It might seem that sometimes everyone is talking about going to University, but it isn't for everyone.
If you think university might not be for you there's alternative routes. One of the most popular is Apprenticeships and right now there's more providers than ever!
However Paul Joyce, Ofsted's Deputy Director for Further education and Skills, has spoken in a report about how Brexit may have an effect on Apprenticeships and Skill gaps and he found in his research that while the number of providers of Apprenticeships has gone up since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 (This means companies had to pay into the levy to support Apprenticeships in their business) the number of people actually doing apprenticeships has continued to fall.
So why is this the case?
It seems to be confusion over the purpose of an Apprenticeship and what is expected of the programme. In some cases it was found that Apprentices did not get adequate 'off-the-job training' which resulted in their overall progress to be slower and not developing the knowledge and skills that them or their employer needs.
In a programme that is designed to do exactly that, this seems like a pretty big issue, no?
In the absolute worst cases it was found that some employees didn't even know they were on an apprenticeship programme. Yikes!
This seems quite scary but remember apprenticeships are an absolutely fantastic way to get into work after school. You're in a an actual working environment with experienced colleagues, getting paid, developing skills and not racking up any debt.
So the big issue currently seems to be the lack of clarity from employers to its employees regarding the scheme.
So what can we do about it? Well to some degree it isn't down to you, the person applying for the apprenticeship. It's down to the providers to ensure they have an effective scheme that will get you the skills and knowledge you need to prepare you for a career in that industry. That means making the purpose of the Apprenticeship clear from the get go for both the company and the apprentice.
But of course there is always something you can do to ensure the apprenticeship is right for you before you commit to it.
Look into the industry. Look into the company. Look into what you get from the apprenticeship
Hop onto the government's apprenticeship website and get looking. The most important thing is to make sure it's an industry that interests you. There isn't any point getting an apprenticeship in Joinery if you can't bear the thought of doing it every day. Make sure it's something that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and doesn't make you dread the alarm clock on Monday morning.
Once you've got that, then look into companies. Now remember that you might not be getting paid that much at the beginning of your Apprenticeship. You are likely to still have to live with your parents or carers until you have a few years experience.
That's fine, that's kind of the norm for this.
So have a look at nearby companies offering apprenticeships. Is it somewhere that looks like you might enjoy working there? Then get in touch and see what they have to offer. Speak to people you know already working there to get a feel for the company. Maybe even ask if you can come down and have a look round. Really get a feel for the place and the sort of environment you'll be working in.
As Paul Joyce's report shows it's important to ask the right questions when looking for Apprenticeships.
Ask what the plan of the apprenticeship is. What job opportunities does it offer? What skills and knowledge do you get? Make sure the company seems to have an efficient Apprenticeship programme in place. If the case is that some companies are offering apprenticeships due to the levy but aren't actually putting any effort into making these useful programmes then make sure you're not accidentally applying for one of these just because they're advertised as an apprenticeship. Make sure you're asking the questions you need to make sure it's right for you.
If you need more help on apprenticeships have a look here at our useful tips and advice to the application process and where you can find further information on them on our links page here.
ARON TENNANT is the Talks and Editorial manager for Push. He is originally from South Yorkshire and has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sheffield. He also has an MA in Creative Play and Screenwriting from City, University of London and came runner up in Nickelodeon's international screenwriting competition in 2018. Alongside Push he does screenplay work for independent production companies and is working on his own independent film projects
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