There has been a shift in recent years between school-leavers taking apprenticeships over full-time education. As fees continue to rise it has become a more viable option to join a business immediately whilst also learning new skills. Whereas over 110,000 apprenticeships were created last Autumn, university applications dropped by 4%. Employment and skills specialist Seetec work with many major businesses across the North West raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeship schemes. They have helped drive an increase in the number of apprenticeship sign-ups between the ages of 19 and 25.
Bradley Lawson, 23 from Manchester, tried college after finishing school but realised it wasn’t for him. Joining Cresta Cars he had an opportunity to sign up for an apprenticeship scheme studying for a level 2 business admin qualification working in the corporate accounts department. “I started at the company in the call centre but wanted to study something different. I’m good with numbers, the company offered the apprenticeship scheme and it was ideal for me. I’ve broadened my knowledge and gaining a qualification will open many doors for me. I’ve been here for five years and studying has helped move my position forward. Studying alongside the work didn’t affect my salary so I was able to enjoy life at the same time as developing myself.”
Bradley Lawson, aged 23, is an apprenticeship for Cresta Cars
Bradley says “College really wasn’t for me so I’m grateful that I’ve found a way to study that doesn’t compromise my work. I think university and college are great options for people who know what they want to do but others like me who aren’t mentally prepared for what’s next it’s perfect. The apprenticeship scheme is so great, you can pick it up at any age and earn while you learn.”
Conor Anderson from Liverpool worked at a large supermarket chain straight from high school, but as he got older he started to think about his long term goals. “I felt it was too late for university but I knew I wanted more from my job. I researched apprenticeships but didn’t really know what was out there or if anything would appeal to me. I’ve always had an interest in social media and how it works so it was great to find qualifications in it.”
Now, aged 23, Conor is studying his Level 3 in Digital Marketing and works full time for care provider PSS as a Digital Communications and Tech Assistant. “Things progressed really quickly, I started the scheme and within six months was offered a role so was earning alongside my studies. I continue to learn on the job and as digital is such a constantly changing industry I can evolve and add value to the role I have within the business.”
Despite studying alongside a full time job Conor was surprised at how easy it was to manage. “My company are really understanding, I have a few hours a week to catch up on any work so I’m not overwhelmed with both sides of the scheme. There are a few apprentices here so it’s good to have others to talk to about the studying. I am on course to complete my qualification earlier than planned which is a bonus, it’s been a quick process and since I’m young I know that the progression is only going to push me further.”
Learning a skill alongside hands-on experience is invaluable to both businesses and employees, Seetec understands the benefits of people like Conor and Bradley can have on building businesses. Apprenticeship schemes benefit both parties without disruption to a usual working environment, providing the best future for young people.
Gemma Swindlehurst is Apprenticeship Delivery Coach at Seetec