Apprenticeships - Why bother?

University is great. Three years of all-nighters, existential crises, ever-looming deadlined, never-ending stress and excessive drinking. Survive that and you come out with a degree and thousands upon thousands of pounds of debt. Compelling, right?

Apprenticeships - Why bother?

OK, everybody's experience with university is different. But for someone who had no idea what to with their life and gained pretty average A Levels in August 2015, university was a step too far. That person was me, and it's one of the reasons why I decided to do an apprenticeship.

In case you didn't know (if you don't I'm very disappointed), apprenticeships are courses that enable you to work full-time whilst also studying for a qualification. Put simply, you earn whilst you learn.

My interest in apprenticeships began in 2014 when my sixth form college did an open day for universities/employers, who set up their stalls & began socialising with the other students - handing out various prospecti and freebies. I remember sitting on the floor with most of my college friends staring endlessly at these massive booklets, nothing registering in my mind, whilst simultaneously scoffing at the high prices of the courses and tuition fees.

I also didn't really know what I wanted to do in life. I loved music and art, but I had no idea how to take that forward. So the best option was to start from the bottom and work up… I also didn't know how to approach that either. Fun times!

Fast forward to the day after I left college, and Google became my closest friend as I looked for entry level jobs and did career tests to try and find a substantial job to keep me occupied for the next year.

I looked at apprenticeships at this time as an option just in case as I sort of doubted that I would do well being flung head first into a full time job with no prior experience. That was when I discovered the Projects Assistant Apprenticeship on the Gov.uk website, offering a Level 3 qualification in Community Arts Management! I hastily sent over my CV & cover letter, waited a few weeks, got an interview, got the job!

That was 2 years ago.

Being an apprentice has really given me the step forward that I really needed - I gained more confidence, I became more computer literate, I made friends (despite my misanthropic attitude), I brushed up on my social skills, and I received a fantastic qualification.

"I wanted to get on with my life, not spend it constantly 'preparing' for it."

I've never been to uni, but I can tell you that having this kind of experience was far better personally than studying for a degree. I wasn't ready for uni, so if I did get into university (somehow) I would've lasted no more than 5 seconds. That massive jump from living with parents 100% of the time and never really going out to see friends, to hastily writing essays and meeting deadlines whilst having to get a part time job to be somewhat financially stable and awkwardly trying to socialise with strangers would've killed me.

I'd like to think that I'm a lot more ready than I was for uni, but working full time has been so beneficial that I don't think I'll be applying anytime soon. I had spent so much of my youth studying for the sake of it; I began to find it dull. I wasn't enjoying life, and quite frankly got fed up of comparing myself to my other peers' career paths. I wanted to get on with my life, not spend it constantly 'preparing' for it.

My apprenticeship allowed me to do something completely different with my life, and I gained something incredibly important. There's no way I'm regretting this.

Author

Luke Taylor

Luke Taylor Voice Reporter

I work as the Network Administrator for Arts Award Voice. Having completed my apprenticeship at Unit Twenty Three, I continue my work supporting Voice and the Youth Network in whatever way possible. Music is my passion, and I will happily talk about all the bands you've probably never heard of!

View more posts by Luke Taylor

2 Comments

  • Rena  de Souza

    On 22 September 2017, 22:34 Rena de Souza commented:

    I completely agree - one size does not necessarily fit all. Some benefit from apprenticeships, others from going to University and some from working full time as soon as they leave school. Being productive one way or the other is beneficial all round.

  • Kheira Bey

    On 23 September 2017, 19:56 Kheira Bey commented:

    Quite simply a good article from a knowledgeable apprentice! The apprenticeship levy will come into force now, so I think there will definitely be a bigger pool of opportunities in the future and the option to do a degree apprenticeship too. I understand degrees, however they still don't guarantee a job and a lot of graduates are struggling now. Our generation can't afford near as much as our parents did and the prospect of already having a job, will beat those who haven't been on the job market for the last 3 years whilst apprentices will be more likely to take the next step. And quite frankly, if your employer is paying for you to be educated, why not?!!!

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