An alternative to gaining formal qualifications through studying full-time, apprenticeships are structured so you actually learn certain skills while gaining work experience in your chosen profession.
They are available all over the country in a wide and growing range of industries, from car mechanics to marketing, construction to hairdressing, retail to agriculture. Funded for anyone aged 16-24, they come in three levels: apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships. They can last for as little as a year, although it can take up to four years to attain a higher apprenticeship.
Pay is minimal to begin with, although this rises with age and experience and the training is free. In many cases they lead to an industry-recognised qualification which will stand you in good stead when continuing your career.
Benefits to the Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships have a wide range of benefits to the young workers who enter these schemes.
The biggest and most obvious one for most people is that the apprentice earns while they learn. Unlike undergraduates, who study without earning any money (unless they take on the extra strain of a part-time job), an apprentice is paid a wage while learning about their chosen industry. There are no student loans to apply for, no tuition fees to pay, and therefore no large debts after graduating.
Although the pay is minimal (depending on age and skillset), there is the potential to earn more in time, and also the promise of earning a good salary earlier than someone graduating from university.
Learning the skills you need as an apprentice is divided between on-the-job training and college study. Hands-on learning in the workplace itself is ideal for those less academically-minded, and has the benefit of giving the apprentices a head-start above their peers when it comes to the world of work. Not everyone wants to spend three years in a lecture theatre.
Apprentices also learn vital work skills – such as teamwork, reliability, customer service and confidence – required by every employer. This could help them gain any job after their apprenticeship finishes.
Benefits to the Employer
It is not just apprentices themselves who benefit from the scheme – employers too, reap the rewards.
There is the obvious benefit of employing young, engaged and enthusiastic workers from the beginning of their careers and molding them to exactly what the business requires. Many apprentices go on to gain further positions within the company they undertake their apprenticeship with, becoming skilled and valuable members of the business.
Many employers believe using apprenticeships leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce; others say their workers are more productive.
As training takes place mainly in the workplace, employers benefit by experiencing less disruption to the work schedule, having workers spend more time on the job and less in the classroom. They can also help companies tackle skills shortages, enabling them to take on specified workers, sometimes for a short period of time to help with a specific project.
There are many different apprenticeships in Newcastle, in a wide variety of industries – why not find out more today and see how you can benefit?