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Pros and cons of being an apprentice

by Sufia Yazdjerd | 11 January 2019

For some young people, going to university may not be possible or desirable and therefore apprenticeships could be a popular option. Unfortunately, there is very limited information provided around apprenticeships so it is vital that you carry out your own research to decide whether it would be the best fit for you.

In this blog i outline some of the main benefits of being an apprentice, and also some things to consider if you are thinking about taking this route. 

Advantages of being an Apprentice

  • You can gather real life experience – a great deal of what you learn on an apprenticeship involves transferable and work related skills as well as hands-on experience to understand what it is really like to work within the business. This can help you create a better understanding of the role which is recognised and desired by employers.
  • You get to earn while you learn - an apprenticeship offers you the opportunity to gain an accredited qualification, while earning a salary which is unlike the university route where most are expected to work alongside their studies.
  • Get your foot in the door of a good business – apprenticeships are a good opportunity to bridge the gap into a great business. There is high chance when you complete your apprenticeship that you will be offered permanent employment.
  • You can do an apprenticeship at any age – you don’t have to be fresh out of school or college to be an apprentice. You can do an apprenticeship at any age, however the older you are the less funding the government will provide. 16-18 year olds get full funding, 19-24 year olds get up to 50 percent of funding and those 25+ may not receive any funding, but this will depend on the individual business.
  • A wide range of roles are covered – there is a common misconception that apprenticeships are just for skilled labour positions, however this is untrue as there are many different sectors that will offer an apprenticeship scheme. This could include anything from business administration to animal care.

Disadvantages of being an Apprentice

  • Pay grade may be lower than others – due to the level of funding required for apprentices, it is likely that your pay grade would be slightly lower than those going straight into the job. Businesses are required to pay the national minimum apprentice wage which depends on your age, however some employers may choose to pay a higher wage, but that is dependable on the business.
  • Apprenticeship providers can be unreliable – apprenticeship assessors tend to have a high number of students at one time and often have to travel to multiple cities. This makes appointments hard to stick to and you may experience appointments often being pushed back or cancelled due to the increased workload of the assessor.
  • Competitive market – due to the rapid demand increase for apprenticeships over the past few years, it may seem harder to get accepted due to the large amount of candidates applying to each role. From personal experience, feedback is not often given and you could be waiting to hear back from a role for a while, therefore it is important to ensure your CV is tailored to the specific role to ensure you have a higher chance of succession.

Apprenticeships may not work for everyone, just like higher education won’t, but it is important to make an educated decision on the best route for you. As a former apprentice, I believe that apprenticeships are a great way to establish yourself into a career and develop your skills while gaining a qualification.

To discuss how an apprenticeship could be the best route for you, please feel free to contact me on sufia.yazdjerd@sellickpartnership.co.uk. Alternatively, you can find out more about Sellick Partnership and what we could offer you here.