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Apprenticeships should be promoted as a strong alternative to university
One of the main questions asked by recruiters around the world is whether a job applicant has the relevant experience for the role applied for. Experience can be one of the crucial deciding factors within any job placement. Although there are many companies who still require that employees undergo internal training, they would still like to know whether the candidate has had some previous experience in the field and whether they are familiar with job requirements and responsibilities associated with the position they are applying for. An Apprenticeship is a great way to give young career enthusiasts the opportunity to gain knowledge in the field even before their career has started. This allows them to apply for jobs with confidence, knowing they have some sort of relevant experience that will count in their favour.
Apprenticeships allow young people to gain practical experience and put their theoretical experience to the test. In the United Kingdom, apprenticeships are entitled to the minimum wage rate for their age, which allows working-class students to set aside their financial worries whilst gaining a degree on the side. Internships are there to give students the opportunity to gain practical knowledge of something they are learning in their academic world. A company will provide them with an opening in a department where they are able to start learning more about a certain career. Experience for post-school careers is then gained, which makes applying for jobs in the future a lot easier.
Young people considering an apprenticeship can benefit in many ways:
Getting to know your abilities & skills
It is one thing to identify your strengths and discussing them with your tutor or mentor. Putting these strengths into practice and developing them is something completely different. During an internship, you will work closely with experienced people who have already been in the industry for some time. Use this time to observe and learn from them. You need to use your time to grow, professionally as well as personally. An apprenticeship serves as a window into the working world where one will have to make decisions, take responsibility for them, and facing the consequences that result from them. You will get to know yourself and how you operate under pressure. You will begin to understand how the things you have learnt in the classroom are put to the test in real life. On the job training will provide you with real-life situations to test your abilities and skills.
Being given an opportunity to work in a professional environment with professional people is a great recipe for self –confidence. Your assigned supervisors will contribute a great deal to your internship experience. They know that you are there to learn and gain knowledge, without the pressure and responsibilities of an employee in a new job, where you need to prove yourself, you will be allowed to be yourself without too much pressure.
Each company works differently, but most have performance-based feedback sessions for apprentices or internship employees, as this is a way that most companies evaluate their employees and make them feel important and appreciated within the workplace. You will have constant feedback session on a weekly/monthly basis to see how you are performing and coping in your department. This, in turn, helps you to mould your professional confidence.
Networking and acquiring new connections within the business world is vital for your future growth within any industry you would like to excel in. Meeting new people and gaining industry-specific insight is a valuable way of building up your knowledge. At the end of the day it boils down to that old saying, ’’ knowledge is power’’. Apprenticeships allow you the opportunity to gain knowledge in your professional field. One of the other important advantages is that you will also receive a reference letter once your apprenticeship is completed. The reference letter will be an added advantage for your curriculum vitae. During an apprenticeship, you will most likely move between departments so that you can get a better understanding of the company as a whole. Each department works together to deliver the final product or service. Therefore, it is vital for employers to move you around during your time at the company.it also allows you to meet all kinds of different people in different ranks and chains of command.
Future Job Potential
Starting your career at a young age can potentially give you a head start, especially when you consider that your career would actually be on hold if you were only attending university and not working at the same time. Apprenticeships allow you to have a head-start in the future job market especially when you come from a lower income household.
Gaining Industry Specific Knowledge
There is only so much the textbooks can teach you. Practical experience is crucial. On the job training will give you insight into things you would never learn in a classroom. You will be able to work with experienced staff members, who you are able to learn from. You can then practise these skills within a professional environment and put yourself to the test. If you are studying for a university degree on the side you can still obtain your degree whilst gaining experience at the same time.
Over the last decade, apprenticeships have fast become a popular new way of climbing up the corporate ladder. It is also a lot quicker than the traditional route of first studying and then applying for jobs afterwards. A mentor can guide you step by step on how to apply for these positions and help you decide which positions are the best and worth applying for.
The GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit social enterprise that offers various programmes and workshops to provide young people between the ages of 11 to 16 with the necessary skills to set them on a successful career path, improve grades and enrich their mentoring experiences. Our GT Scholars Awards Programme offers one-to-one mentoring sessions and free access to our enrichment or skill-building events. Our mentors provide young people with ongoing coaching so that they are equipped with the strategies and tools they need to achieve their personal goals. This helps our scholars discover their strengths, it develops their resilience and it helps build confidence in their own abilities. Sign up here and look out for our enrichment days and skill-building workshops.