Connecting with other apprentices is an important part of the apprenticeship experience. You can learn from other apprentices, share what you’re going through and talk about your issues.
Why join a network?
Whether you’re the only apprentice where you work or one of many, there are times where you can feel alone or isolated. Being part of a network is a great way to help you feel like you belong. You’ll get to make connections with people in your industry, build your confidence while developing your networking skills and could even discover some lasting friendships.
There are many networks and other support groups you can join as an apprentice.
Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN)
The AAN is a group of employers and former or current apprentices. They volunteer their time so they can help:
- champion apprenticeships
- inspire more young people to pursue an apprenticeship
- encourage employers to offer more apprenticeships
As an apprentice, you can join the AAN for free. Members have access to mentorship, guidance and other resources that will enhance your apprenticeship. You’ll also be able to meet AAN ambassadors and hear about their experiences as an apprentice.
Association of Apprentices (AOA)
The AoA is a membership organisation that supports apprentices across the UK. They’ll provide you with the chance to build connections, share your experiences and get advice from your peers. If you’re a current or recent apprentice, you can sign up for an AoA account for free.
Black Apprentice Network (BAN)
Founded in October 2022, BAN is a growing community for apprentices of African and Caribbean descent to connect. They hold professional up-skilling session with big name companies and social events to help you increase your network. BAN also provide support to aspiring apprentices through mentorship, events and application training.
Care Experienced Apprentice Network (Care X)
If you’re a care experienced apprentice, or are about to start an apprenticeship, this network can help you. Care X is different to most apprentice networks. Members support each other academically, socially, and emotionally through their apprenticeship. If you’re care experienced, you can sign up to Care X.
Disabled Apprentice Network (DAN)
DAN connects current and previous apprentices to share their experiences and views on how apprenticeships can be improved for disabled people. Hosted by Disability Rights UK, who work with disabled people’s organisations across the country, DAN is free to join.
Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) apprentice panel
IfATE works with employers to develop, approve, review and revise apprenticeships and technical qualifications. IfATE's apprentice panel makes sure views of apprentices are represented across their work.
IfATE’s apprentice panel is made up of apprentices of all ages and levels and from all types of industries. The panel isn’t a membership network, but there are opportunities through the year for you to get involved. You can find more details on IfATE’s website.
Youth Employment UK
Youth Employment UK aren’t an apprentice network, but they support young people by helping them gain the skills and knowledge they need for a successful career. Find out how you can become a member of Youth Employment UK.
You can also get mentored during your apprenticeship. A mentor could help you:
- adjust to your workplace or apprenticeship programme
- build your confidence, independence and self-belief
- set goals and identify opportunities for you to develop
- with advice, guidance and feedback by acting as a sounding board for your ideas
- with your personal development and wellbeing by sharing their knowledge and experiences
- by offering encouragement and support
A mentor could be a former apprentice or someone you work with, but not your line manager. It should be someone you feel comfortable talking to, and who has the right experiences to help you meet your goals.
Ask your employer or training provider if they can help you find a mentor. After you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you might want to become a mentor for another apprentices. Speak to your employer and training provider or contact an apprentice network to find out how you can get involved.