Why an apprenticeship could be your next career move

Careers advice

In recent years, universities in the United Kingdom have witnessed a notable increase in the number of applications they receive-  with UCAS finding 40.5% of all 18-year-olds had made an application to study.

The UK is in the midst of a severe skills shortage, with the Learning and Work Institute finding that in both schools and further education, the number of people taking ICT courses has declined in recent years, and the BBC reporting that fewer than half of British employers believe young people are leaving full-time education with sufficient advanced digital skills. This is concerning as we live in a technologically advanced society and need skilled tech professionals to lead innovation.

It’s time to acknowledge that apprenticeships are the secret weapon to upskill our country and provide employers with a fully qualified workforce- they enable people to discover their niche and fulfil their potential as the next generation of skilled professionals.

In this article, Impact Futures dispels common misconceptions regarding apprenticeships and highlights the benefits to those looking to train and kickstart a long-lasting career.

Apprenticeships are for everyone – any time, any place, at no cost

Apprenticeships are for everyone- they can be undertaken at any point throughout working life. Whether you are a university graduate, have just finished school, or are looking for a total career change midlife – an apprenticeship can support the next steps. In the wake of Covid-19 many apprenticeships are delivered in a hybrid or online format-  providing easy access and increased options: less travel, less movement, less difficulty.

What's more: there is no financial cost to the learner in undertaking an apprenticeship. While other forms of upskilling can require hefty fees, apprenticeships are fully funded and paid.

It's not university vs. apprenticeship

Many believe the choice between university and vocational training to be binary, but that’s not the case. While the two offer different benefits, depending on your desired career, one or both may be best. Apprenticeships provide a sector-specific, on-the-job experience that offers an alternative experience to academic life; graduates may choose an apprenticeship after graduation to build experience. Impact Futures offer apprenticeships, qualifications, and short courses across various sectors and levels - ranging from adult care to early years, the tech industry, and more.

There are also notable similarities between the two. Like university exams, apprenticeships include an end-point assessment (EPA), demonstrating that the learner has been through a rigorous process and possesses core industry skills. The EPA varies depending on your programme, but the apprentice must pass it to pass their apprenticeship. Achieving the apprenticeship standard certificate or any associated qualifications proves a clear skill level has been attained – the certificate or qualification is a winner for future career endeavours.

Gaining experience

Rejection is common amongst job seekers, and all too often, the cause is the candidates’ lack of experience. Apprenticeships enable the learner to develop vital industry-specific while being paid.

Kush Galoria, Impact Futures’ very own Social Media & Marketing Apprentice, started an apprenticeship to build his CV and break into the industry: “Leaving university, I searched for social media and marketing roles anywhere and everywhere with very little luck due to my small amount of experience within the industry. So starting my career with an apprenticeship in digital marketing will benefit me with more working experience and equips me with a qualification and valuable knowledge that I will, no doubt, need throughout my career”.

Moreover, apprentices are usually kept on full-time after their apprenticeship – meaning they gain experience, a qualification, and a job. Alongside sector-specific experience, our apprenticeships also include functional skills learning. Learners who do not possess the required qualifications in English and Maths are able to bring their functional skills up to scratch through lessons and a final exam, alongside their apprenticeship. This enables learners to gain skills that will benefit their job performance and their personal life.

While most apprenticeship learning is ‘on-the-job’ (in the workplace or virtual workplace), apprentices are expected to spend 20% of their time undertaking off-the-job learning. This is anytime the apprentice is learning outside the realms of their regular work, supporting the apprentice to become more independent, self-confident, and well-informed. What’s not to like?

Support in learning

Apprenticeships offer a supportive learning environment - apprentices and learners are guided by a dedicated Development Coach. The role of a Development Coach is to guide the apprentice through the programme, ensuring good progress is made and that the apprentice has all the information they need to perform well on the programme. This support will allow you to make the most of the programme and not become overwhelmed-and crucially, provides a confidence boost to apprentices who have little prior experience.

Our PR & Marketing Apprentice, Katie, found that her apprenticeship has been the perfect fit for her, commenting: – “I wanted to gain more in-depth knowledge of PR, and with Impact, I can learn on the job while increasing my confidence at work.”

Traineeships: an alternative route to work 

A traineeship is also an invaluable way to learn a trade, ideal for those who have little-to-no prior work experience and may wish to use this as a stepping stone to an apprenticeship. Traineeships have a duration of just six months, compared to apprenticeships which can last a year or more, and also include further English and Maths study if required, ensuring the trainee has essential functional skills and training.

Traineeships are vocational in focus and feature a work placement, providing vital insight and introduction into the world of work. Impact Futures offers an increasing range of traineeships, after which you are guaranteed a job interview with one of our partner employers.

No matter your circumstance or previous experience, apprenticeships and traineeships can improve your career prospects, heighten job satisfaction, and map out a sustainable career path.

Visit the Impact Futures website to find out more about our apprenticeships and traineeships.


Got any questions?

We’re all about making an impact, be that individuals making an impact through their day-to-day work, or by organisations making their impact on our economy.

As a national training provider, we make this impact throughout the UK, with expertise in childcare, healthcare, clinical and business skills apprenticeships.

If you have any questions, whether it be about this article or anything else, complete the form below, call us on 01753 596 004, or email us.

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