‘The Apprentice’ Vs. ‘Apprenticeships’Posted: 7th of September 2015 by
I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of ‘The Apprentice.’ I know it is hugely popular and has created a number of spin-off shows, but there is something about it that just doesn’t quite sit right with me. As you will no doubt know, ‘The Apprentice’ sees a number of contenders competing to win a job with entrepreneur and businessman, Alan Sugar, so, yes, in a way the contestants are trying to become an ‘apprentice’ – of sorts. Except, no, they’re not. Not really. And this is where I begin to struggle with the whole concept of ‘The Apprentice’ – especially when compared to a real apprenticeship.
While the perceptions of what an apprenticeship is may have been coloured by the TV programme, make no mistake about it, a real apprenticeship should offer far more than Lord Sugar and his cronies. An apprenticeship is not about you having to show your skills and compete in a series of often ludicrous challenges to show your ingenuity, work-ethic, problem solving, or simply to make good TV.
In fact, a real apprenticeship should be about showing you how to do a job, offering training and support, rather than scowls from across a boardroom and the weekly fear of being told you are sacked!
Of course, like with any regular job, you will be expected to pull your weight, and could end up getting sacked if you don’t, or if you do something grossly wrong, like stealing from your employer.
You may also argue that as an apprentice you are trying to impress, just like in the television programme, and to a degree you would be right. Any apprenticeship employer will want to see that you are a capable worker before they think of offering you a job – but this is a far cry from the situations shown on ‘The Apprentice.’
You won’t be sent out on seemingly random errands or told to complete tasks that have no real bearing on your actual job. It makes you wonder exactly what Alan Sugar is supposed to be preparing his apprentices for?
Of course, the real difference between ‘The Apprentice’ and a real apprenticeship is that one is entertainment and the other is reality. The contestants on the show may think that it is all real, but ultimately there are audiences to please, meaning that the show is probably more important than any of the apprentices themselves. They are not really the future, as there will always be another wave of applicants ready for the next series.
However, with an apprenticeship, you are training to become the future of a particular industry, job, or business. You need to learn real skills, gain proper experience, and get training and support as you work towards a qualification.
So, maybe ‘The Apprentice’ is something of a double-edged sword for real apprenticeship providers? While the popularity of the programme has certainly helped increase awareness of apprenticeships in the real world, the fact is the image that the show portrays is not really true to life…
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