 6% of those questioned expressing a desire to undertake an apprenticeship as an astronaut – providing that, for some, the sky really is the limit!

“Apprenticeships provide the opportunity for young people to develop the skills and experience which employers ask for, which enable them to progress in the world of work,” explains Ben Blackledge, WorldSkills UK’s Director of Education. “But many people do not realise the wide range of careers which are covered by apprenticeships and so miss out on the chance to take the next step towards their dream career. We work with a wide range of businesses, training providers and colleges that offer apprenticeships in occupations ranging from mechatronics to sports ground maintenance to ensure that young people maximise their employability and gain the skills they need to succeed – the world of work has never been broader or more appealing.”

Young people already involved in apprenticeships are invited to enter the 2016 WorldSkills UK competitions, which could ultimately see them named the best in their skill nationwide. More than 50 competitions, ranging from computer programming to mechatronics and floristry, are now open to entries, with the national finals held at WorldSkills UK’s flagship event, The Skills Show, in November. And as Blackledge explains, the event has much to offer those looking to find their own apprenticeship opportunity, as well as those already competing:

“The Skills Show’s unique experiential model provides the opportunity for visitors to try hands-on experiences of various jobs, combined with unbiased careers advice and the chance to talk directly to employers and other providers about apprenticeships and career opportunities. This means that young people can explore all avenues open to them and make considered decisions about their futures. The Skills Show is the largest event of its kind in the country and provides the chance for the tens of thousands of visitors attending to explore all the avenues open to them, as well as seeing the very best of young British talent taking part in WorldSkills competitions – for anyone interested in taking up an apprenticeship, it’s unmissable.”

In addition to getting hands on-experiences in a wide range of jobs and impartial advice about careers, visitors can listen to a broad range of talks across the event which will provide insight into careers and apprenticeship schemes delivered by young people actually taking part in them. There are also advice areas for teachers and parents to find out more for themselves, so they can help young people with their decisions regarding their future careers.

The Skills Show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from 17 to 19 November and is free to attend.

*Results collated from Mailchimp survey, March 2016

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