If you have decided to take the path to apprenticeship, it’s time to figure out which type of role you want to pursue. The expanding universe of apprenticeships can make this challenging—there are hundreds of career frameworks created by industry and approved by the government. How do you decide?

To work out what type of apprenticeship to choose, give some thought to what you want to do in life. What are you good at? What do you enjoy—and conversely, what do you hate doing? What kind of life do you want to build? Sit down and have a think. Write down your skills, interests and dreams; then you will start to see how to proceed.


Consider your skills

Consider your interests

Consider your ambition

Consider your skills

Each of us has things we are good at. What are your skills? You can learn how to put them to use via an apprenticeship in a related field—even if you didn’t know they were related.

Perhaps you were a high school footy champion or excelled in Design & Technology. You can put that physical dexterity and those spatial skills to use in many areas, such as construction or engineering and manufacturing. In construction, you can learn to design buildings or the systems within them, or you could study a satisfying traditional trade like bricklaying. Engineering and manufacturing contains puzzle-solving careers like robotics engineer.

Maybe you have an analytical mind—you’re able to figure out how things work, and you’re the one your nan asks to set up her mobile phone. A digital apprenticeship could help you leverage your skills as a coder or gamer into a lucrative career as a programmer, a cybersecurity engineer or a systems analyst. Or you could pursue health and science by apprenticing as a lab technician, a food scientist or a research assistant. Alternatively, creative and design offers many technical roles, such as game designer.

Or are you a “people person”, always helping your friends move or carrying neighbours’ packages to their car? You can put your outgoing nature to use in care services or catering and hospitality. Really, you can find a specialty to match your people skills in any category—maybe you’d like to be a custody officer in protective services or a Customer Account Manager in sales, marketing and procurement.

Consider your interests

There’s a saying: Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. While that is frankly not true—think about all the ridiculous shoes a fashion model has to endure, for example—it is very healthy to pursue a career where you actually enjoy doing the work.

Do you consider meeting up with friends mainly an excuse to try a new hairstyle or apply fancy nail art? You might seek an apprenticeship in hair and beauty, where it will be a professional requirement for you to read fashion magazines and stay up to date on social media trends. Creative and design apprenticeships let you leverage your sense of style as a photography assistant or a fashion and wardrobe worker.

Or maybe you’re more of an outdoorsy person who enjoys nothing more than a long drive in the country. Transport and logistics offers important jobs like rail engineer and bus driver. If you prefer your time outdoors on horseback, agriculture, environment and animal care can train you to be a veterinary nurse or a sports turf technician.

If you enjoy sharing knowledge and shaping young minds, education and childcare might be a fulfilling path for you. However, this raises the very important consideration of what you might not like—such as the idea of going right back into the kind of environment you spent years itching to get out of. In such cases, you should probably explore another field.

Consider your ambition

Finally, think about the kind of life you want to live. What do you see yourself doing in five years? Ten? Would you be happier working independently, or do you want to direct the actions of others? The optimum balance of freedom, responsibility, power and acclaim is different for everyone, but setting down your goals can help you decide what field to apprentice yourself in.

Perhaps your dream is to someday have a glass-walled office with a river view and team of people working for you. If you enter a business and administration apprenticeship, you can train to become a business leader or an HR consultant.

If you enjoy the professional environment of an office but would rather keep track of your own work instead of run other people’s business, legal, finance and accounting have many different kinds of desk jobs that offer prestige and a good salary with less interpersonal negotiations.

What if you would rather pursue creative excellence by, say, making art or reporting the news? Creative and design offers a wide array of artsy and rigorous career choices.

Whichever path you follow, picking the right employer to sponsor your apprenticeship is just as important. Put some thought into what company offers you the right mix of stability, growth and respect.

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