If you’re reading this, the chances are that you may be thinking about your future, considering enrolling in adult education, or and wondering how best to combine earning with learning. We’ve written this blog to highlight some reasons an apprenticeship could be your perfect for you, and some potential drawbacks.
What is an apprenticeship?
First of all, it’s helpful to be clear on what exactly an apprenticeship is and what it entails. Put simply, an apprenticeship is a job with training. It is a real paid job (not a placement) where you have 80% of your training on the job (learning while you work) and 20% off the job (dedicated study time). Many apprentices are offered permanent full time jobs upon successful completion of the apprenticeship. Apprentices gain at least one certification to show they have met the apprenticeship standard, as well as completing other training and experience throughout the course.
Apprenticeships have been an option for many years, however it’s just in recent years they have become much more widely available in many industries. According to gov.uk, there were over 130,000 apprenticeship starts between August-October 2021, which is up 43% compared to 2020. The number of apprenticeships is expected to increase this year again as more information about them is available and they become even more accessible.
Reasons to choose an apprenticeship
1 – Gain current and relevant skills
Studying workplace skills in a classroom environment can be great. It can give you an insight into how knowledge is applied at work and some of the techniques you may use. However, sometimes this classroom teaching can be seen as out of date or ‘old practice’ by employers.
Learning these skills and techniques on the job rather than in the classroom means you can gain first-hand experience of how to apply them and work efficiently. For example, if you were studying marketing, rather than learning about online advertising techniques from a textbook, you could be shadowing a manager who is applying current and up to date techniques. This would give you more relevant and current knowledge than learning from the classroom textbook.
This is particularly beneficial as technologies constantly change and update, so you can stay up to date with the latest skills and know how to apply them in the most efficient way. Employers see these up-to-date skills as very valuable as it shows you are dynamic and can apply up to date knowledge to your work.
2. Earn while you learn
One of the main benefits of an apprenticeship is the ability to earn money while you work and study. As an apprentice, your employer (and the government) pays for all your training. You will get paid for both working and studying. Depending on your job contract, you could study in the workplace or from home.
In comparison to other study options such as university, which can be very expensive and put you in debt, apprenticeships can help you stay on top of your finances and teach you important money management skills.
Apprentices with us at Skills & Learning are required to attend half a day’s training once a month. We also allocate you an apprentice trainer who will check in on your progress and help you – with the employer – monitor and complete any specific training or enrichment you could benefit from. Apprentices are paid for this time.
While apprentice pay is sometimes less than other types of employment, it’s important to note the value of the education and experience you gain alongside the pay. This could help you progress in your career and secure a higher paying job upon successful completion of the course.
3. Shape your work and study around your life
One key fact people often forget when looking at an apprenticeship is that it is so similar to a regular full-time job. As an apprentice, you can choose where you work and the job you do – while we support you to find one right for you, it is your choice which you pick and apply for. For example, you can look for an apprenticeship near where you live and apply somewhere you think you will find interesting and enjoy working.
As an employee, you will also have rights which mean you can make the job work for you. You will be entitled to a minimum number of paid holiday days per year you can book off. You will also be entitled to sick pay. You will have a job contract with set hours and pay, so you don’t have to worry about booking shifts or getting a certain number of hours, which helps you manage your time and money more efficiently, especially if you’re coming from a zero-hour contract or part time job.
Depending on your situation and your employer’s decision, you can liaise how, when and where you work. For example, if you have children, you could request hours that fit around school drop off and pick up times, or to work from home for part of the week. Please note decisions like this would be at your employer’s discretion; however, you are within your rights as an employee to ask for such arrangements.
4. Prepare for your future
While you may not have a set idea of your ‘dream job’ or ‘where I want to be in 5 years’, no matter where that is, an apprenticeship will help you get there. Through an apprenticeship, you will learn transferrable skills which can help you in other jobs. For example, some of the top skills you may learn in business administration include time management, written and verbal communication, attention to detail and problem solving. These skills are not industry specific and therefore would be very transferable to another job, even if you don’t know what job that is yet.
Apprenticeships are also very valuable and are a great addition to your CV. They prove to employers you are capable of learning on the job, being adaptable and dynamic, and are dedicated to your work. These are all very important skills employers see as important and could help you secure another job.
If you study an apprenticeship with us at Skills & Learning, you will also have access to our careers team. They are here to support you and can offer you advice on how to prepare for the future, find your dream job and gain the skills to get it. We will also be able to offer you enrichment throughout your apprenticeship so alongside your training at work, you can focus on developing yourself.
5. Be a better version of you
In addition to the work skills you will learn during an apprenticeship, you can also prove to yourself you are capable of achieving amazing things. By working in a professional environment, you will push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new ways. This will give you new skills you can take home and action in your own personal life.
Below is a list highlighting how some of the skills you pick up in the workplace could also help you in your personal life:
Work skills / personal skills
Time management / Increased awareness of your own time management and ability to organise yourself more
Communication with customers and employees / More confidence to communicate in your own relationships (eg friends, partners, children)
Using technology to improve work / An ability to find ways you can use technology to help with day-to-day life and education
While it may seem far-fetched, the impact of gaining these skills at work on your mental health is very positive. Subconsciously you will believe in yourself more and use these skills in all areas of your life as well as work.
These soft skills will also hugely help when it comes to moving on from an apprenticeship to a new job. Instead of looking through jobs and maybe thinking you couldn’t do it, wouldn’t fit in, or aren’t a strong enough candidate to apply, you may be able to use your confidence and experience to change “I can’t” thoughts into “I could”s.
Apprenticeships in Dorset
If you live in Dorset and are aged 16+, we can help you find an apprenticeship. We work with employers across the county to provide opportunities in many industries and fields of work.
You can view all our current vacancies on our website here.
If you’d like to become an apprentice but can’t see a job that would suit you, please contact us to see how we can help you find an employer.
If you’re not sure if an apprenticeship is right for you, book a free appointment with our careers advisor today. We will help you review any current and past employment, education, and future aspirations and advise you on your options. Book your appointment and seek advice here.
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