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Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Are We Becoming Generation Apprenticeship?

The Debrief: More and more people are turning to apprenticeships over uni and college - and they're not just for plumbers

While the number of people unemployed and claiming benefit has fallen to just over 800,000, and while those of you who are jobless and fed up might immediately glaze over at the mention of 'apprenticeships', it's not actually just for plumbers.  Huge companies up and down the country like ASOS, Bentley, Arcadia, Channel 4 and Sky offer a range of apprenticeships. You can learn to be a chef, engineer or even a dog grooming stylist with an apprenticeship, so no matter what field you’re interested in it’s worth taking a look. Even the fashion and creative  industries  have started to offer them.

 'I wish I'd done an apprenticeship rather than going to university,' says Lena, a London-based journalist. 'Now, what matters is that I have experience in the workplace, but my course was really academic. I would have loved to be learning in an industry and possibly earning money rather than just doing stuff that had no value apart from learning how to do six jagerbombs.' 

'Chasing your dream job while earning a living is a struggle many young people face, and apprenticeships give them a chance to learn and earn at the same time within real professional environments. The apprenticeships we post on GTB always do well, because young people are eager to learn more about other career alternatives,' explains Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, head of Go Think Big.

'We all know about work experience and internships as a gateway to a job, but work experience isn’t paid and internships can be cut short. Apprenticeships are refreshingly different, so really worth considering because 90% of apprentices stay in work post-apprenticeship.'

According to figures released by the government earlier this month, it looks like a lot of people not only agree with her, but are actually taking it one step further; in the beginning of the last academic year, 53% of those who started apprenticeships were women. They can't all have been plumbers.

 'I was going to college to do catering and decided to do an apprenticeship instead of college, after a family friend suggested it,' says Molly, 17, from Canterbury. 'With the apprenticeship I got paid, and at the end of the year I got two or three job offers. I think they're a good route into work!' Daisy is also doing an apprenticeship in theatre, and  had no idea that was even possible: 'I think they're a fantastic way in - I didn't go to uni, or didn't do my A Levels and didn't have any idea of how I was going to get in,' she said. 'I had no idea that apprenticeships were even a thing, but two of my friends are now on the same apprenticeship as me because I went on about it so much. And a couple of people I know are doing fashion - it's definitely becoming more popular.'

And even jobs you'd imagine would require a long (and dull) academic route can be approached via apprenticeships. Lydia Feasey  is training to be a mechanical technician  ‘I got into engineering after really enjoying my Product Design A level’, she explains. ‘I loved finding out how think were put together’.  As an apprentice, she went to college one day a week and also got to work on a project recreating the sun’s power, which one day could solve the world’s energy problems. She’s now got a foundation degree and has a bright future ahead.

So if you're figuring out how to get on that career ladder, then maybe check out apprenticeships? It sounds like they're a thing, guys.

Like this? You might also be interested in...

Read more about apprenticeships 

10 Of The Most Unusual (And Cool) Apprenticeships 

Apparently There's A Way To Fake Workplace Charisma

Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

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