Young people are their parents will nervously await the results of this year's GCSE examinations today.

There has been a boost in apprenticeships in the East of England, with 34,300 apprenticeship starts in the region since August 2014, in light of this The National Apprenticeship Service is issuing a fresh call for young people and employers to think about apprenticeships as an alternative to university.

Apprentices now have the opportunity to ‘get in and go far’ with an apprenticeship at some of Britain’s biggest and brightest companies, including Google, ASOS and ITV.

With three levels of apprenticeships, intermediate, advanced and higher/degree, people with varying skills and qualifications can consider apprenticeships as a great option for a successful future.

Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular and rewarding option for young people offering the opportunity to earn and learn in a real job while gaining a real qualification, up to degree level in some cases, and providing a real alternative to university.

The National Careers Service is here to provide free, impartial advice to young people at this time of year, whatever route they are planning to follow, if they achieved the results they were hoping for or not.

• With this being the first year that young people are required to stay in education or training until they turn 18, there’s never been a better time to consider an apprenticeship.

• Apprenticeships are popular. Over 2.3 million apprenticeship starts took place since 2010 and the government is committed to delivering 3 million more by 2020.

• More than 850,000 people were earning and learning on an apprenticeship in 2013/14.

Of those: - 90% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship (includes 2% self-employed) - 71% stay with the same employer - A quarter of all former apprentices had received a promotion (23%) within 12 months of finishing, and for intermediate and advanced apprentices, three quarters reported taking on more responsibility in their job after completing their apprenticeship.

• There are up to 27,000 apprenticeship vacancies available online at any one time, including higher and degree apprenticeships, ranging from foundation degrees, HNDs and full honours degrees, representing more than 100 different job roles. Apprenticeships are available in over 170 industries including aerospace, fashion, broadcast media and finance

A live Q and A will be held on Twitter and Facebook with a National Careers Service adviser on from 11am on Facebook (National Careers Service) or at 2pm on Twitter (@NationalCareers), using the hashtag #resultsadvice

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “This is an exciting time of year for young people, but it can also be worrying as they wait to hear what their future holds.

" We want young people to know that whatever their results, an apprenticeship can offer them a successful future.

"We want it to become the norm for young people to choose between an apprenticeship and university as equally prestigious routes to a great career and secure finances.”

“Apprenticeships have increased at a record rate.

"More than 850,000 people were earning and learning on an apprenticeship in the 2013/14 academic year. And it’s easy to see why.

"Apprenticeships enable young people and adults to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification, up to degree level, and a real future.

"There’s never been a better time to become an apprentice.”

• To start an apprenticeship, you need to be 16 or over, living in England and not in full-time education. All apprentices should work for at least 30 hours a week, except in exceptional circumstances. All apprenticeships must be at least 12 months duration and lead to the achievement of an apprenticeship standard.

• The new Find an apprenticeship vacancy site, managed by the National Apprenticeship Service, enables people to search and apply for an apprenticeship anywhere in England.

• For anyone receiving their results, and not sure what to do next, the National Careers Service offers free, confidential, expert advice to help young people make well informed choices, based on their individual circumstances. Advisers are available on the phone on 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm seven days a week or online by searching for National Careers Service.

To find out more about apprenticeships and traineeships, or to apply, please contact the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 400 or search for vacancies online: