This week it’s the annual National Apprenticeship Week 2019. Coinciding with National Careers Week, it runs 4th to 8th March. The week highlights the benefits that apprenticeships bring to employers and young people within the apprenticeship community. Additionally, the positive impact on the economy is recognised nationallly.
Our Apprenticeship History
Here at The Whole Caboodle, we have a history of hiring apprentices. We recognise just how valuable an apprentice can be, and the positive effect an apprentice can have on our team dynamic. In our team, we currently have one current, and one former apprentice.
Ollie, now an Account Executive, joined us in November 2014 as a Junior Digital Project Manager. Since then, Ollie has become a vital member of our Account Management and Caboodle team, despite his Christmas party dance moves that we are all rather scarred from…
Our current apprentice, Marina, joined our Project Management team in November 2018. Originally from Greece, Marina moved to England in 2018 and hit the ground running. Now only 4 months on and it’s hard to imagine the office without her savage sense of ‘humour’ and goldfish memory.
However, there seems to be a common negative perception regarding apprenticeships and those who choose the apprenticeship route. Many seem to believe that going to University is the only option . Although this could finally be changing. It has been reported that a massive three quarters of people would rather do an apprenticeship than go to university, as shown below by CV-Library.
So as part of National Apprentice Week 2019 we thought we’d interview our rookie. We want to know just what an apprentice actually thinks of apprenticeships and the negative perceptions about not going to University instead.
Let’s get right into it then…
Getting to know our Apprentice
What does being an Apprentice mean to you?
Being an apprentice means that I get to have a job while I learn. It means that I can learn from the people around me, who can mentor me and help me to achieve things that I didn’t think were possible. I also get to network and meet great people whilst working towards a qualification.
Why did you go down the Apprenticeship route?
Initially, I got a ticket for an open day at Leeds University with the thought of applying on that same day. When the day came I decided I wouldn’t go, the 4-year commitment scared me. I felt that I was going to be restricted and in a lot of debt after finishing. After doing a bit of research and realising that an apprenticeship can offer me even more than a regular degree with more freedom, I made a decision. I wanted to learn hands-on and really see how the business market works. This is something that I think a University degree could never offer me.
What would you say to people deciding between a University degree or an apprenticeship? Would you recommend it? What are the drawbacks, if any?
I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship instead of a University degree. This is especially true if your goal is to continue your apprenticeship to reach the highest qualification possible.
Whilst the apprenticeship life might not be as fun as the university experience, since you usually work full time, you do earn while you learn and also gain experience with your certification.
A lot of employers also value experience more than a degree. So, having 4 years of experience with the qualifications you earned while doing an apprenticeship would put you right ahead of the competition. If you are looking to get a head start into your career there is no better way than an apprenticeship.
As with anything, an apprenticeship also has its drawbacks, especially if you live alone. Since most people start an apprenticeship with no prior experience, employers will usually pay around the minimum apprenticeship wage. That can be a good amount of pocket money if you live with your parents. However, if you live by yourself, a second job is essential. Get ready to start working weekends and prepare for a lot of budgeting. There is no need to worry though, usually after a few months some employers will raise your wage when you become more experienced on the job.
Do you think there is a negative perception regarding apprenticeships/apprentices?
Before I started an apprenticeship I thought that it mostly consisted of making coffees and helping with the jobs that nobody else wanted to do… turns out that you also need to make teas.
Only joking, but there are definitely a lot of people that disregard apprenticeships thinking that you actually don’t learn a lot and that you are mostly there to help with generic jobs. Depending on your employer you can be given a lot of responsibility and get a lot of insight into how multiple aspects of the business work. There is definitely a need to educate more people on how important and useful apprenticeships can be.
Do you believe that not having a degree would hold you back from doing what you want to do? Or, do you think that being an apprentice has a wealth of experiences and opportunities that you may not encounter in a typical University environment?
It really depends on the career path that you want to take. If you would like to become a doctor or a lawyer, for example, an apprenticeship would not be ideal.
If you are fond of a career in marketing, health and beauty or hospitality then an apprenticeship could be the best way to start your journey into your chosen field. It also depends on the amount of effort you are willing to put in. An apprenticeship certainly requires you to be more serious and responsible when it comes to your education and work.
What’s the most challenging and the most positive aspects about being an Apprentice?
The most challenging thing, I would say, would be keeping on top of my finances and juggling two jobs at the same time. It can be difficult at times but if you are willing to make sacrifices everything is possible.
The most positive aspect is that normal people like me, that come from a different country and don’t have a lot of options to enter the labour market without prior experience or without a degree, can do so. An apprenticeship can be the window for you to start a career that otherwise you would never be able to have.
What do you enjoy about working at The Whole Caboodle?
From my first day, I felt like I was a part of the team. Everyone is super friendly and I am able to learn from different people about different subjects and expand my knowledge even more.
They have no problem explaining the same thing over and over to me, since I have the memory of a goldfish, which is something I am really grateful about.
They also opened my eyes to the best instant coffee in the world, Kenco instant coffee, and also taught me how to make a proper cup of tea which is invaluable knowledge.
Have you considered doing an apprenticeship, or do know someone who has done one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’re thinking about doing an apprenticeship but can’t see an advertised role on The Whole Caboodle job page, simply give us a call or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, you never know we may have just the role for you.
To join in the conversation on social media, just search for and use the national hashtag ‘#NationalApprenticeshipWeek2019’.