Apprenticeships can have a direct route into different career branches, and give you the chance to earn while you learn. Although traditional college and university courses can offer academic qualifications and skills, apprenticeships give the chance to accumulate employment experience, qualifications and get paid whilst doing so.
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2020, we caught up with some of our apprentices to gain an insight into life as an apprentice. Types of apprenticeships interviewees have participated in include: Recruitment Resourcer (Level 2) and Business Administration Apprentice (Level 3).
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
“I felt an Apprenticeship would help me gain the skills and knowledge I needed to succeed in my chosen industry. Getting into employment earlier means there’s lots of potential for you to progress in your career quickly. You get a qualification at the end of your course. It also allows you to gain relevant work experience straight away (something you wouldn’t necessarily have time for if you studied for a qualification full-time). You also learn while you earn, which is a bonus.”
“I wanted a change as the idea of trying new things excites me. At the same time, after education, I was keen to get straight into the world of work, the apprenticeship scheme allowed me to continue to develop while at the same time getting straight into full-time employment.”
“I have never been keen on the idea of university; however, I still wanted to learn and develop my career.”
“I choose to do an Apprenticeship to be able to learn a new qualification and at the same time be paid for it.”
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting an apprenticeship?
“If I were speaking to someone who was thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I would tell them to go for it! I was doing things that I would never get to do if I was sat in a classroom. I was working with people who had years of experience. I could ask questions, and they would be really helpful. I would also suggest showing your employer that you are enthusiastic about your new Apprenticeship role and be positive about tackling any tasks and challenges that you get set. A positive, can-do attitude won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated by your colleagues and employer. It can help people see you in a positive light and could lead to more opportunities within your workplace.”
“Do it! Not only is it a great experience, but it’s also something new and a great way to develop yourself.”
“Remember, when choosing your apprenticeship program that it’s not just for the short term, you may be given the opportunity to develop into a full-time role within that company. Luckily for me, my apprenticeship scheme has developed me into a full-time consultant; therefore, I would say make sure you choose a program that you see a future with if the opportunity does arise.”
“I would tell them to start one as it gives you the experience of being in a work environment if you have never been in one before, and it also helps you build confidence to go on and work somewhere in a similar job role.”
How did you find your apprenticeship, what was the process like?
“I was lucky enough to hear about my apprenticeship through a friend who worked in the organisation. However, in terms of the process, I couldn’t fault it. I came in for an interview, got a great understanding of what I would be doing day to day to develop, and everyone was friendly from the get-go. I have only recently begun my apprenticeship, but so far, so good.”
“I searched ‘Apprenticeships’ on gov.uk and used the contact details provided. I spoke to a lady from Lancashire County Council and explained I wanted to do an apprenticeship in Business Administration. She organised a day we could meet up for a chat at the council. I met with her explained what I was looking for in a job. She went through the interview process and prepped me on how to answer questions. She then contacted me and arranged interviews for me. It was a very straight forward process.”
“The process was very straightforward and similar to an ordinary job interview. I applied online, received a phone call, attended an interview, and then started my apprenticeship.”
“I enjoyed doing my apprenticeship as I worked Monday to Friday and did my apprentice work during work hours. The tasks set for me to complete revolved around what I did day to day, therefore it made it easier to complete. The process was easy, as I would meet with my tutor once a month to go over the work I had completed and set new tasks.”
What skills did you learn on your apprenticeship?
“I have only been an apprentice for a couple of months; however, my skills have developed so much already. Key skills include my confidence e.g., on the phones, and dealing with candidates and clients, my communication skills, ability to work as a team, and finally, my organisational skills.”
“I have learned a lot, but in particular key skills include listening – my job meant I had to listen carefully and respond professionally and calmly. At the start, I did struggle with this; however, the training I have received over two years helped. Speaking- I spoke to people face to face and over the phone and felt at the end of my apprenticeship, I was confident and much more professional. Time management – which is a crucial part of our organisation. This entailed planning my day to make sure I had enough time to complete each task
“The most developed and valuable skill I have learned so far is how to negotiate.“
Why did you choose an apprenticeship as opposed to a degree or other course?
“Unlike university, when you have an apprenticeship, you earn a salary while you learn (plus the apprenticeship training you receive is free!). Granted, it isn’t a high salary, but it is enough to provide you with the things you want. Doing an apprenticeship gives you real workplace experience, and will direct you immediately onto the career ladder, giving you the chance to find out what is best for you. A university degree is three years long, and set in an academic environment which differs to the average workplace. Your interests can change over the three year degree time period too, and you may come out of it feeling uninspired. Businesses favour taking on apprentices because they offer great support to UK businesses and the economy.”
“Some employers prefer their employees having practical hands-on work experience rather than just a degree. Those who go to university come out with a formal undergraduate qualification by the end (a Bachelor’s Degree), and apprentices also come out with a formal qualification (such as an NVQ or BTEC). Apprenticeships save you a lot of money in the long run, even though both an apprenticeship and a degree produce professional qualifications – but only apprenticeship qualifications are free. An added bonus of doing an apprenticeship is that you will be able to learn from the professionals who are renowned for what they do.”
“I have always said I do not want to go into University after I have finished college and would much rather go into a job and gain experience in a real-life experience.”
“I never enjoyed being in a school environment, so the fact I could get my Level 3 while doing a job and being paid suited me more. I prefer being in a work environment than being in a School / College.”