Similarities and differences between school and the workplace

Congratulations – you’ve made it this far; not only have you smashed your exams, but you’ve also secured your dream apprenticeship! The first day nerves are starting to kick in, and you might be wondering to yourself, how different is a corporate working environment to school and will I be able to easily adapt? If this sounds anything like you, then I’m here to help. Continue reading for my first-hand experience and advice on the similarities and differences between school and the workplace.

Similarities:

  • If you’re completing an apprenticeship this still does involve studying towards a qualification which is the same as school and exams. Some apprenticeships are completely coursework though, so don’t be put off if you don’t want to complete any more exams, just make sure to fully research the course and ask these questions before you begin your role.
  • There’s still a structure and hierarchy within workplaces, so you’ll have plenty of people to go to for advice! Don’t be worried about asking questions and going over new processes a couple of times to ensure you fully understand them. 
  • You still have set tasks, projects and deadlines to meet within your job role but these may be set by your colleagues or manager instead of a teacher.

Differences:

  • Unlike school, the workplace gives you opportunity to manage your own tasks and workload. It is a lot more independent with a network of supportive colleagues if needed. 
  • You can participate in extra-curricular work activities and get involved in societies or projects outside of your daily role, this is totally your choice as you can complete and be involved in as many or as little as you can manage. 
  • There’s no homework! Apprenticeships have 20% study time within your contracted working hours (which usually equates to one day a week), so once you finish work and log off, the evenings and weekends are your own.
  • Most Companies now encourage hybrid working which is a mixture of time spent in person in the office or on site/client sites and time spent working from home. This contrasts to school where 100% attendance is required and monitored. 
  • You can choose when to go on holiday, you’re not stuck to term times and can take annual leave whenever is agreed with you manager and team. This gives a lot more flexibility and choice as to what you do or where you go in your free time. 

All in all, the workplace, and apprenticeships, encompass all the great things about school and add to this by giving more independence and choice in many aspects of your working life and career. If you’re currently looking for or starting an apprenticeship soon, remember to keep calm, be yourself and most importantly enjoy it.

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