What your child chooses to do after GCSEs or sixth form is both exciting and daunting. There are lots of options available and understanding the pros and cons between different choices can be challenging.
Apprenticeships should not be over-looked; they offer the opportunity to combine study with paid employment resulting in a professional qualification. There are no tuition fees (these are covered by the employer and the government) and the salary covers living expenses. In this post we take a quick look at the benefits and considerations of taking an apprenticeship. For a recap on apprenticeships and what they are, click here.
Benefits of an apprenticeship:
Apprenticeships provide focused and applied training, which is particularly useful if your child has shown a strong interest in a job or particular career path; Not everyone is suited to university style learning and apprenticeships may provide your child with a more practical approach to obtaining qualifications;
Apprenticeships develop key transferable skills, which are considered lacking in the labour market;
Gaining work experience and on the job training may provide your child with a competitive advantage when applying for full time employment; Some students flourish with the responsibility and structure of an apprenticeship; and Degree apprenticeships offer the chance to gain a BA or BSc without incurring the debts associated with studying at university.
Considerations Apprenticeships may narrow options early on. Your child will need to have a fairly clear idea of the type of career they wish to pursue; It may be difficult for your child to combine studying with working; The salary of an apprentice can be quite low and your child will also need to consider financing their travel and living expenses if they are not living at home. Furthermore, your child may need to pay back their course fees if they choose to leave their apprenticeship early; Your child may feel that they are missing out on the ‘student life’ offered at universities (however, some universities and colleges still offer their degree apprentices a strong student experience); Student career fairs and networking events at university enable students to explore different career routes, which your child might not have been aware of when leaving school; Your child may not be ready to enter the work place immediately after school; and
Degree apprenticeships are still quite new, so there is only a limited number of vacancies available at the moment.
Questions to consider: • Does your child have a clear idea of the type of career or job they want to pursue? • Is your child more suited to an applied and hands-on working environment? • Is your child organised and able to balance work with academic study? • Will your child perform better under the guidance of a supervisor in a work environment? • Will your child enjoy the combination of different learning environments? • Does your child enjoy practical / active homework assignments? • Has your child undertaken any paid or voluntary work and did they enjoy this? Don’t worry if your child is still unsure which option is right for them. Students can apply for degree and higher apprenticeships at the same time as applying to college or university. For more information on apprenticeships, you may be interested in The Parents’ Guide to Apprenticeships 2020-2021.