A Level Results Day 2018: Modern and unusual apprenticeships explained

There was a time when apprenticeships were limited to the construction and engineering trades, but in recent years opportunities have expanded to include a variety of job sectors, covering literally hundreds of different roles.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 4:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:05 pm

It also used be that apprenticeships were looked down on as being for non-academics only, though mercifully, this is a thoroughly outdated view.

These days, most apprentices, if not all, are assessed by their learning provider and their company, as well as completing regular coursework and revising to pass exams.

The vast majority of modern apprenticeships are paid, and have significant benefits for both the individual and the employer. An individual gains nationally recognised qualifications while working for an employer; the employer, in turn, benefits from a willing-to-work employee who can learn on the job.

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The rise in university tuition fees, coupled with the Government's focus on creating rigorous and quality schemes, means that apprenticeships are fast becoming an attractive route into employment.

From animal care to administration, fencing to floristry, horticulture to housing and games testing to trees and timber, there's an apprenticeship to suit your needs.

Unusual Apprenticeships

Time was when an apprenticeship meant training to become a skilled tradesman of some description - plumber, electrician or builder for instance.

In recent years, though, apprenticeships have gone mainstream, with just about every industry imaginable offering young people on-the-job training.

What this means is that there are plenty of unique opportunities out there for anyone who wants to gain workplace experience.

Here are some modern apprenticeships you may not have heard of:

Crime scene photographer We've all watched an episode or two of CSI [insert-city-name-here] and thought being a crime scene photographer seems like a pretty exciting job, right? It goes without saying, but with all the blood and gore you are likely to come across, this isn't a job for fainthearted.

Playworker ideal for those who love working with children. Patience is key and you'll need a lot of energy to keep the little ones entertained all the time. Playworkers plan, organise (and even take part in) leisure activities for 4-16 year olds.


Before you start licking your lips, being an apprentice chocolatier doesn't mean stuffing your face with chocolate all day. That said, it's still a sweet job in which you will be making, crafting and packaging chocolatey delights. You'll also learn the art of chocolate tempering.

Equine dentistry As an equine dentist, you'll specialise in the health of - you guessed it - horse's teeth. The British Horse Society advises you train as an apprentice with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA).

Radio plugger

Radio pluggers are the link between bands, record labels, and radio station managers, producers and DJs. In short, the job of a plugger is to get the acts they're representing exposure on the radio. This can be a good route into the music industry.

Space engineer Founded by the National Space Academy, this unique course is probably just as exciting as it sounds. It's a higher apprenticeship and requires knowledge in maths and science above GCSE level.