What is an Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship combines on-the-job experience working with experienced professionals as well as continuing your education in that field of expertise. Oh, did we mention… you also get paid!
Working with those who have experience allows you to learn tricks of the trade as well as being able to learn visually and kinaesthetically (learning by doing). Being able to immediately put your theoretical learning into practice means there’s less time for you to forget or become unclear about how something is done.
Having experienced members around you is so beneficial when undertaking an apprenticeship as they act as their teachers, mentors and friends. This leads to a huge confidence boost in the apprentice with the belief in themselves that they are capable of producing the same quality of work as seasoned professionals.
Imagine working with people who have years of experience, not only in that industry but in life too. How valuable could that be to a young person? That experienced colleague could show the young person how to do things, how they work and how to go about their day-to-day responsibilities. This is surely a better way to learn than solely reading out of a book?
Common Misconceptions of Apprenticeships
In recent times, apprenticeships have been wrongly perceived as young people “just doing the menial tasks” of the business. This means people think that apprentices are just making tea and coffee for more experienced members of the team. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Apprenticeships are often perceived in this light and in fact, they are far from this viewpoint. You will have a real job role in a real company with a job description and responsibilities. The level of apprenticeship can sometimes influence the level of responsibility, but you are a real employee.
Another misconception around apprenticeships is that they are only for young people or for those that didn’t achieve their target grades in school. This is also untrue! Some people prefer to work, earn money and still being able to learn. To add to this, a lot of employers nowadays are leaning towards experience over qualifications. That’s not to say that going to university is not the right option… because for some people it is and that’s great! It’s a matter of personal preference, but you need to know that one is not lesser than the other.
Degree apprenticeships are another option available; they offer a combination of on-the-job learning and academic study at degree level. This allows for students to work, earn and learn whilst having their university fees covered by the apprenticeship levy. This gives you the best of both worlds as you have a foot in the door and also a degree-level qualification. You can do a masters degree apprenticeship too!
Before looking to apply for an apprenticeship, you should aim to understand exactly what it is. That way you can have a clear picture of your immediate future and also set goals for yourself based on what you’ll learn and where you want to be after your apprenticeship. Apprentices are often offered a job after completing their apprenticeship, so looking at the company you’re applying to do an apprenticeship with is vital as you may be there for a considerable period of time!
It is really important that you understand that you’ll have to work hard, prove yourself and show exactly what you’re capable of. You must also remember that you’ll be working with experienced colleagues who have years of understanding and knowledge, so showing them respect and the right attitude is vital for your progression.
Fundamentally, apprenticeships can sometimes be seen as a ‘lesser’ opportunity compared to university. However, it’s all about the individual. Some may want to go to university, some may feel an apprenticeship is better suited to them and their career goals. An apprenticeship will not only enhance your skills but help you grow as a person too.
Degree apprenticeship programmes incorporate both the work and study element, with a degree as the academic qualification, so they are a great option for those that still want a degree too.
For more information and to see apprenticeship opportunities, visit Not Going To Uni.