If you’re getting ready to leave school and head into the world of work, the chances are that your tutors will have discussed two major life routes with you: jumping straight into a job or continuing with further education in order to get into university. But if you know what career you want, and university isn’t calling to you, there is another path that is backed with incredible results for your career.
In this article we’ll highlight the inner workings of an apprenticeship, what you can do, and the future you can look forward to as you make your first move towards the career ladder.
Why should I opt for an apprenticeship?
Unlike a full-time college course or university, apprenticeships offer you the unique ability to train for a specialist role while also supporting your training with classroom study. By being in the workplace, you will benefit from having an expert in the field teaching you first-hand the procedures of that job. Available to people aged 16 and above, apprenticeships can last anywhere from one to three years depending on the level and qualifications being studied.
You’ll be doing more than just basic tasks too. In an apprenticeship, you will be given a real workload and tasks that need actioning, making not only a theoretical difference, but having a genuine impact on the business you are working for. You might feel like you are diving in at the deep end, but you will be gaining real and valuable experience that will set you up for a successful career.
As you progress through your apprenticeship, your employer will test your capabilities by giving you more responsibilities. Apprentices are workers and are treated as employees, but they can also access student benefits like study facilities and student discounts.
Whichever sector you prefer to work in, you’ll likely find an apprenticeship offering. Industries you may have previously thought had links with apprenticeships probably do and you don’t have to be tied to a degree qualification to land that dream job. Employers value the experience you will gain in an apprenticeship, and they know you will be able to already do some of the jobs they give you because you have had experience in it before. Plus, for those jobs that do need degree level education, degree and higher apprenticeships are always available.
The benefits of an apprenticeship
Not only will you get a taste of the career you are aiming for, but you’ll also line yourself up to achieve your dream job at the end! A report in 2018 found that 65 per cent of apprentices were in full-time employment at the end of their apprenticeship scheme, meaning that you may not even need to worry about looking for a job when your apprenticeship ends. Furthermore, apprentices who gain a level two apprenticeship are more likely to be employed in a related occupation than those who achieve level two classroom-based study.
Plus, you’ll never have to look far for support in the workplace – you’re there to work, but you’re also there to learn, and your employer will guide you through the challenges of getting to grips with your new environment. You will get support from your employer as well as the college if you ever need help or are struggling.
There are many levels of apprenticeship that you can explore, including degree level apprenticeships. Unlike doing a degree, an apprenticeship won’t cost you. You will be in no debt; you won’t have to pay any fees, and you will be paid a wage for the skills you learn and the work you do, while gaining a degree
What’s more, completing an apprenticeship could see you gain promotions with greater ease. This could be amazing for your career coming out of school and going straight into a company you might one day be running. You could have the edge over other employees because you have learnt many areas of the business – from the bottom level to the top, you will have expert knowledge.
What’s in the standard day for an apprentice?
- Work and study – most of the time you will be in your workplace, but one or two days a week, you will still be able to have that college lifestyle, making friends with other people that are in apprenticeships similar to yours.
- Taking time off – as you are working a real job, you will get paid when you take holidays.
- Support and feedback – you will always get feedback on your work, whether that is your apprenticeship work or the work you are doing with your employer. This can be in the form of weekly or monthly catch-ups where you can voice your concerns or tell your employer what you are enjoying doing.
Even if your teacher hasn’t suggested them, be sure to look into apprenticeships as a potential life path. University can be the right choice for some people but not everyone, and even as an apprentice, you can still go on to achieve degree-level education.