5 Common Apprenticeship Myths Busted!
By Kris Hunt
Have you ever heard whispers about apprenticeship schemes and whether they’re really a good choice? Rumours often circulate around how apprentices are treated and whether this is regarded as a real job or not.
Have no fear! To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the five most common apprenticeship myths and explain why these misconceptions aren’t to be believed.
1. Apprentices are poorly paid
A real concern for many students going into the working world is their salary and whether they can cover their living costs, while still having some disposable income left at the end of the month.
Some people think apprentices are poorly paid and are used as little more than cheap labour for companies wanting to cut their wage bill. But this common misconception just simply isn’t true.
Businesses are on the look-out for the best candidates to join them and are often willing to pay more than you might imagine. A key element of an apprenticeship is studying, whilst getting on the job experience.
And it’s true that your wages will be higher once you’ve qualified, but in return, you’ll receive training in order for you to develop your career – all without having to pay thousands in tuition fees!
2. An apprenticeship is not a ‘proper’ job
Another misconception is that an apprenticeship is not a ‘proper’ job. Some believe that you aren’t always viewed the same as your colleagues and have to perform the mundane tasks.
In actual fact, apprentices are treated just like any other employee with tasks, projects, and responsibilities.
You’ll be performing tasks that directly link to the business, as the goal is to get you ready to work full-time. In some roles, you’ll be very hands-on and may have to interact with customers or clients on a daily basis.
You aren’t given a name badge that says ‘Hi I’m an Apprentice’. You’ll represent the business like anyone else would.
The main difference between you and another colleague is that you’ll also be studying while you work. This often includes a day off every week for classroom-based learning/studies. This aside, an apprenticeship is very much like any other regular job – even down to how you find and apply for one.
3. University graduates earn more than apprentices
There is a common belief among students (and their parents) that a university education will set you up to earn more money than an apprenticeship.
Although apprentices start at lower wage, by the time they reach graduation they are just as qualified as a graduate, but with on the job experience to boot!
Sure, some graduates go on to earn a good salary, but so do many apprentices. But remember, you’ll be without the burden of student debt.
Apprentices also have the benefit of real work experience that they’ve built up and a qualification to prove it.
By contrast, many university students struggle to find work due to their lack of experience. Graduates may even finish university and end up doing a job that they could have landed without three years of studying!
In fact, these are some of the top arguments as to why university may not be the better route to take.
4. Apprentices are stuck in the same profession for life
Many professionals will change their career over the course of their working lives. These days a job isn’t necessarily for life. What’s more, it doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck in a career forever. Unless, of course, the job is a perfect fit for you.
The same goes for apprentices. Of course, an apprenticeship will generally prepare you for a particular role or career path. But the idea is to train you with valuable key skills.
Over the course of an apprenticeship, you’ll still pick up transferable skills which could be used in a different role or company.
There’s no reason to feel like you’re trapped in one career forever. If you find a career you love then there’s nothing to say you can’t stay put. But equally, there’s nothing stopping you from taking your skills and using them elsewhere.
5. Businesses aren’t taking apprentices on
Since the Government’s change in the apprenticeship levy, there’s been some doubt around the availability of these schemes.
Yet, according to The Guardian, the government has remained committed to creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, after signing up more than 1.2 million new trainees since May 2015.
Like any other job, an apprenticeship may depend on factors that are out of your control. Factors such as location (where you live), transport links (commuting), job responsibilities (environment) and many more.
However, with the government pledging to create more schemes, it’s clear that the number of opportunities is set to rise.
Despite these misconceptions, the progression and further funding of the apprenticeship levy is continuing to create more roles.
Apprenticeships are available in a broad range of industries, while developing and changing to keep up with the demands of the economy every year.