Apprenticeships have value in businesses

Apprenticeships work!

Apprenticeships work!

The following is a testimonial from Alex O’Neill, a Business Administration apprentice based at the National Apprenticeship Service, Portsmouth. Through research, she discovered that apprenticeships were no longer restricted to manual trades, and that in fact, the career opportunities were endless. If you are yet to uncover the benefits that hiring an apprentice can bring to your business then look no further.

“Although unemployment figures are reducing, a recent survey found that over half of 14-18 year olds are worried about finding a job.  The same survey also revealed that two thirds of youngsters are concerned about being in debt in the future, with girls more concerned than boys. With 2013 now upon us, many of our nation’s young people will be hoping to secure a firm foot in the employment door.  

Last year, like hundreds of thousands of young people, I chose university after my A-Levels. However, after a change of heart, I declined my placement as I didn’t like the idea of being in debt, with no guarantee of a job after graduation. Like a number of girls my age, I thought apprenticeships were for boys and involved getting your hands dirty in engineering or building work.  Luckily, a friend referred me to the apprenticeship website, apprenticeship.gov.uk which lists opportunities across the UK and I was amazed at the diversity of possible careers open to me. Subsequently, I secured a Business Administration Apprenticeship from HTP Training with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

 As part of my role at NAS, I visit career fairs and employment events to speak to young people about the different career options available to them. What struck me were the common misconceptions about apprenticeships. Unsurprisingly, many are under the impression that there are no apprenticeships suitable for them – partly owing to the notion that apprenticeships are mainly in construction and engineering. Yes, construction and engineering are tremendously popular, but there are a whole range of industries offering young people some fantastic opportunities – over 250 Apprenticeships frameworks covering 1,400 job roles – and the list of sectors offering apprenticeships are growing each day.

Today, over half a million apprentices are working in sectors from aviation to accounting and healthcare to the live music industry. And no role is ever gender specific – there are girls in the construction sector and boys working in beauty salons. Apprenticeships are available from a number of employers including BarclaysIBMRolls-Royceand Unilever. Not only are today’s apprenticeships amazingly diverse and dynamic, they are also multi-disciplinary. Apprenticeships offer a nationally recognised qualification, job specific skills and a wage from day one.

 Before I secured an apprenticeship, I was amongst those worried about my future. It’s time to break down some of the stereotypes and social misconceptions which hinder young people’s chances of securing employment. Apprenticeships offer a great number of benefits to both the apprentice and the employer. Make 2013 the year you secure not just a job, but a career.”