There has been a resurgence in apprenticeships say a local council, as the government aims for 3 million people to be on apprenticeship courses by 2020.
Matti Raudsepp, Strategic Director of Christchurch and East Dorset Council, said: “I feel we are currently experiencing a renaissance in apprenticeship training with a clear government commitment, a funding mechanism for training and a desire to see 3 million people in apprenticeships by 2020.’
Apprentices in Dorset say it has been a good option for them, but wages and working their way up the ladder can be challenging.
Dave White is currently studying an HNC in Manufacturing Management, he said: “After leaving school, I decided to pursue a career in machining. The route I took was a four year advanced apprenticeship in engineering and manufacturing.
“The apprenticeship scheme was extremely beneficial to me and enabled me to progress through the company and gain the hands on skills required.
“After finishing the apprenticeship, I was given the opportunity to move onto an HNC in manufacturing management which I am due to complete next year.
“Being an apprentice is all about starting at the bottom and working your way up”
“Being an apprentice is all about starting at the bottom and working your way up, so you have to be prepared to push the broom round and make the teas.
“An apprentice’s wage does start very low, and though most employers will increase your pay as you progress, it is not illegal to pay the national minimum wage for the entire apprenticeship. Just keep in mind you’ll be a ‘skilled person’ at the end.
“Most apprenticeships are focused specifically on the trade or area of work you are in. This means you are able to learn the skills needed to do the job and progress with your career.”
Lillian Broad is a Business Administration Apprentice at Christchurch and East Dorset Council, she said: “Generally I think apprentices are great, as they allow for the fact that people learn in different ways.
“I started working straight after leaving school and found that I learnt the job a lot easier through practical experience. So when I didn’t get the A-level results I needed for the Uni course I wanted, I thought an apprenticeship would be the best way forward.
“I’d like to be fairly confident about my employability in the future, as there are quite a few people in my organisation who started out as an apprentice.
“Compared to my experience of A-levels and the experiences of friends who are at Uni doing degrees, I think the process of an apprenticeship has been a lot less stressful, and I definetely found this during the application process for both.
“I think the fact that an apprenticeship can still give you the level of qualification you need for a position, as well as the relevant work experience, makes a lot of sense and I’m very glad I went down this route instead.”
“I would still like to get a degree”
“However ideally I would still like to get a degree to help with this, but now I know I have a lot more options of how I can do this.
“It would be nice if the pay was a bit better, as it meant I really had to consider if this was a viable option for me, however my old job at a café let me work there at the weekend which definitely helps.”
National Apprenticeship Week
Matti also told The Breaker: “In the face of financial challenges and change within the local government sector it is vital we develop varied ways in which we can attract the skills we need.
“Our apprentices are one of our important sources of talent, and it is great that we have National Apprenticeship Week to shine a light on the work that our apprentices are doing.”
An individual choice
Lynne Jones, a career advisor at Bournemouth University, said: “The choice of whether to do an apprenticeship or come to university is a very individual one.
“Apprenticeships appeal to those who wish to learn in a more practical way and gain hands-on experience at the same time. Individuals need to research the cost implications of the two options.
“It is worth noting that there are increasing numbers of large corporations in a diverse range of sectors who are now offering both higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships in conjunction with different universities.”
(Headline picture: Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right)