During school, I was given the impression that apprenticeships are for students who want to study courses in plumbing, electrics, construction, hairdressing or beauty. There was never a teacher who turned to me and said that there are so many more ‘vocational-style’ apprenticeships available in subjects that are considered more ‘academic’, such as Business Management.
Throughout sixth form, I was pressured to apply and attend university, something I wasn’t sure I wanted to do. However, we had UCAS Workshops where everyone applied for university together with the help from tutors and teachers so it was just something I did along with everyone else. Even though I got places, I wanted something more than the traditional route.
Not having the knowledge and resources of alternative pathways has made me passionate about increasing awareness of alternative routes in higher education and ensuring that young people are aware of all their options. I don’t fault my sixth form for this; I believe that there is a huge knowledge gap country-wide about apprenticeships in general.
In order to facilitate my passion, I joined the Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (YAAN), a group of past and current apprentices aged between 18-26 that are members of a local YAAN in their region. The core purpose of the YAAN is to grow and expand the apprenticeship programme by engaging with and providing information on apprenticeships to young people through a number of different activities and events, including schools/sixth forms and young people in school academic years 11-13. My role as an ambassador is to promote apprenticeships and inspire other young people by describing my direct experience.
I recently attended the YAAN training day for the South East along with other young apprentices like me in my region. It was an insightful day to learn more about the network and what they do and we then put together a presentation and presented it to the group as we would on a school visit.
I am really looking forward to being part of the Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network and seeing what opportunities arise as a result and I would encourage other young apprentices to sign up for the programme too, to develop your knowledge and personal presentation skills and help to educate others about apprenticeships in the process.