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Is an apprenticeship right for me?

By Rachel McCourt, Marketing Advisor

Taking the next step in building your career can be daunting with several choices to make. You may be considering the academic route or a full-time job. But what if you could combine the two? That’s the essence of an apprenticeship. You’re immersed in the world of work, whilst you continue to develop your knowledge.

As someone who completed an apprenticeship myself, I’m going to cover the main areas which will help you determine if an apprenticeship is right for you.

You want to make some money

The obvious one is the ‘earn while you learn’ element. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be a little intimidated by the idea of starting your adult life with a chunky student debt. That’s why I first decided to look at apprenticeships. I wanted to start my career with a wage, not debt.

Apprenticeship wages vary depending on the provider, they can be anything from around £100 to £300 per week and that’s just in the beginning. Like any other job, you’ve got bonuses and pay rises to consider. Being paid this kind of money early in your career will teach you how to budget, which is a great skill to pick up personally and professionally.

You enjoy variation

The most attractive thing about apprenticeships for me is the fact that it’s a combination of building work skills and knowledge. You can make your own money like you would in any other job, but with academic tasks included. You’re basically being paid to develop your knowledge and skills in the world of work. Depending on the employer, you spend one day a week at college / university or learn onsite at your place of employment.

Personally, I love to learn new things and gaining knowledge from first-hand experience was more appealing than hours of theoretical study. Especially since I’d only just completed my GCSEs and Level 3 college diploma. If you’d find it refreshing to get a break from full time study whilst not totally abandoning it, then an apprenticeship may be for you.

You’re not certain of your chosen career

If you’re uncertain of what career you’d like to pursue (I most certainly was), then an apprenticeship is perfect for you. You get to jump straight into the role with both feet and find out what you enjoy. You’re not restricted like you may feel if you graduated from university with a £20,000 degree that took three years to complete. You leave with transferrable skills, a wage you’ve worked hard to earn and equally exciting prospects. Many graduates find applying for jobs hard because most require prior experience as well as qualifications.  

Every employer values industry experience, which is what apprenticeships are all about. You may choose to take your skills and develop them in another subject area or continue academic learning at a higher level. With a higher apprenticeship, you could do both to a degree-level.

You don’t want your choice to be limited

The beauty of apprenticeships is flexibility. There’s a huge range to choose from across a variety of industries. You may have a skill which you’d like to develop further or a subject area you’d like to witness in action. The mass of industries means that there is something out there for everyone.

There are three different apprenticeship levels so your position in education is not a limit. The first is intermediate which is great for those who are just starting out or have limited qualifications. Advanced qualifications may be an option if you have five GCSEs (A* – C), depending on the employer’s requirements. If you’ve gained two A-Levels or equivalent then you may opt for a higher apprenticeship which is degree level. Higher apprenticeships are fairly new in comparison to the others, so they aren’t as common across all sectors.

Does all the above sound good to you? If so, check out current apprenticeships on offer.

About the author:

Rachel McCourt joined GAS in 2016 as a Marketing Apprentice, studying Level 3 Digital Marketing which she passed with a Distinction. 

Since completing her apprenticeship, Rachel transitioned to a Marketing Assistant and now manages internal communications as our Marketing Advisor.

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