The world of work is an ever-changing place and, despite record numbers in employment, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The rise of flexible working, freelancers and influencers has meant a fundamental shift in what the working world was like even as little as ten years ago. It can be hard for those entering the world of work and it’s barely easier for parents trying to offer their children advice on which route to take. If parents aren’t up to speed with the changed working world, can they really offer the best advice to their children over which route to take?
University is a far more common route into the world of work than a generation ago, but it’s not the only pathway to a fulfilling career. Apprenticeships and entry level jobs do not have the same stardust as degrees, but they are an increasingly enticing offer for school leavers and go getters.
Unfortunately, there are multiple outdated myths about entry level jobs and apprenticeships that need to be busted in order for new starters to really choose their best career path.
Myth 1: “Apprenticeships are only for blue-collar careers”
The value of apprenticeships has seen them extend beyond their traditional paths and into the office environment. CIM Marketing apprenticeships offer one of the newer examples of previously closed avenues offering new opportunities to join the sector. CIM work with selected partners to ensure that apprenticeship standards for marketing accurately reflect the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to drive the development of the marketing profession.
What’s important is how apprenticeships are now viewed across other industries as well. Construction, HR, electricians, recruitment and management are all using apprenticeships more and more often to find people for their profession.
Myth 2: “Apprenticeships are low paid”
Once you realise that the common myth about apprenticeships being restrictive no longer bears fruit, it is worth challenging some of the other assumptions as well. That apprenticeships are low paid is not so much of a myth, but it’s important to consider the full context.
The minimum wage for an apprentice is only £3.90 per hour – but, bear in mind that this is the rock-bottom rate, and most will earn much more than this dependent on choice of career and choice of employer – but you will be earning whilst you are learning. University students are now paying record rates for their education and leaving in debt whilst also having to seek out their future employment opportunities. An apprentice will be paid whilst working their way towards qualification and, after that, employment.
It’s important to consider the full context behind pay as an apprentice, and that it allows you to enter the career cycle at least three years before university graduates.
Myth 3: “Go in at the entry-level and you won’t get very far”
Seeking an entry level role without a degree – as opposed to a graduate role with a degree – means that you’re likely to be going in for lower paid role than a graduate would and there is a misconception that, without a degree, that will be the best that you can get.
However, this is a misconception. There will always be careers that require university education (doctors and barristers most famously) but marketing, as a profession, is open to all comers and good results trump degrees when it comes to success in the industry. Marketing has many access points, and the best marketers are those who have a mixture of theoretical knowledge and on the job experience; you can get both of those through training whilst working. Apprenticeships through CIM now cover both marketing executive (level 4) and marketing manager (level 6) opportunities, helping you right through the career cycle.
On a more general level, those who enter the workplace in entry level roles have the advantage of acclimatising to the culture of the workplace, learning how stuff gets done and, most importantly, learning how to get stuff done, before graduates even get to the second year. That sort of insider knowledge, combined with a good work ethic, can make you a very intriguing prospect for promotion.
Ultimately, education doesn’t simply mean a university degree, it’s a process that happens throughout your life and career. Whilst the value of university hasn’t changed, the potential in apprenticeships and entry level jobs has skyrocketed. Whatever advice is given by the older generation, it’s time we looked beyond the old fashioned myths, because there is more choice than ever before.
For apprenticeshipand early careersopportunities, see the search page.