Will an Apprenticeship Trap You in a Career?

Posted by: Mia Lewis Post Date: 25th February 2016

One in five young adults believe that taking an apprenticeship would mean you were stuck in that industry for life, a recent study by Positive Outcomes found.

227 people aged between 16 and 24 were asked about their understanding of apprenticeships ahead of next month’s National Apprenticeship week. Kelly Ball, managing director of Positive Outcomes, said that ‘this certainly suggests that work needs to be done to dispel these myths!’

There are many misconceptions about apprenticeships, but this one surprised me. Apprenticeships may not be the route for absolutely everybody, but there are many benefits to workplace learning that can set you up for multiple opportunities in the future.

These include…

Working experience

I loved my three years at university, but I’m aware it isn’t for everybody. University studies are usually an independent process, relying on your own motivation, with support from your professors only if you seek it. It was quite difficult scrapping for graduate roles after I finished, but it was equally difficult making the transition from uni to the working world.

Apprenticeships make the transition into not only different businesses, but different roles, easier. They give you a chance to learn all sorts of practical skills, and you can gain support and guidance by experienced colleagues that you will carry with you for the rest of your career, whatever path you take.

You will also gain insights into other departments, giving you an understanding of how they work and what it takes to succeed in these positions. Therefore, if you wish to make a change to a different sector, you won’t be completely alien to what it involves.

Those who already have real working experience are of huge benefit to all employers, and the previous knowledge you will have gained will give you an appearance of career awareness and maturity.

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Transferable skills

How many times have you heard of somebody who completed a very specific degree, only to get a job in a completely different sector? If you believe that university gives you the transferable skills to adapt to a new role, an apprenticeship, in which you will have strengthened these skills for years, may help you to adapt even quicker.

Abilities such as organising, communicating, and meeting targets are always in demand, and can be adapted to any role. Qualifications in which you pick up a wide range of skills – such as business admin, customer service and digital marketing – will give you a wide scope of responsibilities to strengthen your CV.

A fear of changing career didn’t stop Virgin owner Richard Branson, who started out with a record shop which has now branched out to an airline and an entertainment provider. You will never be ‘stuck’ in a career if you translate the skills you’ve already learned. Inspire the changes you want to make by using your experience and previous knowledge to get you there.

References and contacts

No matter what industry you’re coming from and where you’re aiming to go, it’s always positive to have great references to back you up. University won’t give you as many references of how you work in a professional environment as an apprenticeship. This means that if you want to make the jump to a different career path, you’ll have the trusted opinions of supervisors or managers to help you onwards.

One of the most brilliant and overlooked aspects of an apprenticeship is the amount of contacts you build. You can make all sorts of connections who know plenty of other people in different businesses and roles. The more you widen your connections, the better possibility you will have of learning where your career can go next.

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