"Its opened doors for me that would otherwise not have been possible "
Young people have been learning new crafts and trades under the guidance of an expert since as early as the middle ages, making apprenticeships one of the oldest employment traditions.
Time and technology have caused dramatic changes in the development of apprenticeships, but their purpose remains unchanged- apprentices earn and learn on-the-job to get the skills needed for their future career.
The common perception of an apprentice is a teenager leaving school to pursue a vocational trade. Yet these stereotypes are becoming outdated, as the 2018 Newcastle College Ofsted report found the college to provide a breadth of advice and options for those considering an apprenticeship. The last decade has challenged attitudes towards apprenticeships, and they are now recognised as an accessible, mainstream route into employment.
An apprenticeship could be ideal for you
The only requirements for beginning an apprenticeship are that the individual lives in England, is not in full-time education and is at least 16. There is no age limit for a potential apprentice.
An apprenticeship provides opportunities to build new skill sets and develop existing knowledge, for people of all ages. Even if you have a degree or other qualifications, you can still apply for an apprenticeship.
Myth busting- An apprenticeship does not mean ‘free work’
Earning money whilst learning a new skill is one of the most rewarding aspects of an apprenticeship. If you’re under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of your apprenticeship, you’ll be paid a minimum of £3.70 per hour. Over 19s must be paid the minimum wage for their age after they’ve completed their first year.
Each industry and company will have a varying salary amount, with competitive rates on offer from many, plus once you’ve completed your apprenticeship there’s a chance you may be kept on in a permanent role by the company you’ve been working for.
An apprenticeship can be the route into a variety of careers
The careers most associated with apprentices are those within manual trade, such as engineering and manufacturing. This is because these roles are very practical and require a lot of hands-on skills which are often best taught ‘on-the-job.’
Despite this, many office-based roles now hire apprentices. Did you know you could do apprenticeships in roles such as theatre, digital marketing, web development, sales or even law?
Opportunities to progress into full-time employment from apprenticeships are increasing. Digital marketing agency Mediaworks takes on four apprentices each year to help them gain new skills and gives them the opportunity to progress into full-time employment. Will Hill, now a junior planner within the company, progressed through their apprenticeship scheme in 2018. “I chose to go down the apprenticeship route because I wanted the real-world experience and to earn while I was learning,” he said. “It’s opened doors for me that would otherwise not have been possible so quick and it has put me ahead of the competition as I’ve been taught vital skills and gained experience.”
Manual trade apprenticeships remain popular alongside the newer choices available, but the addition of more industries to the initiative means that a greater variety of skills can be catered to.
An apprenticeship requires a lot of hard work
When young people leave school at 16, they are now able to seek guidance and select an option that suits them best. Whether you choose to pursue A-Levels, vocational study or an apprenticeship, none of those routes are the ‘easy option’ or signify that someone isn’t clever enough to do one of the alternatives.
Apprenticeships allow students to become passionate about a single area of focus, and to develop a sense of practical expertise; whilst A-Levels are more academic and theory based, studying a mix of subjects but typically lacking in any hands-on experience.
Apprentices become experts in their chosen vocation throughout the process. It means learning while you’re actually doing the job that you’re being paid for, but you’ll also spend at least 20% of your time during an apprenticeship studying for and completing work related to your job role, which can be tricky to balance!
Many employers choose to specify for degree-educated recruits but studying to this level is also possible through an apprenticeship. You can now even study an apprenticeship at a level the equivalent of a master’s degree!
There is no set approach when it comes to learning, and an apprenticeship recognises this.
If you are unsure about your choices after school, or you already have a dream career in mind, an apprenticeship could be a great option. You could get a qualification, experience and a wage while you’re doing it!