For many young people and their parents there is still a belief that apprenticeships are just for those students who want to get into some form of traditional manual work or those who were ‘not smart enough’ to go to university. These beliefs see thousands of sixth form students apply to university without ever fully investigating or understanding the options that are available to them. This outdated view of apprenticeships is something that the government is keen to change as they continue to push towards their goal of 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020. There is a very real need for a new look at apprenticeships for the modern world – so what do they really offer?
Nick Boles, the minister for skills and equalities, explained, “A lot of parents and teachers don’t understand that pretty much everything from law to web developing can be accessed through a modern apprenticeship,” adding, “You can get a degree through an apprenticeship, so it’s not about capping your ambition. It’s a choice to secure the qualification through working and studying rather than full-time study.”
Nick Boles is just one of the people who is trying to change the image of apprenticeships in order to “get the message out that these are very high-quality programmes.”
The fact is that the old perception of apprenticeships no longer applies, and it is time that young people, parents, and even teachers caught up. Modern apprenticeships are available in a large number of roles and job sectors – as a quick search for apprenticeship opportunities where you live will show.
An apprenticeship will offer on-the-job experience and training for your career while you earn a wage. The cost of tuition is covered by your apprenticeship provider (unlike with a regular university degree) and, as Nick Boles noted, you can work your way to getting a degree too.
Taking a more vocational than an academic route to the training offers genuine work experience and training that employers value. It is little surprise that the majority of qualified apprentices go straight into relevant work, as compared to less than half of university graduates. Even the process of finding and applying for an apprenticeship is like getting a regular job.
Not only is the training directly relevant to the career you choose, but an apprenticeship offers a genuine insight into your chosen career – allowing you the chance to start making career choices sooner.
Far from being a lesser option when compared to university, many of the brightest students are beginning to wake up to the opportunity that an apprenticeship provides, while employers are always keen to attract the best talent that they can.
Plus, the very fact that you are getting your training directly from employers means that you will be trained in roles that are needed to fill any vacancies or skills shortages. With direct experience and a qualification to prove you have the skills required, it is no wonder that businesses can see the value of apprentices.
We have plenty of other information about apprenticeships right here on NotGoingtoUni that may help change your views of this route into work, but ultimately all we would ask is that you take a fresh look at what a modern apprenticeship can offer!