The choices we make after GCSEs or A levels for our future careers can be a difficult turning point, wondering which direction is the right one to follow. For some applying for university is best, whilst for others taking on an apprenticeship is the perfect option for them. With many undergraduates in the UK paying up to £9,250 per year in tuition fees it’s no wonder that students and young adults are put off the option, or don’t even feel like it’s an option in the first place because of the astronomical fees.
The prospect of going straight into work is certainly an attractive one. The notion of deciding what job role you want to go into and the idea of making your own money is that step forward into adulthood. But what if we told you there are opportunities out there where you can learn new skills and get paid at the same time through an apprenticeship. It’s worth noting that apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers but for those looking to change careers, wanting to upskill in their current job or for those who are not in full-time education.
It’s time to bust those myths with the true advantages of apprenticeships. First and foremost, it’s not just another form of education, it’s a paid job where you’re a real employee who is gaining hands-on experience and training in a live working environment. Yes, you’ll be spending time in the classroom at a college, university or training establishment (at least 20% of your working time) but this is to build towards a nationally recognised qualification which puts your CV in good stead for future employment opportunities. On top of that you’ll also get paid holiday leave along with all the other benefits that come with working for an established company.
You might be thinking, well if I’m spending time in the classroom and not in the job role itself will this mean that I’ll have a drop in salary. Absolutely not, a number of large businesses pay an apprenticeship levy so that their employees can get the funding they need to do apprenticeships whilst they work and build on their skills. When looking in depth at the levels available there are four tiers to an apprenticeship ranging from intermediate (level 2), Advanced (level 3 qualifications), Higher and Degree Apprenticeships (level 6/7) where you could be earning a salary up to £25,000. There is a minimum salary an apprentice can earn but many offer a competitive salary because they value fresh people coming into the company who are willing to learn and become a vital member of the team. Plus if an apprentice is over 19 years old they are entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
STEM careers in particular - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - provide a heap of fantastic opportunities. In comparison to a peer who would spend three to five years at university studying for a career in the same field, an apprenticeship gives you that step on the ladder from the first day, giving real life experience, networking with the right people and providing you with a platform to showcase how hardworking you are whilst giving you access to potential promotions. This could lead a young person going from an apprenticeship in engineering, for example, and then working in a lucrative career by their mid twenties earning a pretty decent salary.
The British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force featured in the Top 10 Apprenticeship Employers for 2022. If we look in more depth at an Aircraft Technician role in the RAF in instance, you’ll be paid £16,840 plus benefits in your first six months and then this will rise to £25,367 upon completion of technical training. BAE Systems also appeared in the top ten list year and promises a company pension scheme, real work placements on landmark projects and debt-free academic qualifications.
For some companies there is a window to submit your application, but for others you can apply all year round so make sure to do your homework so that you don’t miss out. Also look into what is required of the application so that you are fully prepared. For BT (top three in the 2022 Apprentice Employers list) they require the submission of the application form, followed by an online assessment, a video interview and finally the potential to attend an assessment centre where the company will pick the most suitable candidates.
The apprenticeship world certainly is your oyster and there are plenty of roles to delve into and cut your teeth. Even acclaimed celebrities such as chef Gordon Ramsay, hairdresser John Frieda and actor Sir Michael Caine started their careers with an apprenticeship to develop their skills and propel their talents even further. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start appreciating the benefits of apprenticeships.
At Omega we work with fantastic STEM companies across Engineering, Aerospace, Automotive, Electronics, Defence, Scientific, Oil & Gas, Logistics and Manufacturing sectors who provide temporary, contract and full-time opportunities. Speak to our team on 01453 827333 to see how we can help find that perfect career opportunity, for you.