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Erica Buist | Contributor | Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Unusual Apprenticeships You Never Knew Existed

Unusual Apprenticeships You Never Knew Existed

The Debrief: Fancy becoming a wig maker? A diamond mounter? An errr... equine dentist? Then read on...

Want to escape the boring 9-to-5 existence with an interesting and unusual job? Think that the only way to the top is by going to uni? Well, there’s more than one path you can take. Here are 10 amazing jobs you can get by skipping the degree and doing an apprenticeship instead.

1. Web and radio journalist

Get yourself in the running for jobs at the BBC, ITV, and beyond. The BBC is running a series of Get In events all over the UK for people who want to find out about the BBC digital journalism apprenticeship. All you need is five GCSEs (A-C grade including Maths and English) and a marvellous journalistic brain. ITV is also warming up to open applications for their apprenticeships in June for a September start. 

2. Radiation monitor for a nuclear plant

Try not to get distracted by the fact that this was basically Homer Simpson’s job, because as you’d ‘play a main role in the safe monitoring of personnel and work environments’, you’d need to be on your game. EDF Energy run four-year apprenticeships in maintaining their power stations.

3. Wig-maker

We know, ‘wig-maker’s apprentice’ sounds like a supporting character that was cut from Sweeney Todd, but wigs aren’t just for people who aren’t happy with the hair(s) God gave them. The Royal Shakespeare Company say wig-making is ‘a complicated, highly-skilled and largely dying art, but one that is still in demand for almost every show we produce.’ The Royal Opera House offers various backstage apprenticeships, so keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities this summer.

4. Trainee Crime Scene Photographer 

This is a level-three apprenticeship that focuses on forensic photography. You will then train to attend crime scenes to ‘produce a permanent visual record of accidents and crime scenes for use as evidence in court, and for measurement and analysis’, snapping things like finger/footprints, bullet holes, tyre marks, blood splatters. Basically, these photos will get ZERO likes. 

5. Fashion And Textiles Technician

Think the only way to get into fashion is a degree followed by a stream of unpaid internships locked in a fashion cupboard? Think again. A fashion and textiles technician apprenticeship allows you to focus in on one area of the industry, such as apparel, textiles, footwear or saddlery. And depending on where you want to go next, roles range from fabric technicians who test the breathability and resistance of fabrics to machinists and pattern cutters. 

6. Pathology Support Worker

Always fancied whacking on your lab coat and safety goggles in the style of Emilia Fox every morning (you know, like in Silent Witness – KEEP UP)? You could do a pathology support apprenticeship, which qualifies you to support healthcare professionals in labs. 

7. Diamond mounter

If you’re good with your hands and like precision, accuracy and jewellery, consider learning to be a diamond mounter. You would make jewellery by constructing the metal framework for the diamond(s) to fit into. The Goldsmiths Company runs a five-year apprenticeship scheme.

8. Catering and hospitality

Premier Inn has pledged to take on at least 2,000 apprentices by 2018, so if catering and hospitality is your thing, skip the degree. Earn-as-you-learn is a hilariously better deal. Plus, you’ll be the only one of your mates who knows how to work one of those trouser press things. Bonus! 

9. Formula One engineer

Calling all motorheads! Formula One is opening its doors to apprentices in the hopes of reversing their image as ‘an exclusive sport that lacks accessibility.’ Mercedes also wants ‘talented, intelligent and enthusiastic’ newbs to join their engineering team.

10. Equine dentist

If you want to work with teeth, but only if they’re enormous and in the mouth of a being who doesn’t understand the phrase, ‘Please release my hand,’ equine dentistry could be for you. The British Association of Equine Dentistry Technicians recommends a three-year apprenticeship with one of their registered, fully-qualified members. Gosh, three years. You could qualify to trim cow hooves in a couple of days, I’m just saying…

Liked this? You might also be interested in: 

Read more about apprenticeships

Are We Becoming Generation Apprenticeship? 

Tea Is Critical, Food Is Your Enemy And Other Things You Discover In Your First Year Of Work 

Follow Erica on Twitter @ericabuist

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