It has long been thought that going to university is the best path to lead you to employment in the future. Whilst that may still be true in some sectors, today many young people are opting to do an apprenticeship instead. In my experience, this is more beneficial and has the potential to open more doors in the future compared to a university course.
A survey completed by the Chartered Management Institute has shown that 57% of 1000 parents of 11 – 18-year olds thought that apprenticeships offered a better chance of getting a good job. 49% of these parents would also encourage their child to start an apprenticeship instead of applying for university. Anna Milton, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, also reinforced the apprenticeship scheme for young people;
“University has often been the only route to a successful career, but apprenticeships can be a great way to give you the skills you need to get the job you want.”
The ANS Academy has proven this for me. I completed my apprenticeship in 2017 and this awarded me with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Information Technology meaning I gained the qualification needed for my position of Technical Analyst at the time. I was given hands-on experience in a fast-paced environment whilst being offered the time and resources needed to complete the course.
Entering the workplace at 16 was really intimidating but the academy team were incredibly supportive. They answered all my burning questions and got everyone in the group interacting from the get go with team building tasks. Within a few days I had made some great friends, friends I still work with now.
I’m a real advocate of apprenticeships for so many reasons. I don’t enjoy sitting in a classroom all day having to learn from a boring text book. I wanted to get into the world of working straight away, and when I say straight away, I mean it. 2 weeks after I finished year 11, I started my first day at ANS.
Many of my school friends have just completed their A-Levels this year, some have done really well and are going to universities such as Oxford, while others are unsure of the next steps. Those who haven’t performed so well are left in the position they were in at the start of college, with no clear career path for the future. Would they have had this issue if they’d have dived into an apprenticeship instead? Some employers care more about experience than grades. Grades can only take you so far, experience can take you much further.
Sometimes money talks too; go into higher education and rack up £9,000 of debt each year or earn while you learn in an apprenticeship. Be £27,000 in debt after 3 years with a potential 20 years (maybe even more) payment plan or have money coming into your account every month from an apprenticeship. Seems like a no brainer to me!
This year, 31% less people will be starting an apprenticeship compared to 2016-2017. But why is this? Lack of interest? I think not. Sadly, a lot of companies can’t get their head around the levy. It’s a quick research task, I would know, I’ve done it myself.
The apprenticeship levy – a tax on UK employers to encourage more specific funds to be dedicated to apprenticeship roles – was launched in 2017 by the government. The levy is important, and I believe all companies need be aware of it.
There is a national shortfall of mechanical engineers in the UK, and it’s becoming difficult to find qualified staff in the industry. Recruitment agencies charge HUGE fees to find talent these days, because they are good at it. Due to this shortfall, the UK will have to look for engineers from overseas more and more.
After Brexit, it’s uncertain whether sourcing staff from overseas will be possible, so we could be left with no option but to go through costly recruiters. Using apprenticeships will allow us to nurture homegrown talent, putting the UK back on the map, especially in the technology industry.
If you work in a business that is considering offering an apprenticeship in a specific sector, my advice is to do it. Apprentices are a brilliant way to kickstart an exciting career. Going to university will cost you thousands in fees but the knowledge, qualifications and experience you gain from an apprenticeship are invaluable.