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As school leavers across England and Wales collect their A level results, it seems misconceptions remain regarding one of the most dynamic post-school career options available – apprenticeships.
New research from Arch Apprentices has suggested that negative perceptions about apprenticeships are still rife among Britain’s exam students. Specifically among females, the supposed lack of academic credibility is still a worry, despite apprenticeships allowing many avenues for adding to qualifications and credentials.
Similarly, among both male and female leavers, there is a belief that apprenticeships are only for manual jobs, such as brick-layers, electricians and plumbers. However, apprenticeship schemes have come a long way since with careers in media disciplines, IT and management among a wealth of opportunities currently on offer.
Perhaps most surprising is the idea that apprenticeships are only for those who cannot afford to go to university, suggesting a lack of progression in talking to younger people about anything other than university being available as their next career step post A levels.
With an overwhelming 89% of school leavers also admitting they would have some reservations about choosing an apprenticeship over university, worries also included not having a colourful social life (21%), being unable to secure a top job (28%) and not making their parents proud of them (19%).
Jason Moss, CEO Arch Apprentices said, “Over the past 10 years, the change that apprenticeships have gone under has been drastic and incredibly exciting. From being traditionally associated with certain trades to now being at the heart of some of the UK’s largest media, digital and technology businesses, apprenticeships are no longer the second option for school leavers. For some companies, it’s the exclusive path for schools leavers to access their entry-level positions.
"At Arch, we like to think we’ve been at the forefront of the change, with our digital-first approach to delivering apprenticeships. Our learners aren’t stuck in a classroom, focusing on just the theory, they are in real jobs, with real pay and are putting into practice all of their learning via our multi-touch learning tools and techniques. They have proven to be an invaluable asset for the companies they work for.”
Alim started an apprenticeship with Channel 4 through Arch after starting a degree course and finding it wasn't quite for him.
He says, "I applied for university during college because that's what you do at college – write a personal statement, apply for uni and start a degree. I wasn't too confident about going to uni and when I got there, it wasn't what I expected. I felt it wasn't actually what I wanted to do."
So Alim started looking for his next step and saw a friend who was on an apprenticeship, working in the city, getting paid and doing lots of exciting on-the-job training. Alim adds, I started looking at the Government's apprenticeship website and then found an apprenticeship with Arch which was exactly what I wanted to do – social media and marketing for a company I loved anyway, Channel 4."
Alim is on a 14-month apprenticeship and, in the future, would like to stay on with Channel 4 – although he has had two job offers from other companies while on the apprenticeship. He says, "That just shows how incredible apprenticeships are. More opportunities can present themselves while you're working. Apprenticeships are ideal for people who are creative and want to work in digital, media, finance etc while getting paid."
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