Apprenticeships are a great way to build up transferable skills. These skills will allow you to move from country to country while securing paid work, and there are always apprenticeships abroad for young people.
What are apprenticeships?
Apprenticeships are a focused period of on-the-job learning. Your work in a job is supplemented by class-based learning as well. Specifically, apprenticeships are an excellent way for students to learn more about the subject they are studying while also earning an income.
There are different career apprenticeships to choose from. Generally, they tend to focus on construction, plumbing, IT and engineering but have also been known to spread into other areas, such as event management and accounting.
Where can I go?
There are plenty of options available to you. The good thing about apprenticeships abroad is that you’re not restricted by location! Where you go for your apprenticeship can have an effect on the options available to you. They both require trades and skills from overseas. Certain countries have a different focus on apprenticeships than UK institutes do.
America, in particular, has a large construction industry which is a popular apprenticeship field within the UK. Be sure to look into how to get an apprenticeship abroad to see more about where you can study when looking for jobs abroad or thinking of working abroad. Make sure you make the most of them since they afford the same opportunities as your year 11 work experience.
Australia is one of the best places to look for apprenticeships abroad for 16-year-olds or apprenticeships abroad for 17-year-olds. You can start an Australian apprenticeship as a school leaver, after college or even as an adult wanting a change in career or to boost your experience in your current work. As in the UK, your apprenticeship will be paid and will be a combination of on-the-job and school-based learning.
Your Australian apprenticeship will be regarded nationally and can be taken overseas. This is perfect if you plan to do a short break in Australia and then come back to the UK to continue work or study, or if you’re planning a permanent move. There are plenty of websites online that allow you to search for an Australian apprenticeship, but be aware that, most will want you to already have the right to work in Australia via a successful visa application.
Apprenticeships in France have become more and more popular over the years. Those who complete them will receive a French diploma, which can be hugely helpful, especially if you plan to embark on further study in France.
French apprenticeships allow students to remain for 12 months and to find a job with a qualification. Generally, these apprenticeships are open to students between 16 and 29, but there have been exceptions made for older applicants.
Vocational training in Germany is open to almost anyone who wishes to take part. Higher levels of job designations apply to students who study in the country, which range from master professional to master artisan. There is also a greater range of areas to study in overin Germany compared to the UK. Once a student has completed their vocational training, they are handed the official designation of a skilled worker, meaning that they will have more options open specifically regarding further training.
United States of America
The USA is a big country which means all the more room for employment opportunities. They have the most advanced media in the world and also huge exports of machinery, vehicles, aircraft, oil, electronics and medical equipment, meaning there really is something for everyone! They also have a lot of smaller businesses as well as large companies.
Will I get paid?
There are numerous volunteer internships across the globe, but it is also possible to secure a paid apprenticeship abroad. It may be that you need the money to fund your trip and lifestyle or that you just want to get the experience of working in another country.
Payment or salary will be explained in the apprenticeship specification when you apply. If you’re unsure about any of the specifics, it is always worth checking during an interview. There’s nothing worse than expecting payment and misunderstanding or finding hidden costs.
Do my qualifications count?
Most companies will recognise your UK qualifications. However, it’s a good idea to read up on the qualifications awarded in the country you plan to work in, so that you’re able to explain the level of education you have. You should also find out if your degree will be accepted in a particular country, same with an HNC or an HND.
How do I apply for an apprenticeship abroad?
It can seem very daunting to apply for an apprenticeship, internship or work abroad. But luckily, there are numerous companies set up to help people in this exact position. You should start your search by talking to a college or university careers service who will be able to point you in the direction of resources to support your search.
Before applying for an apprenticeship or work abroad, it is worth checking out what the visa requirements are for that specific country. Some countries are harder to get a visa for than others. Some can also be expensive or require health checks or vaccinations, so be sure to account for this in your decision.
Four-year programmes in Australia depend on whether or not you have the right to work in the country. If you cannot secure this, then it is possible to look at a one or two-year course. Graduate work visas are possible after completing your apprenticeship programme.
Once you have an apprenticeship in France confirmed, you are permitted to stay for up to 12 months. Students can apply for student visas, wherein their employer will submit a work authorisation request to their local Ministry of Labour. There are family reunions and spousal apprenticeships that are also available if needed.
You do not need to have a visa before applying for vocational training. Assuming you meet the conditions set forward by an employer, you will be able to stay and work. You can apply for just about any visa that allows you to work in the country after you have been accepted, unlike in other countries. You will also need a school-leaving certificate.
United States of America
There are relatively strict visa laws when applying for a job in America. There are plenty of people to help you apply for the correct one should you get to that stage. You will be expected to already hold the right to work in the USA when applying for jobs, so make sure you have done your research and applied for a visa before seriously searching and applying. You can use online job searches to apply or use a university careers service. Getting sponsorship from a company is also possible, but will only usually happen if you are transferring from a UK branch of the same company. If you are applying for a job in a particular skill, you may be eligible for the H brand of visas - these are limited visas are usually completed by an employer rather than an individual. You will also need to look into a Student F1 visa.
If you want to apply for an internship or work experience, you can apply for a Student J1 visa. This allows you to temporarily work for up to a year in most cases, although for some trainee programmes, up to 18 months. This visa option is perfect for those wanting to do a short stint in The States and you don’t have to have the visa before applying. Some companies will make these arrangements for you and may even have you fill out an exam in the same vein as the IELTS Test.
For those wanting to volunteer in an unpaid role, the B1 visa is the one for you. There are specific conditions, so definitely check these before applying but is perfect if you plan to undertake charity or religious work.
What experience will I gain?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right step is to better your career or improve your skills. Working abroad is a great addition to any CV, and writing a student CV is tough if you don't have anything good to write about, but now you will! Although some people may think that working abroad is the equivalent of taking a break in a career or putting it on hold, it can actually hugely benefit your CV and future job prospects.
Having this experience on a CV shows potential employers that you are willing to place yourself out of your comfort zone. It will also look great on your personal statement if you do apply to go to university after your apprenticeship. Moving abroad is a big step for anyone and it shows you’re adaptable and quick to learn. Depending on the job and the country, you may have picked up a new language, this is thought of very highly when applying for any job at any stage of your life. For example, those looking to work in the world of sport (who will already be aware of the importance of sport at university) a football apprenticeshop abroad can really make you standout from other applicants.
The Turing Scheme
Previously, students would have taken an apprenticeship abroad under the Erasmus programme. However, sinceBrexit, UK universities and institutes no longer have access to the programme, resulting in the creation of the Turing Scheme, named after Alan Turing.
The Turing Scheme allows you to experience a fixed period of time in study or work, a bit like year 10 work experience and is fully supported by the education system. Most of the hard work with organising will be for you and you won’t be too far away from home, so again, this is a great option for those who want to give it a try!
What are the alternatives?
You, of course, do not have to take an apprenticeship if you don’t want to. There are a range of other options available to students.
Apprenticeships in your own country are always a possibility. This will mean that you will not need to look into other visas to make sure you stay. However, it will mean that you will have a slightly smaller list of opportunities open to you, as foreign apprenticeships tend to have more options open.
Lots of students look into the possibilities of either a gap year or teaching English as a foreign language. Both of these allow students to travel but offer either unlimited possibilities or allow for more focused learning and work.
Is an apprenticeship abroad the right step for me?
Working abroad is definitely something to consider carefully. If you are a home bird and struggle with a weekend away from the family, living and working abroad might not be for you, no matter how exciting the job. It is, however, always a good idea to challenge yourself, so if you’re on the fence, find out how easy it is to come home should you change your mind.
Think about where you’re at in your career - whether it’s before, after or instead of a degree, what does this mean for your future prospects? Does this apprenticeship give you everything you need for a longterm career or will you need a university qualification alongside this.
For those seeking adventure, working abroad will definitely give you this. You’ll be earning while gaining skills and lifelong experiences that your future employers will love.
Carefully consider all of your options and research locations and available jobs before making up your mind. It is always worth talking to a school or college careers adviser and even having a chat with friends and family. No matter what your experience abroad may be, it will more often than not be beneficial to all aspects of your life!