The Value of Using Apprenticeship Schemes

Many students today have a difficult choice to make once they complete their education. There are so many career options and pathways to take to kick-start their journey into the world of work.

Young people are posed with the task of choosing which path to take and it is typically one of two options – College/ University or Apprenticeship.

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, it is a time to celebrating the impact, commitment, and successes of all apprentices across the UK. As our final post to round off the week, we wanted to challenge the perception of apprenticeships and just how valuable they are.

How Do Apprenticeships Work?

While apprenticeships appear to be very common across the UK, they are still relatively unknown to various stakeholders in our economy, including parents and teachers.

The best way to describe an apprenticeship is that it combines on-the-job learning and upskilling with studies alongside – this is typically towards a qualification at a College, University or even from the employer themselves. The apprentice will also earn a salary while completing the scheme. An apprenticeship can come in various forms, from intermediate (College level) to degree level, and can last between one to six years.

Depending on the employer, some apprenticeships may require the individual to work across departments to develop a wider organisational understanding, whereas others may require specialism in a certain part of the company.

Challenging the Negative Perceptions of Apprenticeships

While apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular for school leavers over recent years, there are still negative connotations that come with the scheme, leaving many young people questioning whether it is the right choice for them.

Some interesting statistics from Investors in People said:

  • 53% of young people had not considered doing an apprenticeship.
  • 16% of young people said that their school or college did not provide enough materials or information to help them decide whether apprenticeships was the right choice for them.
  • 11% of young people said that apprenticeships had a reputation for being low-skilled pathway options.

Awareness of apprenticeships has come a long way since its creation. However, more recognition and promotion of these schemes could be just what young people need to take apprenticeships much more seriously.

Mark Richardson, Partner at BB&J Commercial said “I remember very well how daunting the prospect of going to University full time was, even though it was a long time ago. Instead I was determined to go down the route of ‘on the job’ training whilst studying at the same time. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the easy option. There is even more work involved balancing the demands of a proper job and also studying as well. I think the combination of getting practical workplace experience and earning a wage sets people apart from those who go to University, because that is not for everyone. As an employer, I have great admiration for someone who wants to go down the apprenticeship route and it is an absolute pleasure to provide a working environment where people can learn and grow.”

The Benefits of an Apprenticeship

Money – Apprentices can earn a salary and do not obtain student debt through the scheme.

Learning – Apprentices can learn transferable skills, subject related knowledge, and even put their learning into practice while completing their assessments.

Networking – By completing an apprenticeship, the individual can expand their professional network through their colleagues, clients they work with and other external bodies.

Apprenticeships Can Reduce the Skills Gap

To conclude, there is no right or wrong pathway for young people. It truly boils down to personal choice and what the individual would like to achieve or become in the future.

Amey Hellen, Digital Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator said, “Since recently completing a work placement myself and knowing people who have completed apprenticeships, I understand the power it has on shaping the future of education. Not everyone has a strong academic ability and equally, there are others who may struggle with coming to terms with the working environment. By creating a blended approach of practical and theory, the individual can experience applied learning, whereby they are not just gaining practical skills and knowledge in a professional environment, they are also applying this knowledge to the core fundamentals of their chosen field.”

“With more and more young professionals becoming employed by organisations, I hope that the next generation will become highly skilled, talented workers, or even possibly leaders sooner and get to be the spokespeople of change and encourage more people to complete apprenticeships.”


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