Group of girls and boys in classroomHelping to prepare your teenager for life after school is one of your most important jobs you’ll have as a parent.

It’s a key part of their transition into adulthood, but many of us are left feeling overwhelmed by it all. Naturally, we all want our children to have the best possible start to their career. But it seemed so much easier when we were their age…didn’t it?

We went to university or got a job or saw a bit of the world – easy. And for many, our career path was mapped out by apathetic career advisers or uninformed parents.

Choosing a career in this day in age is a whole different minefield from even a few years ago with so much more careers to explore, choices to consider and financial concerns.

With university tuition fees exceeding £9000/year and the average student leaving university with a debt of more than £50,000, this is not the attractive option it used to be. It’s a big investment with no job guarantee at the end and no vast sea of opportunities like there once was.

Developing the skills employers want

2 girls & 2 boys sitting at a tableSo what about apprenticeships, the ‘learn while you earn’ route which is growing in popularity amongst post exam school and college leavers.

Apprenticeships are high on the UK government’s agenda with the aim of creating 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020 contributing billions to the UK economy. They are also increasingly recognised as a crucial way to develop the skills actually wanted by employers.

Yet, for some, the idea of an apprenticeship instills an air of uncertainly; particularly amongst a generation of us who grew up believing university is the only way to secure a healthy and wealthy future. And there is still a lingering stereotype that apprenticeships are only for manual trades like mechanics and hairdressers.

Growing a workforce for the future

Many businesses are moving in the right direction and are embracing apprenticeships as the new and best way to grow their future workforce and upskill talent. They are mainstream, an accessible and credible career choice for all – practical and academically-minded alike.

Apprenticeships now cover more than 170 industries and 1500 jobs across a variety of topics from retail, childcare and finance to newer sectors like life sciences, renewable energy and cyber security.

Many of our creative and IT industries like software development and digital marketing are fiercely competitive and fast changing – traditional university courses could find it hard to keep abreast of the latest trends compared to being in the workplace itself.

If your child can get their ideal job via an apprenticeship route which combines training, workplace experience, industry recognised qualifications and a salary, surely it’s a win-win situation!

Still not convinced? Here are some common misconceptions about apprenticeships debunked...

It’s not a real job

An apprenticeship is a real job - but with training included - that usually lasts between one and four years. Thereafter, most apprentices gain permanent employment. Apprentices will receive a regular wage and are entitled to paid holidays, sick pay and other benefits such as childcare vouchers schemes.

There’s a lack of security

Apprentices have same rights as other employees with a contract of employment and excellent career progression opportunities.

There are no job prospects

Once an apprentice completes their training, the vast majority go on to secure permanent employment, gain promotion, progress to the next level of qualification or move to further education. For example, with GP Strategies, 92 per cent of apprentices secured permanent employment at the end of their apprenticeship in 2017.

You don’t get a proper qualification

New apprenticeships introduced in 2017 put employers in the driving seat for developing new apprenticeship ‘standards’ to meet the skills needs of their sector and the economy more widely, making apprentices much more employable and better prepared to add value in the workplace. In addition to the apprenticeship itself, some programmes include industry recognised qualifications.

It’s a poor wage

Unlike most ways of gaining formal training and practical experience, the government contribute to the funding of apprenticeship training. Apprentices are paid a salary, which will be determined and paid by the employer. The national minimum wage for apprentices is currently £3.70/hour but most employers will pay higher than this, and long-term earning potential is high.

You’ll make cups of tea and photocopy all day

Nothing could be further from the truth. More businesses than ever recognise the value and contribution an apprentice can make, and see apprenticeships as an investment for the future. Apprentices learn practical skills in a work environment surrounded and supported by highly experienced employees who pass on valuable skills and knowledge, and give them the opportunity to do the job themselves.

Want to find our more?

GP Strategies offers apprentices, employers and parents full support and guidance during the apprenticeship process. To find out more call us on 0330 1000 610.


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