Tackling the stigma that comes with apprenticeships is something Neave Anwar-Wright knows all about.
Getting good grades and doing well in her A Levels, Neave would be considered your ideal candidate for university.
But the thing was, Neave never really wanted to go to university.
In fact, Neave was more concerned about taking on an apprenticeship instead.
She had her heart set on it once her A Levels were over. She wanted everything an apprenticeship could give her – on-the-job training towards a career.
However, convincing her parents and school teachers that she wasn’t going to university was another thing.
“Going for an apprenticeship was a big decision, but it wasn’t a difficult choice,” the 19-year-old from Nottingham said.
“The more I considered university, the less I actually wanted to go. My friends around me were really excited about university but it never really interested me, I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy it.
“My parents both wanted the best for me and took some convincing in all honesty because they, like a lot of people, viewed apprenticeships as something you do if you want to go into a vocational, manual career rather than a professional one. But apprenticeships have changed dramatically.
“My parents didn’t realise how much apprenticeship schemes have progressed since they were my age, so weren’t particularly keen to start with. It was only until they did research that they really got on-board with the idea.
“I was also at a very high-achieving grammar school where almost everyone left sixth form for university, or did a gap year before university.
“A couple of my tutors were very surprised that I was considering not going to university.
“I definitely felt pressured to go to university, to the extent that I actually applied just to keep everyone around me happy. I knew I didn’t want to go, regardless of what offers or grades I got.”
With a knack for maths and science, Neave aimed for financial apprenticeships and researched into becoming a chartered accountant.
She looked into leading training provider BPP Professional Education and its offer of an apprenticeship recruitment service.
At the age of 18 she was signed up to a CIMA Level 4 accountancy apprenticeship with global information services company Experian.
She’ll be learning on the job for over two years whilst earning a salary and receiving training which includes a City & Guilds-awarded Level 3 QCF Diploma in Business and Administration as well as the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting from BPP’s Professional Education site in Nottingham.
Since starting in September, Neave has enjoyed every moment of her apprenticeship programme.
“I’m loving it, I think it’s great,” she said.
“I have strong A Levels in strong subjects and I’m in a big company undergoing two years of training. After the apprenticeship, the possibilities are endless for me.”