Apprenticeships - Guidance for Individuals

Choose a career in the finishes and interiors sector and you could be working on anything from a state-of-the-art airport terminal or a cool hotel, to a multi-million-pound refurbishment of a Premier league football club.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job, with training. You are employed and paid an initially lower wage to perform a particular role, with an understanding that you will be trained through experience and qualifications to perform the role to a defined standard. Your employer will give you tasks to perform, and the training provider will give you the skills to perform those tasks.

An apprenticeship gives you hands on experience, training, a salary and the opportunity to gain qualifications while you work. The opportunity to combine work with study and earn while you learn.

Some projects might require fire protection or even bomb-proofing being built into the design. Often you will work alongside electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilation engineers and painters and decorators. You might even get to work abroad. Best of all is the choice of career opportunities open to you within the finishes and interiors sector. The skills you acquire as a trades person will help you progress right to the top. In fact, many successful managing directors of interiors companies started out as trade operatives first.

How to start you apprentice journey


The first step is deciding what you would like to do.  There are a myriad of apprenticeships available in the finishes and interiors sector, from craft and trade apprenticeships, through supervision and management, design, engieering and surveying.

You can visit our career section to find out a bit more about career options in the finishes and interiors sector to find out more about your options.  It is also worth keeping an open mind and looking at potential opportunities being advertised in your area (we can always provide more information on what a job entails if it isn’t something you have heard of or know much about).

How to find an employer

Starting an apprenticeship is even easier if you have an employer who wants to take you on. This could be a small or large business, a local firm, a family member or a self-employed person.

If you haven’t got an employer yet, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to find somebody who wants to hire you as an apprentice:

  • Search online for vacancies in your area
  • Visit your local college, specialist provider or apprenticeship managing agency to register your interest, they may be able to help you find an employer
  • Search for local fit-out and finishes companies online and send them a CV and covering letter asking for an apprenticeship.
  • Ask around – maybe one of your friends, family members or neighbors has an opening at their place of work. You could even pop requests through people’s letterboxes on your street
  • Keep an eye out for local construction sites or vans and make a note of the details of the companies. Then send them your CV and covering letter asking for an apprenticeship
  • Check the local jobs pages for opportunities advertised by local employers

When speaking to employers let them know that, depending on their circumstances, they could receive up to £12,000 in grants from the government or Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for taking you on. This will help them to meet the costs of employing you.

Send your details to of call FIS on 0121 707 0077 and give us details of what you are looikng for and we would be happy to talk through options and make enquiries and contact employers in your area.

Differences across the UK

The way in which Apprenticeships are applied for and delivered, may vary depending on where you live in the UK.  For information specific to where you live click on relevant link below:

Interview hints and tips

  • If you are offered an interview, do some research about the company and think of questions that you could ask them.
  • Dress smartly for your interview and aim to arrive at least 15 minutes before your interview time to give your potential employer a good impression.
  • If you’re successful in your interview, your CITB Apprenticeship Officer will organise your enrollment with a specialist college or training provider and coordinate all the other arrangements for your apprenticeship.
  • Remember, employers are looking for punctuality, reliability and having a real interest in the job, coupled with a willingness to learn. Any experience which you can bring to the work involved will be an advantage.
  • Talk to friends and family who might know something about the job and learn as much as you can about the work.

Graduate opportunities

Options for graduates wishing to work in this specialist sector are increasing. Young professionals, who would like to pursue a career in construction, should consider a general degree like building, quantity surveying or project management and then look into employment opportunities either on their year out in industry or as they leave university.

Apprenticeship success stories

George an Apprentice Design Engineer from Optima success story Click here

Two drylining apprentices for Errigal Contracts are on the road to Shanghai Click here

FIS have a dedicated team to support you in starting your career in our sector

For advice on careers and qualifications in the finishes and interiors sector and help link you up with an employer contact the FIS Team on 0121 707 0077 or email