Why young people shouldn't overlook apprenticeships

Male Student Studying For Carpentry Apprenticeship At College Using Wood Plane

National Apprenticeships Week 2021 runs until February 14 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With students receiving A-Level and GCSE results this week, many will be deciding their next steps.

For a lot of young people, university feels like the only option. But what about the young people who didn’t get their desired grades or who have decided university is not for them?

Apprenticeships can be an excellent option and offer a wealth of opportunities, as community reporter Tamika Green explores.  

Apprenticeships are an alternative pathway for anyone over the age of 16 to achieve a qualification, whilst at the same time earning a wage and learning on the job. Apprentices can choose from Level 2 apprenticeships all the way up to Level 6 and 7 – the equivalent of a full bachelor's degree and masters. 

Young people may feel that choosing an apprenticeship will put them at a disadvantage to those studying at university. But Sharon Adam, senior apprenticeship advisor at Apprenticeships Suffolk, says this is not the case. 

Sharon Adam, Senior Apprenticeship Advisor for Apprenticeships Suffolk

Sharon Adam is the Senior Apprenticeship Advisor at Apprenticeships Suffolk - Credit: Sharon Adam

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“An apprenticeship is exactly the same qualification that they are going to achieve at the end of their studies, but an apprentice won’t be potentially saddled with £9,000 worth of debt,” she said. 

“It’s just a very different pathway. The option of being able to get your qualification while learning in the workplace at the same time opens people up to a lot more skills.

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"If students are tunnel focused on learning the curriculum rather the having access to the people who are already in the job and learning from them, then they’re not broadening their skills,” she added. 

Sharon explains that lower entry level grades cause many to look down upon apprenticeships, but apprentices who haven’t achieved their English and Maths grades are still encouraged to gain these qualifications.

She also says those who have struggled learning in a more formal setting often make the most improvement throughout their apprenticeship.

There have been calls to reform the apprenticeship levy. Pic: Thinkstock

There have been calls to reform the apprenticeship levy. Pic: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Although the person who has enrolled on the apprenticeship programme might not necessarily have the higher achievement entry grades – they may not be very academic, but their journey on the apprenticeship programme can sometimes be greater than another student who did achieve higher grades,” she said. 

There are many opportunities currently available on the Suffolk Apprenticeships website. Some top picks include: 

  • Level 2 Beauty Therapy apprenticeship at the Lady Garden in Woodbridge  
  • Level 4 Employability Practitioner apprenticeship at Realise Futures in Ipswich 
  • Level 6 Food Industry Technical Professional apprenticeship at Munchy Seeds in Leiston 

For more information about apprenticeships and to see jobs available see here

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