Common Apprenticeship Myths Debunked – Part 1

There are so many myths surrounding apprenticeships that it seemed worth addressing a few of them. With many young people being fed incorrect views n apprenticeships (by the parents, peers, or even their teachers) it seemed it was time to tackle some of the more common misconceptions about apprenticeships as a route into work. These range from prospects to money, and even to what sort of people should be taking apprenticeships (ie, those not ‘clever enough’ to go to university!). Apprenticeships are actually a good way into work, but have been undermined by some false theories about them – so here we take a look at a few of the more common myths surrounding apprenticeships:

  • “Apprenticeships are only for those not smart enough for university”

It is commonly believed that only those who are not smart enough for university take apprenticeships. However, it is nothing to do with grades or how ‘clever’ you are – nor is it about one choice being better than the other. In fact, all it is about is a choice of options. Some people will be well-suited to the academic route of university, while others may prefer to get stuck in with some genuine work experience while training. Part of the problem here is that many schools seem to believe that the best students go to university and so fail to adequately promote apprenticeships as a genuine alternative. Don’t believe the myths – apprentices need to have their wits about them too, while the fact that you can take a Degree Apprenticeship sort of undermines this idea in itself!

  • “Apprenticeships are only about manual work”

Tied in with the false belief that only the less-bright students should look at apprenticeships is an untruth that apprenticeships are only for those wishing to do traditional manual work. This falsehood is partly based on a snobbery that says manual work is less worthy or somehow easier than other types of employment. This snobbery is simply wrong as it is simply a case of different skills. There are plenty of academics out there who would struggle to fix their cars or boilers when they go wrong! However, and more to the point, the range of apprenticeships on offer has increased dramatically over the years. From accounting to youth work and marketing to law, the range of apprentice opportunities is far broader than many realise – and it’s not all manual work either! Taking the misconception that apprenticeships are only for manual workers to the next level is the notion that there are no apprenticeships available in your chosen profession. While there are still some careers that require a university degree, with thousands of apprentice openings in over 170 different industries, you may be surprised to find that your dream career has an apprenticeship too. To put it bluntly, how do you know there is not an apprenticeship in your chosen field if you never bothered to check?

  • “An apprenticeship can’t match the university lifestyle”

Much has been written about the ‘university lifestyle’ over the years – whether it is the newfound freedoms or the chance to party every night. However, the reality is often quite different as many students struggle financially while at university. Sure, you can use loans to help finance your partying or even get a part-time job, but these are rarely seen as part of the perks of uni life. In contrast an apprentice may not have the same amount of time to party during the week, but the weekends are still there for socialising and since you will be earning a wage, chances are you will be able to afford to go out too! Apprentices can also get many of the same discounts as students with things like rail cards and even their own Apprentice NUS card! While university may offer a picture of a promised land of partying, the reality is very different. Just compare the prospect of earning some money while training (for free) to having to pay thousands in tuition while you try to stretch your loans out to buy a few essentials. Which sounds like a better lifestyle?

These are just some of the reasons that you might want to reconsider apprenticeships as a serious option, but do check past tomorrow when we will look at a few of the myths surrounding actually being an apprentice!

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