National Apprenticeship Week kicks off on Monday and it’s the tenth anniversary of the week-long celebration so let’s take a look at apprenticeships.
For some young people what an apprenticeship is sadly remains a bit of a mystery – in short, it’s a job with training and sometimes a qualification attached to it. You find out in detail what an apprenticeship is here.
Apprenticeships are not new – they have existed since the Middle-Ages and have always provided a way for those in the industry to train up the next generation of workers. This is probably why apprenticeships are so easily associated with traditional craftsmanship in our mind. Traditional crafts are of course still highly relevant to the apprenticeship story, with glassblowing, organ building and dry-stone walling still featuring; but apprenticeships have become much. Much more since the Middle-Ages and now we see cyber security apprenticeships, solicitor apprenticeships and many more equally fascinating career options available.
The best apprenticeships are those that provide you will a great working experience, train you to do a job brilliantly, allow you to integrate into the industry, making connections with employers and keeping up to date with technological advancements and offer you job security for a healthy financial future; the worst, offer you a quick method of getting a job that you don’t really want to do long-term, offer you nothing in the way of qualification and progression and in reality simply hold you back a year or two in terms of developing your employability skills and career.
Real life apprenticeship success stories
At Moving On, we speak to lots of people about their career and educational journeys. We spoke to one young man who was so determined to get himself the apprenticeship that he wanted in the nuclear industry that he upped sticks and moved 150 miles so that he could do it. We also interviewed Faye Banks for our October issue; a now successful engineer with National Grid whose career was kick-started after a very choppy start, by an apprenticeship programme.
Over the years, we’ve looked at all kinds of apprenticeships – from scientific apprenticeships at the laboratory of the government chemist and the national physical laboratory to apprenticeships in zookeeping at Twycross Zoo and also business and admin apprenticeships are still the most popular in terms of apprenticeships offered in England, some of the other apprenticeship programmes offered have been truly inspiring (some have made a few of us wish that we could go back to being 16 and jump on the apprenticeship band-wagon).
What does the apprenticeship story need?
The best of apprenticeships are really great. They offer fantastic opportunities to the young as well as quality training and a foot up the ladder in terms of career development. What the apprentice story needs now is more – much more of this and not just in a few areas of the UK but all over!