Olivia debunking common apprenticeship myths

As I near the end of my apprenticeship journey here at First Internet, I have decided to debunk some common myths about apprenticeships. I have always received contradicting opinions when it comes to apprenticeships, and my outlook on them now, compared to the start of my course, has changed dramatically. So here is what I think the most common apprenticeship myths are, and why they are false!

Apprenticeships are for people who struggle academically  

This is probably the biggest misconception about apprenticeships, and could not be more wrong! Many apprenticeships have entry requirements of 5 GCSEs including Maths and English, this is the same requirements as getting into Sixth form. Apprenticeships offer a more ‘hands on’ learning experience compared to other pathways, creating the perfect opportunity for ANYONE looking to expand their skill set. However, it is by no means for those who underperform academically!

Apprentices are given all the boring tasks  

One of my biggest worries when starting my apprenticeship was that I would only be given the jobs that nobody else wanted to do. When I rocked up on my first day, I was expecting to be greeted with a stack of paperwork to file and endless brew rounds to complete, but this could not have been further from the truth. The moment my official paperwork had been signed I was encouraged to get stuck in with work for First Internet, and then for our clients. It was recently found that 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service, showing the impact an apprentice can have on a business! 

Although there may be some less enjoyable responsibilities when working as an apprentice, it is all part of the learning process and allows you to excel.  

You can only complete apprenticeships as a school leaver 

One of the main questions I have been asked since starting my apprenticeship is “Aren’t you too old to be an apprentice, I thought that was for school leavers?” and this could not be any further from the truth. When enrolling on my apprenticeship I had just turned 20, and I assumed that I was going to be one of the eldest people in my class. However, when I arrived at my open day, I soon learned that most of my peers were around my age or older. 

Apprenticeships are for anyone over the age of 16, and in 2020 it was found that around half of the apprenticeships are started by people aged 25 or older. Due to there being no upper age limit, apprenticeships are perfect for school leavers, graduates or even someone looking for a change in career path.

Apprenticeships are only for manual jobs  

Although the most popular sectors for apprenticeships tend to be more hands on, such as construction or sports, there are also many that are not. There are over 1,500 different apprenticeships across 170 industries, meaning that there is a course for everyone. I am currently on an apprenticeship with The Juice Academy to become a Digital Marketing Executive, which I can assure you is not very manual at all! 

Apprenticeships are badly paid  

Although the minimum apprenticeship wage is under the national minimum wage for first year apprentices under the age of 19, it is important to take into consideration that you are essentially getting paid to learn. This allows you to gain valuable experience, hours of training and earn an industry recognized qualification all whilst earning a wage. Most businesses choose to pay above the minimum rates, with apprenticeships also saving you from years of student loans.  

University is better for your career path than an apprenticeship 

It was always drilled into me in early education that to be successful, you had to attend university. I was never really sold on the idea, but after many of my peers enrolled, I decided that I may as well give it a go. After all, how hard could it be? However, eight months down the line, I decided that university wasn’t for me after all. When looking for my next step I saw the ‘Junior Content Producer apprenticeship’ job ad on Indeed and decided to apply. At first, I felt like I was taking a step backwards due to already completing a Level 3 BTEC prior, but I quickly realised I was simply just stepping sideways for a while.  

I soon found that many of my classmates were university graduates who were struggling to find a job in the industry, and were using the apprenticeship as a foot in the door. It was then I realised how beneficial an apprenticeship can be towards your career path due to the amount of on the job experience you can gain.

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