NAW 2017 - 10 apprenticeship myths BUSTED
Gloucestershire College is celebrating the 10th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week. The College offers hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities with businesses from a range of industries across the county, yet many people still have misconceptions about what apprenticeships involve, the pay and careers an apprenticeship can get you.
We bust the 10 most common apprenticeships myths…
- Myth: Apprenticeships are for people who didn’t do well at school
Truth: Apprenticeships are simply an alternative route into employment and often require similar entry requirements to further education courses, such as five GCSE passes at grades A*-C. Some apprenticeships also require related experience, such as proficiency in Excel spreadsheets or good communication skills.
- Myth: You can’t get a good qualification doing an apprenticeship
Modern apprenticeships allow you to gain a nationally recognised qualification while working in a real job. There are various levels of qualification you can work towards during your apprenticeship, ranging from a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship to Level 4 and 5 Higher Apprenticeships. You can even work your way up to a Level 7 Master’s Degree Apprenticeship in some industries.
- Myth: Apprentices work for minimum wage
Truth: According to skills organisation Union Learn, unions generally try to negotiate higher than minimum wage pay rates for apprentices. The National Apprenticeship Service reports that the average pay rate is around £170 per week.
- Myth: You can only do an apprenticeship with construction and engineering companies
Gone are the days when you could only do an apprenticeship in certain industries. Today’s apprenticeships are available in an increasingly wide range of roles. Some of the more unexpected and obscure include: fish husbandry apprentice, apprentice crime scene photographer, apprentice nuclear scientist and apprentice chocolatier!
- Myth: Apprenticeships are only for young people
In fact, apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit. In 2014/15, 44% of apprentices were over the age of 25.
- Myth: Future employers will look negatively upon your CV if you were an apprentice
Employers are increasingly valuing applications from those who’ve completed apprenticeships, as they have workplace experience.
- Myth: Apprentices spend all day making tea or doing the jobs no one wants to do
Companies who hire apprentices have strict guidelines to adhere to when it comes to what they ask their apprentices to do. When a company hires an apprentice they sign an agreement which commits them to providing the training and working environment promised.
Of course, when you start out as an apprentice you will be starting at the bottom of the ladder, and as with any entry-level position will mean there will likely be a certain amount of basic tasks involved. However, employers should vary your work and increase your responsibility as you progress.
- Myth: Apprenticeships are for those who couldn’t get into university
Truth: Apprenticeships offer the chance to learn, and even achieve a degree, without accumulating the debt involved with going to university. Completing an advanced level apprenticeship can also act as a stepping stone to university study, with 19% of advanced apprentices progressing to higher education at university or college (DfE 2016).
- Myth: You’ll be stuck in the industry you do your apprenticeship in
Apprenticeships aren’t just available in a variety of industries, but in different areas of the business too. Some apprentices choose to move into a different with the same company, once they’ve completed their apprenticeship. Many of the things you will learn in one industry are transferable to another, such as computer and communication skills.
- Myth: You can’t get an apprenticeship if you have a degree
You can’t start an apprenticeship if you’re in full-time education, but in many cases you can still become an apprentice once you’ve graduated. From May 2017, employers who hire graduates will be eligible to receive government funding to train apprentices with degrees, as long as the apprenticeship offers substantial new learning.
In some cases, a degree is actually an entry requirement for the apprenticeship. Examples include, apprentice solicitor, master’s level systems engineer and Level 7 apprentice outside broadcast engineer.
Inspired to find out more about apprenticeship opportunities in the area? Gloucestershire College is hosting an Apprenticeship Information Evening is free to anyone considering doing an apprenticeship and parents are welcome to attend. Book your place at the event at: www.educationthatpays.co.uk