How to become an apprentice
A creative industries apprenticeship offers you on-the-job training and an avenue into the industry. It's a chance to develop your skills, experience and contacts while learning on-the-job.
ScreenSkills does not provide apprenticeships, but read on for information about how apprenticeships work and how to find the employers that offer them.
Some employers offer apprenticeships that develop skills you can use in the screen industries - meaning video games, visual effects (VFX), animation, film and television.
Apprenticeships are jobs combined with training lasting at least 12 months. Your employer will give you time off to study, usually at a college or university, during your working hours. The cost of the training is paid by the employer and you also get paid a wage. The minimum wage depends on your age and isn’t much. But many companies pay above the minimum wage and, of course, once you have qualified your earnings potential will go up. It's an ideal opportunity to learn while you earn.
When you’ve successfully completed your apprenticeship you get a certificate confirming your work-related skills and abilities. Your employer may offer you an ongoing role or you could use your experience to find another job or continue your learning.
What types of screen industry apprenticeships are there?
There are lots of different roles for people in the screen industries, so the range of relevant apprenticeships is broad and includes:
- Business and administration
- Catering and hospitality
- Creative and design
- Engineering and manufacturing
- Hair and beauty
- Legal, finance and accounting
- Sales, marketing and procurement
- Transport and logistics
Apprenticeships are usually advertised as being a certain level. This indicates the standard of the learning that will be required to complete the apprenticeship.
- Level 3 apprenticeships involve the level of study similar to that of an A-level
- Level 4 apprenticeships involve the level of study similar to that of a higher national certificate or first year at university
- Level 5 apprenticeships involve the level of study similar to that of a higher national diploma or first two years at university
- Level 6 qualifications apprenticeships involve the level of study similar to that of an undergraduate degree
- Level 7 apprenticeships involve the level of study similar to that of a master's degree
By the end of the apprenticeship you will have developed industry-recognised skills and you will have your apprenticeship certificate to prove it.
Want to hear from people on apprenticeships?
Watch videos of apprentices in the creative sector:
- How can I start my apprenticeship journey?
- What skills do you need to be an apprentice?
- Advice for future apprentices
Who can apply?
Apprenticeships have different entry requirements, but for all of them you must be aged 16 or over and not in full-time education. If you haven't got good GCSE grades in maths and English, it won’t automatically exclude you from getting an apprenticeship but you will probably be expected to study for them alongside your other studies. Employers are more interested in your skills, enthusiasm and commitment than your qualifications. They look for genuine interest in the apprentice role along with strong communication skills, creativity and the ability to work well as part of a team.
Where can I find apprenticeships?
You find an apprenticeship in the same way that you find any job.
1. Search online. There are a lot of employment agencies and search-engine websites through which you can find job vacancies. Have a look to see if any apprenticeships are being advertised in your area.
2. Check out the employers in which you are particularly interested. If you know which companies you would like to work for, look on their websites to see if there's any information about apprenticeships. For example:
- BBC applications normally open in March for September starts
- Google applications normally open twice a year, October and February
- ITV applications open in May/June for September starts
- Channel 4 applications open February/March for September starts
3. Search through the apprenticeship standards. The Institute for Apprentices/Apprenticeship Standards is a list of standards in England through which employers and colleges are able to offer apprenticeships. If you find a standard that interests you, you can search for an apprenticeship that relates to that standard. Here's how to do that.
- Filter the search. Under Status, tick “Standards approved for delivery”.
- Under Route, tick whichever category you are interested in.
- You will now have a list of standards. Scroll through to find one that describes what you want to learn.
- Click on that standard for more information. In the column, you will see the employers involved in creating that standard.
- Scroll to the bottom of that column and use the “Find an apprenticeship” box to search for apprenticeships relating to that standard by postcode.
4. An alternative is to so use the websites particular to your nation.
5. Ask at your local college. If your college is offering apprenticeships training, it is likely to know the employers that are providing the apprenticeships.
6. If you're struggling to find an apprenticeship that suits you, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure if an apprenticeship is right for you?
If you already have some creative industry work experience then instead of an apprenticeship you could think about applying for ScreenSkills' Trainee Finder. This scheme matches new talent with film and TV productions that are looking to take on trainees. Trainee Finder opens around December each year.