The Placed Guide to Apprenticeships in 2021

Everything you need to know about apprenticeships in 2021.

This week (Feb 8-14) marks National Apprenticeship Week, an annual event organised by the government that aims to showcase “how apprenticeships have helped employers and people of all ages and backgrounds”.

If you’re wondering whether an apprenticeship might be able to help you, you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up all of the key info you need to know to make a decision and get applying below, including details on current opportunities you can apply for on Placed.

What is an apprenticeship?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s worth taking a moment to understand what apprenticeships actually are and what value they serve, because there can be a bit of confusion. 

First things first, apprenticeships have got nothing to do with pompous contestants marching round London completing tasks to impress Lord Sugar. That’s just a television programme. Secondly, they’re also not the same as internships, which tend to be shorter and less structured. 

The point of an apprenticeship is to formally train up inexperienced workers over a period of time and provide them with a designated job at the end of it, or at least the skills and experience they need to get a similar job elsewhere. Apprenticeships can be for school leavers, those looking to combine work and study while at University, and graduates. 

During the course of a programme, apprentices are given set tasks and learning opportunities designed to prepare them for a specific career or company. For the employer, the benefits are clear in that they get to nurture and shape young talent while getting government sponsorship and incentives in return.

Apprenticeships vs regular jobs

It’s easy to pie off apprenticeships in favour of a regular job that pays fully and doesn’t require more education. But depending on your circumstances and the industry you’re entering, that might not be the best thing to do for your career in the long-term. 

While regular jobs do provide opportunities for learning and development, it’s unlikely they will match up to those offered by an apprenticeship. For example, if you apprentice for a big company, they will typically put you into different departments across the business to help you understand how things fit together and see where your skills fit best. An experience you’re unlikely to get with regular junior roles.

Another advantage is that jobs given to apprentices tend to be a bit more secure, as companies are unlikely to want to let you go if they have spent months or years training you up. The stats back this up: top employers retain 91% of their apprentices. 

Find jobs, upskill and follow your fave brands.


Apprenticeships and Covid

Apprenticeships have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, with lots of roles being furloughed and some schemes cut entirely. 

But there have been positive things to come out of the situation, too. 

The government’s Kickstart Scheme (set up in response to the pandemic) aims to provide 500,000 out of work young people (16-24-year-olds) with six-month placements paid at the National Minimum Wage (which is covered by the government). Employers signing up to the scheme have to explain how they will provide training and development opportunities over the six months, so it works in a similar way to a traditional apprenticeship. You can find out more here

Many big employers are also doing their bit in order to support and skill-up the next generation. Yorkshire Building Society, for example, have announced that as well as running two schemes of their own (details below) they will also be providing for Bradford-based employers to do the same. And they aren’t the only ones. 

Despite the pandemic, there are apprenticeships out there and the government and many employers are pushing ahead to make more available.

—-Featured employers —-


Apprenticeships to apply for on Placed


A global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology and engineering services, Capgemini are looking to recruit a marketing and branding apprentice. The successful candidate will be based in a small team and work on branding initiatives to promote Capgemini as an employer of choice, think social media curation, internal outreach and content production. 


Yorkshire Building Society

YBS are about to launch two apprenticeships through Placed. Each scheme will look to recruit six apprentices based in Yorkshire and from a diverse mix of backgrounds. Candidates need to be 18 or over to be considered. 

Here’s some more info on the two schemes and their benefits.

IT & Digital – degree apprenticeship with Leeds Beckett University. Ideal candidate is curious, mature, self-analytical with a good attitude, preferably with good A-level grades in STEM subjects.

Customer Advisor customer-facing and focussed on developing leaders of the future. Some travel required. Candidates need to have pass grades at GCSE for Maths and English. 

What YBS Apprentices Can Expect

  • Key focus on learning and building skills for the future
  • Mentoring
  • Supportive, nurturing working environment.

FOLLOW Yorkshire Building Society to get alerted about these roles.


The leading transport provider will be recruiting for engineering apprentices through Placed. More details to follow soon – Follow Northern to ensure you don’t miss out.


Apprenticeship FAQs

What makes a good apprenticeship application? Employers are looking for potential so concentrate on selling your soft skills and bringing to life your personality instead of trying to emphasise all the experience you have. Research the company and reference them in your cover letter – be clear on why you want an apprenticeship with them specifically.

Which industries typically hire apprentices? Apprenticeships can be found across all sectors, but there are some where they are more common – engineering, IT, finance and healthcare to give a few examples. Degree apprenticeships, which combine university study and work, are limited to a few specific sectors such as PR, science and digital.

Are you guaranteed a job at the end of an apprenticeship? Not necessarily but most apprentices do get a job. Even if the situation changes and you don’t get a job with the company you have been apprenticing for, you should be well ahead of the competition when it comes to getting similar jobs at other companies.

Are apprenticeships just for university students and graduates? Absolutely not. While some apprenticeships take place in conjunction with a university degree and others ask for a degree, there are many more aimed at school-leavers.