National Careers Service busting myths about apprenticeships

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Paul Clifton, one of Futures’ Careers Advisers supporting the National Careers Service, talks about some of the myths around apprenticeships, and what he tells those people coming to him for careers advice.

I find offering careers advice really rewarding, it’s great to be able to guide someone through these important decisions and give them the benefit of my knowledge.

Over the years, the apprenticeship route has become a much broader offering, with so many more options and differing career paths. But the perception definitely lags behind the reality, and we do find a lot of people confused by what an apprenticeship is, and what it could mean to them.

Probably the greatest misconception around apprenticeships, is the belief that they’re only available to young people. Don’t get me wrong, there is more funding available for employers taking on 16-24 year olds, but you don’t have to be that age to do an apprenticeship. I’ve worked with people who have started an apprenticeship well into their thirties. With the support of the right employer, they are open to all.

There’s also the belief that apprenticeships are only available in areas such as construction and the motor trade. These industries have traditionally relied on apprentices, and most people working in these sectors, will have at some point been an apprentice.

But in 2018 apprenticeships look very different. We have apprentices going into retail, business administration, IT, accountancy, health and social care, hospitality, hair and beauty and engineering, to name just a few.

A lot of people also still expect that you’ll only get a low-level qualification if you take on an apprenticeship. But that’s another myth!

And you don’t have to wait till the school year starts to begin your apprenticeship! So many people worry that they’ll have to wait for months to begin their training, but it’s not the case at all. You can access an apprenticeship at any point throughout the year.

Finally, the last myth I want to put an end to, is the perception that an apprenticeship isn’t a real job - because it really is! You’re paid, you have to get up and go to work with everyone else, you will be an employee, with a contract and the terms and conditions of anyone else in that workplace.

Hopefully this has answered a few questions you may have had about apprenticeships. If you think this might actually be a route for you visit www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk to search and apply for opportunities.