Myth-Buster: 6 Things You Thought You Knew About Apprenticeships... But Were Wrong
If going to university was a Netflix show it would be in the ‘most viewed’ category, with a record number of young people choosing to pursue a degree. But what is heading up the ‘trending’ category? Who is the new kid on the block that will be knocking university off the top spot?
Cue The Apprenticeship. It’s a wild thought, but it’s true. The Apprenticeship is up and coming for young people and in light of National Apprenticeship Week, we'e here to explain why – as well as dispel some common myths that surround apprenticeships that are actually way off the mark.
Whether you have bought into one of these common myths, or you want to know what an apprenticeship can offer you, read on. It’s time to raise the bar on awareness on how apprenticeships can widen your career prospects, and their potential to dominate the early careers playing field in years to come – potentially more so than degrees and graduate programmes.
Those who pursue a university degree are by all means going to increase what they are able to bring to the Career Table. However, if you are considering an apprenticeship, we want you to ‘Blaze a Trail’ and fire up your career by looking into the alternative options.
Myth 1: Apprenticeships are poorly paid
People like to be first to point to the minimum wage apprentice pay. This myth is much larger than the reality. The minimum wage is exactly that, a minimum. It is not the average. The truth is many companies will pay you more than this. On average, apprentices tend to earn around £170 per week, with their wages likely to increase. It is also crucial to remember apprenticeships are paid training – you are being paid while you learn, which you do not get while obtaining a degree. And, if you’re under 24 years old, the government will cover the cost of your training. You also don’t walk away with the university debt, folks.
Myth 2: Apprenticeships are for people who aren’t clever enough to go to university
This is one of the most common stigmas attached to apprenticeships, and entirely not true. There are a range of apprenticeship levels. From Level 2, which gets you the equivalent of 5 GCSE passes, to Levels 6 and 7 which gets you the equivalent of a Bachelor or Master’s degree! This is often what people don’t realise. Many apprentice employers seek candidates that are genuinely passionate about the industry and are looking to take on real responsibilities, working in the real world. Apprentices leave with qualifications, real experience, and often a full-time position – putting them way ahead of the university graduate. Now who ain’t clever?!
Myth 3: Apprenticeships are very long
This ties in with Myth 2 really. Many lower level apprenticeships won’t be much longer than a year. The higher levels can be 3-4 years. But if you take one of the higher levels, it is likely you are weighing it against going to university – which will also be 3-4 years. So, what’s your point?
Myth 4: Apprenticeships are only for those wanting to go into a trade job – like construction or engineering
This is fake news! Young people today can look at apprenticeship opportunities in Law, Business, Education, Design, Technology, Life Science and so much more. Have a look on the UCAS website and you will see loads of sectors hiring apprenticeships. Are you still looking down your nose at apprenticeships? Because we absolutely wiped the floor with this one.
Myth 5: You gain little from doing an apprenticeship and so employers don’t respect them as a qualification
In the race for today’s young people to secure the first steps in their career, employers have an awful lot of degrees to look at. The degree is slowly losing its power in differentiating the ‘strong’ from the ‘weak’; degrees are the most accessible they have ever been, and so more and more people have one. Which is great for the prospects of young people – but reduces their competition in the eyes of an employer. Not only do apprenticeships train their students, but you learn working etiquette, real life application, and experience – in comparison to a lot of graduates who gain little of any of this throughout their degree. Remember this.
Myth 6: The Degree is still more powerful than The Apprenticeship
See our last point for back-up here. We by no means are de-valuing the degree – any young person that is able to take advantage of the Higher Education options open to them will no doubt widen their future career prospects. You can never learn too much! But, how you learn can change in regards to what brings the most value to the ever-changing early careers climate. Trends come and go – and with this, it should be anticipated that the apprenticeship is up and coming in its offering. If you can be the first to jump on that gravy train, then you will stand out in a crowd of degrees.
Do your research before committing to any opportunities. While apprenticeships are the most competitive they have ever been, some employers are far more ahead of the drag curve in comparison to others. Make sure you are getting from your apprenticeship what you want! For tips on finding one, check out our blog post on Getting the Right Apprenticeship For You.