A small disclaimer: this post may be biased towards IT apprenticeships. Namely, because I am an IT apprentice doing an IT apprenticeship. Nevertheless, I still think they’re pretty good (otherwise I wouldn’t be doing one).
Obviously, these reasons are most applicable to an IT apprenticeship- there are different apprenticeships for different industries, so these reasons might not appeal to you entirely.
Everyone’s circumstances are different. If you find yourself veering towards the apprenticeship path, do not fear. I chose to do one over going to uni- I didn’t fancy the debt- but some people do them when they’re straight out of high school, and others wait until they’ve been to uni to do a graduate apprenticeship scheme. Everyone is different, but I’ve found that IT apprenticeships are better in some ways.
1. Earn While You Learn
Earn While You Learn has become the slogan for apprenticeships- and the idea of working full time whilst gaining a recognised qualification is definitely appealing. You also get paid for any time you have to spend out of work if you have to go back to your apprenticeship provider for training. For example, I have to go back to Estio (my training provider) every two months for a week.
Even though you might think the minimum wage for apprentices is low (it’s £3.50 an hour, and, yes it is low), it’s important to remember that quite a lot of apprentices earn more than that in IT. You shouldn’t expect more money, but it is possible. Whilst in the workplace, you are no different to the rest of your colleagues. There is equal opportunity for progression. Furthermore, as your experience grows, your wage should, too.
2. You Gain Contacts
Maybe it’s just me- working for a Creative Recruitment Agency- but I have met a lot of people in the short space of time that I’ve been at TYPE. What has been best for me, however, is that meeting all these different types of people has really let my confidence grow.
You also start learning about the types of people in your industry, and can start growing a community on Linkedin- these people are just as eager to connect with you as you are with them.
Gaining contacts is imperative. When you finish your apprenticeship, you may be offered the opportunity to stay with the company you have been with as a permanent employee. Eventually, you may feel that it is time to move on- and you might do this through one of the people that you met in the past. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know is definitely relevant in this situation.
3. You Will Get Relevant Experience
The problem with being fresh out of college, with no burning desire to go to university, is that you find yourself in a catch-22 situation. You need to get a job, but nobody wants to give you a chance because you have no experience. Nowadays, people aren’t willing to give you a chance when you have nothing to bring to the table.
Doing an apprenticeship gains you, at least, a year’s experience in an industry relevant to what you want to do. On top of this, you have guaranteed employment for the duration of your qualification.
You’ll also be working with industry experts that will give you hands-on experience of the industry that you want to work in. Once you have your foot in the door, it’ll help you make a more assured decision about whether or not its right for you.
4. It Strengthens Your CV
Gone is the need to pray that your dead-end Saturday job will guarantee the next step in your career. You’ll be able to build a professional CV that will ensure you can get jobs in the future through your experience (see point #3), and not through your GCSE or A-Level grades.
Furthermore, as already mentioned, once you’ve secured a placement, you’ll have guaranteed employment for the length of your apprenticeship. This means you won’t have any suspicious gaps in your CV that could trigger alarm bells with potential employers.
Once your apprenticeship is over, your future career prospects will have improved significantly, because you’ll have learnt transferable skills that you’ll be able to apply to any job role. Some people worry that they’ll be forced into one industry for their entire career, and that’s just not true.
5. You’ll Be a Professional
At the end of your apprenticeship, you will graduate with some form of qualification. Unlike when you finished college, or got your GCSEs/A-Levels, you’ll also have the experience to back you up as a professional- meaning that future employers will take you more seriously than they would’ve if you were still a fresh-faced student.