Apprentice Experiences

Click a number to read an apprentice’s experience and why they chose to do an apprenticeship…

Andrew Paul, Housing Apprentice with Opps Training

I am currently 25 years old so not your normal school leaver apprentice. I left school after my A-levels and have been travelling ever since with no real thoughts for working. When I returned full time to the UK this left me in no position to get any job, except within retail, so I started looking at apprenticeships. I managed to get into the Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust on an 18month apprenticeship in Housing. This means learning about all aspects of social housing.

My apprenticeship in Housing has allowed me to learn by doing a vast amount about social housing and I have been able to visit all different departments within the company not just one. This has helped me grow my knowledge a lot further about housing as a whole. I have found everyday to be different by doing an apprenticeship and have found so much information by going and talking to people who work in the industry rather than continually reading about it. This has been a very practical way of learning which for me suits me well. I have also managed to turn my apprenticeship into a permanent job now even though I have not quite finished the apprenticeship itself.

If you don’t think university is the way forward for you then apprenticeships may be what you are looking for and would recommend one to anyone. You get paid to learn instead of incurring a lot of debt to learn.

Read Andrew’s blog site here

Jon Strong, Business and Administration Apprentice with Opps Training

ApprenticeLike many school-leavers and 16-18 year olds, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do when I left school. I was just finishing my A-Levels and everyone was talking about UCAS points and going to University. I didn’t want to go to university, mainly for two reasons: I didn’t want to be in debt and I didn’t want to carry on the subjects I took at A-Level. But thanks to career meetings, a dedicated tutor and informative websites, I had a clear idea of what other opportunities there were out there for me apart from going to university. I didn’t know what career path I wanted to take (I still don’t!), but i felt comfortable knowing I had other options other than university, as I knew it wasn’t for me.

When I finished my A-Levels, I spent 4 months living and working in France. After being at school for so long, it was nice to be able to do something different and to have a unique experience. When I came back to England, the work wasn’t readily available and I was advised to start claiming benefits. I did and started looking for work, but for nearly 3 months, all my applications were met with a similar response – “Sorry, we’re looking for someone with more experience.” Being turned down not for lack of qualifications but for lack of experience (something you don’t get from school) was hard, and made me look into how I could get this experience.

This is when I first really discovered and considered Apprenticeships. At first, I’ll admit that they did seem to be a bit too good to be true. There weren’t any requirements and you got paid whilst learning on the job; I could get experience, money and qualifications all at the same time. I didn’t think that there would be many courses to choose from (honestly, I thought they’d all be construction or mechanics etc.) or vacancies but I was wrong in many ways. After researching them further, I started applying and was in due course successful in my application for an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration. Since then I haven’t really looked back and I’m happy with my decisions.

I believe that there are many young people out there right now, that are in the same situation I was in. My advice would be to talk to your tutor, meet with your school/local careers advisor and use the internet for guidance and advice. Also, don’t feel pressured. My parents didn’t go to university, but were really keen for me to go and the majority of my friends went, making it difficult for me to make an uninfluenced decision.

Read Jon’s apprentice blog here