Busting Apprenticeship Myths - The GCI Experience

We all - government, employers, careers advisors, teachers and parents- have a role to play to make sure people are aware that an apprenticeship can be a life changing opportunity.”- Anne Milton, Minister for the Department for Education.

18 June 2019

The above statement comes during a time where apprenticeships are dwindling due to outdated attitudes. The result? Many aspiring professionals are missing out on higher salaries and the chance to obtain real-world experience to gain a competitive edge in the current job market.

So, if apprenticeships are so advantageous, you may question why there are growing concerns about their popularity. Afterall, the transformation of apprenticeships has significantly increased the career options for the 4 million people who have done them since May 2010. Not only this, but companies that offered the most sought-after graduate schemes are now employing apprentices straight out of school. Sounds good, right?

If you’re still confused and want to know if apprenticeships are right for you, we’ve compiled 5 common myths and uncovered the truths behind them with help from GCI’s very own Jason Fenton- Watson. Jason started his career at GCI as an apprentice in February 2017. Fast forward to today, and he’s an established Project Coordinator, responsible for handling an aspect of the business that directly impacts the bottom line…

University degrees are needed for most jobs…

The UK now has more graduates that it does graduate jobs and in October 2018 post-university employment hit its lowest rate in 39 years. Jason decided not to go to university and has been employed with GCI for two years: I was studying at college and wasn’t sure which career path to follow once I’d finished. One thing I did know however was that I didn’t want to go to university and that’s when I saw the position at GCI. I knew it would be a fabulous apprenticeship opportunity with excellent career progression avenues and two years on I’m still in a company with a job I love.” So, ask yourself, do you need to go to university to pursue your dream career?

It won’t help my job prospects…

Once you’ve completed an apprenticeship the job prospects are good. As many as 85% of apprentices will stay in employment, with two-thirds (64%) remaining with the same employer. A recent City & Guilds report also found that almost 20% of employers have former apprentices working in board level positions. Jason had a similar experience: “It’s been a brilliant learning and career progression opportunity for me and I’ve now been permanently employed as a Project Coordinator. However, before this I had the opportunity to also work as a Project Support Officer before progressing to this role which provided invaluable hands-on experience.”

I won’t get a qualification…

All apprenticeships must include an element of training, so this is a common misconception. They should be designed to give you on- and off-the-job training, which will lead to some form of qualification. Under his scheme, Jason benefited from both practical and theoretical based training providing plenty of work experience to help him progress further: “When I first started, I was ordering equipment to satisfy customer jobs and managing the delivery of service support at customer sites all whilst learning more about business theory in the classroom. So, I was getting on-the-job experience and expanding my knowledge of the business at the same time – which is an opportunity many people don’t get.”

There’s no support for employers…

There’s no better time than now to be starting an apprenticeship, as Government reforms are investing in Levy funds to help employers with a pay bill over £3m invest in high quality apprenticeship provisions. It’s because of this people like Jason are able to work in an array of industries from Construction and Aerospace through to IT and Healthcare: “Despite the fact I had little relevant experience, I’ve quickly progressed into a role that I not only enjoy, but that also challenges me to do my very best.”

I’m too old for an apprenticeship…

One of the biggest myths to bust! Anyone of any age wanting to change career, improve their skills, or re-enter the labour market, should look towards an apprenticeship as a feasible option to do so. In fact, research indicates that adult apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3 deliver £26 and £28 of economic benefits respectively for each pound of Government investment. So, whatever age, an apprenticeship might just be for you!

So, if you’re still in doubt as to whether or not the apprenticeship route is the one for you, Jason has one final piece of advice…“My 12 months as a GCI apprentice were so enjoyable and rewarding, so if you see an apprenticeship that takes your fancy, go ahead and apply. It could be the best decision you ever make!”

For more information about apprenticeships at GCI, please contact HR@gcicom.net

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