This week marks an important event in the career calendar – National Apprenticeship Week. It’s a time to highlight the significant role apprenticeships play in opening up career opportunities, fostering skills, and shaping futures. In light of this, we thought it would be the perfect time to delve deeper into the world of apprenticeships, dispelling myths and uncovering the truth about these rewarding career paths.
Myth 1 – “Apprenticeships are an easy option”
This is one we hear a lot as Careers Advisers. Many students say, “I’ll just get an apprenticeship,” without fully appreciating how competitive it can be. Apprenticeships aren’t just an easy alternative to college or university; they are highly sought after for their blend of practical work experience and academic learning. They pave the way to a variety of careers in fields such as engineering, IT, and finance, demanding dedication and a proactive approach from candidates. Apprenticeships are a valuable pathway for those keen to jumpstart their professional journey whilst earning qualifications.
Myth 2 – “Apprenticeships are just for trades.”
One of the biggest misconceptions about apprenticeships is that they are limited to manual trades. Let’s clear this up! While apprenticeships in trades such as construction, plumbing, and electrical work are incredibly valuable and provide essential skills, the scope of apprenticeships has expanded far beyond these traditional areas. Today, you can find apprenticeships in a wide range of sectors – from digital marketing to healthcare, finance, and even law. There really is something for everyone!
Myth 3: “Apprenticeships don’t lead to high-level qualifications.”
This is one myth we’re particularly keen to dispel. Apprenticeships span from Level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs) up to Level 6 and 7, which are equivalent to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. That’s right – you can work towards a full degree through an apprenticeship! These higher-level apprenticeships combine working with studying at a university level, offering you the chance to gain a degree without the usual student debt. Plus, you’re getting hands-on experience in your field.
Myth 4: “Apprentices are not valued as much as university graduates.”
In the world of Careers, Education, Information, Advice, and Guidance (CEIAG), we often encounter this myth. The truth is employers highly value the unique blend of practical experience and academic knowledge that apprentices bring to the table. Many businesses actively seek apprentices because they bring fresh perspectives and are adaptable to the evolving needs of the workplace.
Myth 5: “Apprenticeships don’t pay well.”
While some apprentices do start on a lower wage as they’re learning, they quickly progress. Many apprenticeship programmes offer competitive salaries, with lots of employers committing to paying a real living wage. It’s also worth noting that your age can impact your pay. For example, a 24-year-old apprentice is entitled to a higher wage compared to a 16-year-old due to variations in the National Minimum Wage. Ultimately, as you develop your skills and gain more experience, your earning potential increases. Plus, remember, you’re earning while learning without accumulating the debt typically associated with higher education.
Explore your apprenticeship options
So, you heard it here first: apprenticeships are a fantastic pathway to a number of exciting and fulfilling careers. If you’d like to learn more and find the right apprenticeship for you, a great place to start is the Government’s apprenticeship website. Here, you can find detailed information on different apprenticeship options, how to apply, and stories from other apprentices.