'Apprenticeships are the way forward without a doubt'
With so many amazing apprenticeships on offer, choosing one can be tricky. But for Josh Fowler the decision to apply to Level 3 couldn't have gone better. "Being an Apprentice for Level 3 has been one of the best experiences of my life so far," the 24-year-old technician told MKF. "Being under the wing of Level 3 has taught me many core life skills as well as the technical know-how."
Josh progressed through the ranks quickly, taking on more responsbilities and he won the Apprentice of the Year Award with the Instititue of Telecoms Professionals in 2014. But Josh says the biggest reward comes from a real sense of personal development that comes with being an apprentice: "It's the best of both worlds, learning and earning. With Level 3 I have learnt how to communicate effectively and efficiently, learnt how to plan and make goals and targets.
"During my time here I was invited to speak at a training event in front of 10,000 employee’s from all other the world. Being asked to represent the region I work in was a big honor. This was way out of my comfort zone, but I believe that this is what life is about, continuing to push yourself to learn and progress."
Even an operation didn't stop Josh from furthering his early career at breakneck speed. He said: "During my time as an apprentice I had to undergo bone graft surgery removing bone from my hip and grafting it to my jaw. After I was able to continue studying from home to ensure all my study work was complete. Being an apprentice in this situation meant that I was able to keep learning even whilst being off of work in recovery."
This flexbility is just one reason why Josh thinks apprenticeships "are the way forward without a doubt." He added: "It’s not just the education you receive, although that's very important. The life skills that you learn and friends that you make, make it an experience like no other."
The chance to develop personally and professionally is something that drew Kasia Piec to also successfully apply for a Level 3 apprenticeship. She told MKF: "I have had to learn and adapt to working with a variety of people in the office where I came across different characters. The atmosphere has been more relaxed than expected and I've worked with some great people!"
But, she says, the biggest attraction was the brilliant opportunity to earn and learn at the same time - especially with university being so expensive. "I was not very confident with exams, which I would have to complete at university," she said. "The fees were also really high, so starting an apprenticeship meant I could still learn whilst earning money and getting valuable experience."
Kasia, who was recently awarded her Level 3 course qualification and has her sights set on a senior technical role, stresses the Level 3 support network is so good that balancing work, study and play is easy to achieve.
She added: "I try to do my studying on certain dates, however you can never tell what the workload is going to be like so if I feel at the time like I can do a bit more studying then it definitely won’t hurt! It is also very helpful that I am able to take study leave at work and get support where and when I need it."
Like Josh, Kasia believes apprenticeships are the best option for many young students - even if they don't know it yet. "I would advise to always stay positive and to not worry about not going to university, as it’s not the end of the world," she summed up. "If anything, I would recommend and apprenticeship instead. You just have to find the right balance between your work and study and the apprenticeship will fly by before you even notice!"