In my opinion, apprenticeships are the best and most direct route to a successful career. No matter what subject you choose; as long as you’re passionate, hardworking and committed, you’ll do well.
At school, I was always pushed to go to University by teachers and apprenticeships were seen as the ‘less intelligent’ option. I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, I think it’s the smartest and biggest decision any young person could make. It certainly changed my life.
From someone who’s been there and done it, here are 5 reasons I think apprenticeships are great.
Earn while you learn
Apprentices will have the same opportunities as employees, earning a wage and working alongside experienced staff. Okay, the money isn’t amazing and you can’t splash out on expensive treats but everyone has to start somewhere! Not only that, budgeting teaches you to appreciate what your parents do for you and gives useful insight into how expensive things can be.
I used to resent having to spend my money on necessary things like petrol. Now, I don’t see having to pay for petrol as a hinderance - I see it as a vehicle to my success (excuse the pun!). I’d struggle to get to client meetings etc. without my car.
Experience is priceless. Many of my friends went to University and are now struggling to get jobs due to lack of experience. I never understood why experience was so important to an employer, but having worked at Strawberry for over 4 years I can really tell the difference between someone fresh out of University to someone with real experience. People with experience are more confident, and people do business with people. So to an employer, having someone who is confident and who knows a little about the market is much more valuable than someone with no practical knowledge and a degree.
Make valuable contacts
The expression ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts’ is arguably never more true than in a business environment.
Embarking on an apprenticeship not only exposes you to working with experienced staff members, but dealing with suppliers, distributors and resellers. The opportunity to talk and network with all different functions within a business expands your learning and gives you a more rounded approach when it comes to business. This point links to my earlier comment of “people do business with people”. Making a name for yourself and not just the company you work for is very important to your future career. People get to know YOU as a person, which enables you to build a trusting and lasting business relationship and add value to the company you’re working for.
No debt! This is one of the best advantages of an apprenticeship. It might seem like a small amount, but when you’re in your thirties and still paying off your student loan, that £30 per month might make all the difference between being able to buy yourself a new dress or not (that’s how I think about it anyway!).
What you earn at the end of the day (minus national insurance and tax) is 100% YOURS! That first wage packet after a full month of working 9–5 is bloody amazing. The feeling of hard work paying off and having the complete freedom to buy what you want because YOU earned it is so rewarding!
Impress future employers
Being able to put real experience on your CV will arguably put you ahead of other graduates.
Recent research issued by the National Apprenticeship Service revealed that 44% of businesses in the UK are planning to take on apprentices in the coming 5 years. This is clearly an indication of the high regard in which they are held by the business world.
Nearly a third of respondents (32%) said being part of a scheme was fundamental to their strategy for expansion.
So there you go, apprentices are in demand. Why wait?
Found this interesting? Check out Jade’s Strawberry story, and how she went from apprentice to Creative Director at StrawberryToo.