Being able to connect with other apprentices can be an important part of the apprenticeship experience. You can share experiences, learn from other apprentices, and discuss and get support with any concerns or issues you might have.
Why become part of a Network?
Whether you are the only apprentice at your employer or part of a bigger group, you can sometimes feel isolated. Being part of a network is a great way to join in and develop those links and can even lead to long-term friendships. It can also help you build your confidence and provides opportunities to develop skills like presenting or chairing meetings.
It might be you decide to work with your employer and other apprentices where you work to build your own network. Encouraging other apprentices to get involved will help make them feel part of the team and is a brilliant way to share your experiences and to support anyone who has any questions or concerns.
There are many other different types of networks. Here are some you might decide to contact or become part of.
Apprenticeship Ambassador Network Apprenticeship Ambassador Network
The Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN) is a group of employers and current/ former apprentices who volunteer their time to influence and inform future apprentices.
Becoming an apprentice ambassador is an opportunity to share your experience of being an apprentice and champion the next generation of apprentices. Apprentice ambassadors support a variety of events and activities that aim to inspire and guide future apprentices in making informed career choices connected to technical education.
The network also gives you the chance to hear from apprentice ambassadors as they share their personal apprenticeship experiences through videos and blogs.
The AAN is free to join.
Association of Apprentices Association of Apprentices
The Association of Apprentices (AoA) is a membership organisation created to connect and support apprentices across the UK. The AoA provides a place to build connections, share your experiences and get advice from your peers.
Membership is free for current and recently completed apprentices of all ages, in all sectors and regions and provides you with access to:
- AoA Connect, a social and professional networking app where you can meet like-minded and diverse groups of apprentices, sign up for events, vote in polls, and connect with peers.
- AoA Learn, a platform with 1000s of resources for personal development on subjects ranging from communication skills to self-awareness, to managing your career, or simply improving your Excel skills.
- Tailor-made events, from priority tickets to apprentice-only networking events, to monthly, virtual masterclasses led by expert speakers.
- News, information and offers specifically for the apprentice community.
Visit their website to register and access the community.
Disabled Apprentice Network Disabled Apprentice Network
The Disabled Apprentice Network (DAN) brings together current apprentices and those who have recently finished their apprenticeship.
DAN welcomes all disabled apprentices and those experiencing barriers at work and training because of their impairment, mental/physical health condition or neurodivergence.
The Network is a lively and friendly forum for disabled apprentices, where you can share your experiences and offer views and proposals on what could improve apprenticeships for disabled people.
Hosted by Disability Rights UK the network is free to join.
Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) - Apprentice Panel
The main purpose of the apprentice panel is to make sure the views of apprentices are represented across the work of IfATE. IfATE is the organisation that works with employers to develop, approve, review and revise apprenticeships and technical qualifications. Its aim is to ensure that technical education is of the highest quality, so that every employer and individual can access the skills they need.
The panel is made up of apprentices of all ages and levels and from all types of industries. They work with IfATE, wider government and others to identify and promote opportunities for improving the experience of all apprentices.
The panel is not a membership network, but there are opportunities through the year to apply to join, either to replace outgoing members or to increase representation of a particular level or industry. If you’d like to get involved, you can find more details on IfATE’s website.
The apprentice panel has developed a guide to quality apprenticeships and improving the apprentice experience. The guide is called Raising the Standards and has useful information aimed at employers, training providers and apprentices.
Youth Employment UK Youth Employment UK
Youth Employment UK are experts on youth employment. They support young people by giving them a voice on youth employment issues, and by providing them with careers support and tools to help them develop their skills, knowledge and confidence for their future.
They are not a membership network however you can get involved by volunteering to be a Youth Ambassador if you are aged 16-30. Youth Ambassadors come from all backgrounds, and you can volunteer to be a peer role model; share your voice and help shape views on policy. Youth Ambassadors
They have a comprehensive range of free support, advice and useful information and articles written by apprentices for young people including those already on an apprenticeship Tag: In Apprenticeships
Youth Employment UK also offers a free, online programme for young people already on apprenticeships to help you build career confidence during your training.
Care Experienced Apprentice Network (Care X)
The Care Experienced Apprentice Network is a place where care experienced individuals who are on an apprenticeship or thinking about starting an apprenticeship can come together and network. They work together to amplify the importance of apprenticeships for care experienced young people, support one another, socialise, and share experiences and best practice.
The network is always looking to grow and hear from others with the aim of changing how care experienced individuals are supported while on and after an apprenticeship. With the help of the Young Peoples Bench Mark Forum (YPBMF) the network share their views directly with practitioners and local authority managers to encourage growth and change.
The support the network offers is different; members of the network support each other academically, socially, and emotionally through every step of their educational and developmental journey.
There are many more opportunities available to you. Speak to your employer or training provider for more information on the best networks and forums for your sector. You can also search on-line to find out more.
Another possible source of support during your apprenticeship is a mentor.
A mentor could be someone you work with but separate to a line manager. It might be a former apprentice who has completed their apprenticeship and can use their experiences to help you. It should always be someone you feel comfortable talking to and who has the right experiences to help you meet your goals.
See if your employer or training provider can help you find a mentor. Agree with your mentor what you want to get out of the relationship so you're both clear and they can best support you.
A mentor might be able to help you by:
- helping you adjust to your workplace or apprenticeship programme
- helping you build confidence, independence, and self-belief
- supporting your personal development and wellbeing
- sharing their knowledge and experiences
- providing advice, guidance and feedback
- acting as a sounding board for ideas
- offering encouragement and support
- identifying development opportunities and setting goals
When you have achieved your apprenticeship, you might also find it rewarding to become a mentor for another apprentice and offer support to help them achieve their apprenticeship. Speak to you employer and training provider or make contact with some of the networks in this resource who may have opportunities to volunteer or get involved.
Need further help or support?
Contact the Apprenticeship helpline for advice and guidance.
Telephone: 0800 0150 400
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm