With the exam results arriving soon across the UK, for many youngsters it’s time to choose which direction to take from here. 

While some will be heading off into further education, others may be looking instead for apprenticeship positions. 

Once upon a time, these were viewed by some as somehow inferior to full-time studies at college or university. Now, however, they are attracting more young people, who realise learning part-time at college while earning at work can bring double the rewards. They’re also a mighty springboard to fast-track promotion and lucrative, long-term careers. 

Long gone, too, are the days when the new apprentice was treated only as chief coffeemaker and spent their days being sent to the manager for a long stand or the shops for a tin of elbow grease. 

Today more and more businesses are fully supporting the concept of apprenticeships. This is because they appreciate that having young and enthusiastic employees learning soft skills and tech talents can be a huge boost to the company. 

You can see this reflected on wm1jobs where more and more apprenticeship vacancies are becoming available. 

In fact, apprenticeship starts for the period August 2018 to May 2019 were up on the previous year, according to provisional figures from the Department for Education. A spokesperson said: “We are pleased the number of people starting an apprenticeship has increased by 6.6 per cent compared to this time last year. 

“It’s also good news that over 62% of people this academic year started their apprenticeship journey on one of our new higher-quality apprenticeships, which were designed in partnership with employers. 

“Thanks to our reforms, apprenticeships are now longer with more off-the-job training and have a proper assessment at the end. There are also more apprenticeship opportunities available in a range of exciting industries like law, fashion, architecture and aviation.” 

There are opportunities across the UK to take up degree, higher and advanced apprenticeships, as well as traineeships. All offer the chance to learn skills and build a new career with a combination of part-time education, normally with a college or university, and work-based learning with your employer.  

And apprenticeships cover nearly every sector, including production, food and drink, social care, finance and HR,  

Of course, one of the most popular sectors for apprenticeships has always been construction but today engineering apprenticeships are also among the most sought-after, with many youngsters choosing to specialise in mechanical, civil, electrical, civil and telecommunications. 

Last year there were 129,059 engineering-related apprenticeship starts across England, Scotland and Wales. Not only do apprentices get high-quality training, they’re also well paid. 

Looking forward, the digital sector needs new apprentices to embrace ever-evolving computer science and IT… and become the new experts in software development and cyber security.  

If you you’re seeking inspiration to become an apprentice, you might like to meet Myles Nagle. 

The youngster from Basingstoke has been chosen from more than 1,200 final year apprentices to be named JTL’s National Electrical/Engineering Apprentice of the Year. 

Registered charity and one of the largest work-based learning providers in England and Wales, JTL holds its annual awards to celebrate the achievements of trainees in the building services engineering sector. Candidates were initially nominated from each of JTL’s seven regions across England and Wales based on their performances throughout the four years of their training. 

Myles, who served his apprenticeship with Lowe & Oliver in Southampton, followed up his regional prize win with the top trophy. 

He said: “This is a huge moment for me and I’m really proud to have stood out in the eyes of the JTL judging panel.” 

Myles, who also attended night school and has finished his plumbing Level 2 certificate, added: “It’s a great reward for all the hard work I’ve done – winning an award sets you apart and I hope it will help me to continue to develop my career. 

“I’m really excited by what I’ve achieved in a relatively short time.” 

If you’d like to achieve award-winning success in your own career, there are plenty of apprenticeship vacancies waiting to give you a boost on x1jobs. And no matter which one you choose, with your time divided between the workplace and college or university, there’s always going to be a healthy work-life balance.  

As well as learning from your lecturers and trainers, you also get to work alongside experienced professionals who will be your daily guides and mentors – even if they do occasionally send you on a mission to find a tin of tartan paint! 

If you’d like to explore all the opportunities an apprenticeship could offer, take a look at the current vacancies on x1jobs.