There are so many misconceptions that people have about apprenticeships – from thinking that they’re just for young people who didn’t do well at school, to wrongly assuming that they’re restricted to manual labour jobs.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a look at six of the most common myths about apprenticeships and see how they are increasingly becoming a ‘Plan A’ for students who are realising the benefits of an apprenticeship over going to university.
1. Apprenticeships are for people who didn’t do well in school or college
Wrong! Apprenticeships are for everyone, regardless of how well you did in education. There’s a common misconception that apprenticeships are a ‘plan B’ for people who didn’t get the grades to get in to college or uni – but this definitely isn’t the case. In fact, apprenticeships are increasingly becoming a ‘plan A’ for students who want to earn money straight away and avoid the debt that comes with going to university.
2. Apprenticeships are for ‘hands-on’ jobs like construction
Whilst apprenticeships in ‘traditional’ sectors like construction and plumbing remain popular, there are so many other career paths that you can take with an apprenticeship.
In 2017, the three biggest areas for apprenticeships were business, health and engineering, and there are new apprenticeships being developed all the time. So whether you want to go into teaching, become an aerospace engineer or would prefer something office-based, there really is something for everyone.
3. I’ll be left without a job once my apprenticeship ends
It’s easy to think that you’ll be back to job-hunting once your apprenticeship finishes – but it’s highly unlikely that will be the case. Research from the Department for Education and The Higher Education Careers Services Unit showed that 91% of apprentices are in work on completion of their apprenticeship, compared to 74% of graduates being in work on completion of their studies. In addition, 80% felt that their employer actively supported their career development.
Remember that apprenticeships give you real experience that employers value, so if you are one of the unfortunate ones who isn’t kept on, you’ll have a strong CV and hands-on experience that other organisations will value.
4. I can’t do an apprenticeship if I’m already in work
You absolutely can do an apprenticeship if you’re already in work. Apprenticeships aren’t just for young people who are fresh out of school or college. More and more businesses are using apprenticeships to upskill existing members of staff, including graduates and people who are already in senior positions.
Almost 65% of apprenticeship starts are for higher-level or degree apprenticeships, so there are plenty of options if you want to progress through the apprenticeship route once you’re in work. Remember that you can do an apprenticeship no matter how old you are and no matter where you’re at in your career.
5. I won’t earn as much as a graduate
A study by Barclays and CEBR found that former apprentices make pretty much the same amount of money as graduates over the course of their career – and depending on the industry, apprentices could actually make a lot more than graduates. As an apprentice, you’ll also have the added bonus of no student debt looming over you. And, you’ll be earning money right from the get-go, so you’ll be able to fund your hobbies and save for a house or car much sooner than graduates.
6. I’ll just be making the teas and coffees rather than doing anything worthwhile
An apprenticeship is a real job in a real work environment, so you won’t be doing all the boring tasks that nobody else wants to do. You’ll have the same responsibilities as the rest of your team, and you’ll contribute to team projects and meetings just like any other member of staff. As an apprentice, not only will you be learning how to do the job in question, you’ll also be gaining essential workplace skills such as teamwork and time-management.