National Apprenticeship Week
As National Apprenticeship Week kicks off this week, it celebrates and demonstrates how high value apprenticeships across industry sectors can really work for both employers and individuals.
Individuals gain qualifications needed to help boost the economy and employers get access to individuals that are passionate to work and train on-the-job adding value to the business as they develop.
The world of further and higher education is changing, especially as university fees have rocketed and the job market remains stagnant. Alternative pathways, such as apprenticeships are becoming increasingly sought after as people look to find new ways into employment and want to gain life-long skills.
What is an apprenticeship and what does it offer?
Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with nationally recognised vocational qualifications. These work-based training programmes are designed to fit around the need of employers which will help address the skills shortage within the UK. Employers train individuals within the context of their organisation, meaning apprentices contribute to the organisation’s productivity while developing their own personal skills.
Apprentices are available to anyone over the age of 16 who’s not in full-time education. The first step to find out more would be naturally through the National Apprenticeship Service.
The length of an apprenticeship varies according to industry sector and previous qualifications. Most apprenticeships take between one to four years; however, within that time the individual also gains invaluable work experience which looks great on anyone’s CV.
Many people feel they benefit from an apprenticeship programme because they gain qualifications whilst in employment, gaining job-specific skills whilst earning a salary.
Why Joseph Ryland, 26, did an apprenticeship
I did an apprenticeship because I knew exactly the field of work I wanted to work in; I wanted to get straight into work in the finance and accounting sector, learning from colleagues and gaining a qualification which I would be using in the workplace from day one.
I was 19 and had finished my A-levels when I got a job with an accountancy practice. I got study leave one day a week to attend college. I feel I’ve progressed with my career quickly by going down the apprenticeship route. I have recently been promoted to Finance Director for UKFast.Net Ltd, a company specialising in managed hosting services and I also have no student debt hanging over my head.
I love the diversity of my job and have decided to continue studying to become a fully-qualified chartered accountant. I got exemptions from the chartered bodies because of my vocational learning which was highly recognised within my sector.
I’d recommend the apprenticeship, especially in the current economic climate. I would suggest you do your homework and ensure you invest time and effort to understand what the apprenticeship entails. Studying and working can be extremely hard work so it’s important to be passionate about the industry you go into.
Apprenticeship numbers on the increase
Many industry sectors, such as Engineering, Manufacturing, Finance and Accountancy have implemented well-respected and highly sought-after apprenticeship routes for some time now. Recently BAE created another 400 apprenticeship opportunities within its Engineering and Business departments; and other industry sectors are starting to follow suit, such as the PR and media industry which introduced apprenticeship programmes in 2012.
If you’re interested in a specific sector of business and know the companies you would be interested in working for, then it’s always worthwhile to check out their websites to see if they offer a non-graduate or alternative route into their organisation. You can also find out lots of information about high-value apprenticeship opportunities from the National Apprenticeship Service.
Olivia Hill is the Head of HR at AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) – visit www.aat.org.uk. The AAT offers a fast track, non – graduate qualification into the world of Finance and Accountancy.
Photo Credit: National Careers Service