For many teens, the period after high school can be a difficult time. We have the pressure of deciding what we want to do for the rest of our lives and feel like failures if we don’t know. Do we go to college? Are we going to achieve the grades we need? A-Levels or BTEC?
If students have gone to college the same dilemma follows – do I go to University? How can I afford it? Will I get the grades? For most, this vicious cycle continues until we’re pressured into a decision we’re uncertain of. This can leave us with debt, unsure of our future and if this is what we really want to be doing. Many of those who have already been through this and are now into their future lives wished they had done it differently.
Luckily for the millennials there are now more options than ever available for us.
When it was my time to make these decisions, I was lucky enough to know which career I wanted to move into. I was also certain that doing A-Levels and going to University wasn’t how I was going to achieve this. So this time was an excellent opportunity for me to discover all the options I had available.
The Rise of Apprenticeships
The current apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level. There was 509,400 apprenticeship starts in the 2015 to 2016 academic year of which 131,400 were under 19. On average, there are 23,000 apprenticeship opportunities listed on ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ every month! This ever climbing figure is making it easier for the younger generation to dive straight into the world of work, it allows us to gain critical training, guidance and personal development as well as exposure to the ‘real’ world of business. With an increasing amount of businesses getting involved with apprenticeships, it is giving the opportunity to gain experience in a broader range of areas.
An Alternative to University
One aspect of improving apprenticeships which particularly benefited me is the introduction of higher and degree-level apprenticeships. As I had completed college successfully in achieving a Level 3 Extended Diploma in business, I still wanted to continue learning and better myself with a degree.
I knew I was capable of achieving a degree, yet I still didn’t want to go to University and had to find another way of doing this. Once I discovered the higher/degree apprenticeships this was the perfect solution for me. There are currently 100 higher and degree apprenticeships available, with more in development, including foundation degrees, HNDs and full honours degrees. These include job roles ranging from legal services to banking and engineering. There is no disadvantage to this type of an apprenticeship. I’m receiving valuable training and experience that I couldn’t get in University, I am growing and developing into the real working life at a young age, plus I can earn money whilst I am learning. The best of all, I am able to do all of this whilst earning a degree, DEBT FREE.
Of course the apprenticeships couldn’t happen without the businesses (such as +24 Marketing) willing to put their time, money and effort into us. Any businesses that are looking to take on an apprentice should take advantage of this as it benefits them just as much as the apprentice.
Finding quality staff is becoming increasingly difficult. Apprenticeships have been found to increase staff loyalty and retention. Employees who have been trained in-house (such as myself), tend to be highly motivated, committed to the company and supportive of its business objectives (I agree). The formality of an apprenticeship encourages employees to think of their jobs as a career and to stay with the company for longer, which will reduce recruitment costs. In addition to this, apprenticeship training helps employees to improve their skills, the skills developed are matched to the company’s future needs. This is going to fill any skills gaps and allow the business to source future managers and leaders from within. Thus benefiting the company in the long term.
Having an extra employee around the office means staff can delegate jobs to the apprentice they may not be able to prioritise. This allows the apprentice to learn and take responsibility, whilst freeing up the time for the experienced staff and allowing them to spend more time on tasks to bring a greater outcome. Overall making the business more productive.
Finally, a younger employee within the workplace can bring a fresh approach and a positive attitude. The young person is showing their willingness to learn and can bring new ideas into the company. Bringing youth into the business also helps to keep up with the trends of today other employees may not be aware of.
This has been key for +24 Marketing. Being brought up with social media and using it regularly in everyday life has made it much easier for me to settle in. This has allowed me to connect and interact in different ways on our social media accounts, growing our audience even further.
There really isn’t any reason for both students and businesses not to embrace apprenticeships.