By Sarah Morgan
Thousands of students across the country are now experiencing the dramatic highs and lows of A-level results. Right now, it might be hard to see past university, but it’s not your only option and there are other paths to pursue your career.
An apprenticeship shouldn’t be thought of as something you do just because you’re not going to university. It’s not a glorified internship; it’s a real job where you get real training and experience that will give you a solid advantage in the job market.
They are already an incredibly popular and viable alternative to university. More than a third of A-level students in London currently opening their results are considering an apprenticeship instead of university, a poll by British Gas found.
Also, 15% said they would be more likely to get a higher paid job if they secured an apprenticeship instead of a university degree.
‘As this survey shows, school leavers are rightly considering an apprenticeship as a serious option when deciding their future. With over 1.8 million starts since 2010, and our reforms to improve their rigour and quality, apprenticeships are now a respected and rewarding route in to the world of work.’ states Skills Minister Nick Boles.
If you live in England, are 16 or older, and not in full-time education, you can apply to be an apprentice. The more you know about, the better your decision will be. Just consider this:
Those who start university this year could get stuck with more than £44,000 of debt by the time they graduate in 2017.
What’s more, researchers predict that the majority of university students will still be paying back their loan well into their fifties.
Getting stuck with a debt that could follow you into middle age isn’t a rite of passage. It’s not necessary to invest so to pursue your chosen career.
The phrase ‘earn while you learn’ has become a buzzword but it really does hold true for Apprenticeships. Get employed within a company and you’ll be a valued member of staff.
Get paid on average £170 per week and start earning the day you start. Plus, you won’t need to pay those much hated tuition fees. In fact, as your skills develop, your pay will increase accordingly.
Practical, hands-on and relevant
By working alongside experienced industry professionals, you’ll pick up first-hand job and workplace skills that just can’t be taught at university. Employers across the country value Apprenticeships because it proves you can work effectively within a professional environment.
‘Throughout my career, some of my best hires have been people who have bypassed the traditional route of university and learned their skills through apprenticeship schemes or alternative education courses.’ Peter Jones, Dragons Den entrepreneur, The Guardian, July 2012
And it’s not just first-hand experience that will showcase your skills – you’ll be able to back it up with industry recognised qualifications and training worth up to £10,000.
The vast majority of university students have to search for a job once they graduate. But, a recent survey shows that 83% of apprentices still work for their employer a year after their course finishes. Plus, 42% had even received a promotion after completing their apprenticeship.
Susan Hooper, Managing director at British Gas explains how – ‘Just last year we recruited 900 young people…you could call this the age of the apprenticeship.’
She also stressed the job prospects that come with apprenticeships. ‘Many of our apprentices have long careers with the company, often moving into management positions.’
Not to be overlooked
It really is the age of the apprenticeship and you would be doing yourself a disservice to overlook them. Just like university, an apprenticeship is a brilliant route into your chosen career – only it’s 3 years quicker and £44,000 cheaper.
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.