Careers in Peterborough: Internships & Apprenticeships

Posted by | May 31, 2017 |

Peterborough is a growing hub of activity. In 2014, it was actually named the fastest growing city in the UK. Between the years 2002 and 2012 alone, Peterborough’s population grew by 27,600 people; a pretty impressive surge of life. As our city is growing at a rate of between 1% and 2% each year, it’s essential that businesses within Peterborough keep up with increasing demands for work.

One category of people often overlooked is young people under the age of 25. To get a job, companies insist that you must have a certain amount of years’ worth experience – but without that crucial opportunity to gain experience, what are you supposed to do? They want fast results from a new employee, without having to go to the trouble of training and teaching young people the ways of the working world. Fortunately, not all Peterborough companies are so rigid in their employment habits; many offer internships and apprenticeships to help young people get on their feet.

What are internships and apprenticeships? Simply, they give you that much-needed kick-start into a career, helping you gain entry-level experience in the field you wish to work in. They enable you learn while you’re on the job, so no prior experience is expected by employers. The two shouldn’t be confused, however; internships and apprenticeships function differently. People partaking in apprenticeships will earn money while they learn the trade, while interns gain valuable experience within the working world before earning any money; you try before you buy, essentially.

What are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are special programs run by employers that train you to work in a certain job. These work programs are for people with a sense of direction in life; you know what career route you’d like to go down and you want to take the next step to get there. Apprenticeship programs can run anywhere from one year to six years, depending on how specialist the job is. The industries that usually run them can range from manufacturing and construction, to mechanics, IT and engineering.

They consist of a mixture of learning and working; you’re put into a real-life work setting where you’ll gain important work experience, but you’ll also rack up hours in a classroom learning the tricks of the trade. When the apprenticeship draws to a close, you’ll receive a qualification signifying that you’re trained to work in that position and have the skills required to thrive in your chosen industry. Apprenticeship wages are typically lower than those of full-time employees because you’re still learning, however there is plenty opportunity for salary increases as you gain more experience.

What are Internships?

Internships are temporary work placements. These positions give you transitory work experience in an industry that you think you’d like to work in, meaning you can test out a few career options before choosing one. The key advantage here is flexibility; an internship generally lasts a few months (or even a few weeks) at a time, so you only need to ride it out for a short while if it isn’t for you. These work placements are available across a range of industries, in public or private sectors.

A significant difference between apprenticeships and internships is that interns usually don’t get paid on the job – the work placements are voluntary. This, of course, is totally dependent on the employer; some businesses may offer a small wage in return for work. However, if you enter an unpaid internship in the private sector, the company must meet certain regulations to ensure that the labour you provide is fair; they mustn’t hire interns in replacement of paid employees. The focus in internships is very much about educating and teaching you how to perform within that industry. They’re there to help you decide which industry you’d like to find a career in, whilst boosting the ‘work experience’ section on your CV. See it as dipping your toe in the water of the working world.

Internship & Apprenticeship Career Opportunities

Internships and apprenticeships are both fantastic ways to get your foot in the door of a career, or sometimes even into a specific company. Although it isn’t always common practice, some businesses have been known to offer their interns and apprentices permanent positions after seeing their potential. The opportunity is far more likely in apprenticeships – they don’t spend years training you for nothing – but it isn’t unknown in the internship world. Internships exist to help you gain valuable work experience in a world that seems to require experience in almost all new positions. Not only do you achieve this, but you can also build up a portfolio of business contacts in the industry, potentially making it easier to find a permanent job in the future. It’s your chance to assess the field you’ve selected an internship in and decide whether you can see yourself there in years to come.

The career path for apprentices is a little more straightforward. You will have a job for the entire duration of your apprenticeship, no matter if it’s two years or six years long. Once you complete it, you’ll receive a certificate indicating that you’ve achieved your qualification and have completed the course. From there, the company you took the apprenticeship with may offer you a permanent, full-time job working in that sector, or they may end the employment there. It really depends on whether the company has any positions available and how much competition there is for jobs. If you aren’t successful in staying with the company, your apprenticeship will have given you crucial on-the-job training and experience in your dream career, as well as qualification(s) showing future employers that you’re competent, skilled, and able to work within the industry.

In summary, internships and apprenticeships improve the career opportunities available to you. Neither one is more fulfilling than the other; it all depends on your personal situation. If you’re sure what industry you’d like to build a career within, an apprenticeship may be the right move for you. If you’re still uncertain about what you want to do, trial and error a few jobs within internships. Peterborough is home to a wealth of internship and apprenticeship opportunities; whatever program you choose, you can be sure that it’ll help influence your future employment prospects.