Leaving school represents a crossroads for thousands of young people every year, as they wade through hours of revision and GCSE exams to come out the other side wide-eyed and ready for the next step.
The question of what to do when they reach this point at age 16 is on their minds from a much younger age – schools are encouraging them to seriously think about their futures from year 7, while parents and family members are asking about career aspirations from as young as three years old!
Since September 2015, young people are required to remain in learning until they turn 18, so 16-year-olds have a choice between full-time education or training in the workplace.
Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular choice as they offer the training and qualifications needed to succeed while also paying a wage.
Here are a few other reasons why an Apprenticeship might be the perfect choice for you when you leave school.
1. Develop soft skills
Getting a job and succeeding in the workplace requires you to have certain technical skills. A teacher needs to know how to teach, a programmer needs to know the latest programming languages and an accountant needs to know tax law.
But in addition, you can also get ahead with soft skills such as problem solving, communicating, delegating and team-building, while having a good attitude and knowing how to get along with people are also valuable assets.
These types of skills develop fast when you’re in a job working with others, and an Apprenticeship is the perfect environment to nurture them.
2. Boost your confidence
Have you ever done a really good job at something, excelled beyond expectations and blown everyone away with your general awesome-ness? It feels pretty good, and the glow you get from that feeling can last for weeks.
Doing an Apprenticeship can give you that feeling every day – learning while doing the job is hugely rewarding as you learn a new skill and can immediately put it into practice.
Many employers are so happy with how their apprentice performs that they employ them in a full-time position after they complete their training – what more recognition do you need?
3. Be job-ready
Almost 9 out of 10 businesses think school leavers are unprepared for the workplace*, as millions leave school each year with little or no real work experience. An Apprenticeship gives you the chance to gain these vital skills to prepare you for full-time employment in a supported environment.
Instead of walking straight into a full-time job with immediate expectations from your boss to perform and deliver, develop the skills and experience you need over time, while in training.
4. Learn by doing
A doctor undertakes a five year medical degree, which includes intensive studying as well as multiple practical placements, before doing on-the-job training as a GP or other specialist.
A teaching degree also includes many placements in schools for the student to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to support their academic learning.
There is no better way to learn a new skill than doing it yourself, working alongside people who are already at the top of their game, and an Apprenticeship offers the perfect way to do this, while also being supported by a tutor and your employer.
5. Get a foot in the door
Imagine for a moment you were the owner of a large company with a vacancy – you could either advertise the position and hope that you find someone who will fit with the company and be good at the job, or you could offer the job to the apprentice who has already been doing it for two years…
What would you do?
Many employers keep their apprentices on after their training finishes, with many going on to fill management positions within the company over time.
6. Be supported
Doing anything new can be daunting – particularly a new job where you’re faced with a new environment, new faces and new responsibilities – but what if you could face all these unfamiliar challenges with a supportive person at your side?
Every apprentice works with a tutor who mentors them throughout their training. You will also be supported by your employer who delivers training as well as provides help every step of the way.
7. Earn money
One of the big benefits of an Apprenticeship is the opportunity to earn money.
While your school friends are scrimping by on low wages earned at a Saturday job, you will be on more money than you’ve ever earned in your life, while gaining the qualifications you need to have a successful career.
So when you finally reach that crossroads and are looking at your options of how to spend the next few years of your life after year 11, an Apprenticeship may just be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Get the latest job updates by email every two weeks by registering here: yes – send me job updates every two weeks. – and see all the the latest Apprenticeship vacancies in Cornwall on the job board here.
* Source: BBC Workforce Survey, 2015