Demystifying Apprenticeships: Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction: Demystifying Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships cover training across a huge range of sectors and from entry-level roles to senior management for both new and current staff.

Below we debunk some popular myths surrounding apprenticeships with examples from the people that work with us.

Light bulb with an arm raised as a question

“Apprenticeships provide a learning gateway for all: at any phase of life; at any stage of professional expertise; for any level of experience. They enable next step thinking to be integrated into current practice which scaffolds a platform for growth, self-determined career progression, and intellectual challenge. Whether you are 17 or 70, with qualifications, or without, apprenticeships provide bespoke tailored opportunities which are expertly matched to the needs of an individual enabling a personalised approach to both learning and accreditation.”

Jo Morgan, CEO, Shaw Education Trust and Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprentice

Myth: Apprenticeships are only for young people

Apprenticeships are actually for anyone aged 16 and over – there is no upper age limit. They are suitable not just for school leavers, but also for those looking to change careers and those looking to return to work after a career break.

Apprenticeships are also for people of any age who are already employed and looking to upskill.

There may be different entry requirements depending on the sector, role or level of the apprenticeship.

“Apprenticeships provide a learning gateway for all: at any phase of life; at any stage of professional expertise; for any level of experience. They enable next step thinking to be integrated into current practice which scaffolds a platform for growth, self-determined career progression, and intellectual challenge. Whether you are 17 or 70, with qualifications, or without, apprenticeships provide bespoke tailored opportunities which are expertly matched to the needs of an individual enabling a personalised approach to both learning and accreditation.”

Jo Morgan, CEO, Shaw Education Trust and Senior Leader Masters Degree Apprentice

“We have young people as well as people in their late twenties, thirties and forties. We value those transferable skills from previous roles in older apprentices as much as the raw talent that younger people bring as a way to get into the construction industry which is great for us.”

Amy Ross, Head of Social Value, Higgins Partnerships

Myth: Apprentices are there to do the jobs you don't want to do

Apprenticeships are training programmes for people to develop the skills and knowledge they need in order to be effective in their roles. This not only benefits the apprentice but also the organisation they are working in. Time that is spent developing skills and supporting the apprentice to be able to put these into practice the more everyone gets out of the apprenticeship.

“As a mentor you need to change their mentality to work, communicate and relay information, take the time to teach them skills.

As an employer you need to take responsibility as it’s your job to help them develop to ensure they become a well-rounded individual – it’s not cheap labour – this isn’t fair on them or you as they won’t pass and it’s a waste of time.”

Saima Khan, CVC Components

Myth: Apprenticeships are only for manual roles

Apprenticeships cover a large number of sectors and job roles from Health and Social Care, Education, Retail, Hospitality, Media and Marketing – you can even study puppet making!

Within each sector they cover a number of roles from entry-level all the way to management.

“It has definitely given me a lot more information, knowledge and skills, and has made me better at my job.  It’s been an eye opener, learning all the skills needed to be able to provide the best support in my role. It’s also made me want to continue learning.”

Jack, Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship

“I’m now halfway through my apprenticeship, and in each session I have with my tutor, Maria Seal, it both reinforces and enhances the work I’m already doing. I’m really pleased with how it’s now going and I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to do it and my skills and knowledge have definitely improved.”

Joe, Level 4 Employability Practioner Apprenticeship

Myth: Apprenticeships cannot be used for existing staff

Apprenticeships can be used to upskill and retrain your existing workforce.

You can use apprenticeship training to:

  • fill key skill gaps in your business
  • boost employee motivation by investing in their development
  • improve retention

For example, an experienced employee may be keen to get a formal qualification in their specialist area, or perhaps someone has the aptitude and drive to learn something new and progress into a different role.

Apprenticeships are designed by employers so they reflect the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that your business needs.

“I’ve been with my employer for three years, and each year they give each employee the option to do the level 2 or level 3 apprenticeship, the first year I wasn’t too sure, the second year I decided to take advantage and do the level 3.

I’ve definitely matured in my role from doing the apprenticeship, it’s helped me understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I can also now help new employees, as our employer provides opportunities for people to train in health and social care but that might not have a background in it, so that experience and knowledge I’ve been able to pass on.  I’ve had conversations about the Level 5 Apprenticeship, I know we’ve had managers that have moved up by doing the apprenticeship within the workplace so it might be something to do in the future.”

Ruby Henley, Distinction Award for Lead Adult Care Worker Level 3 Apprenticeship

“I was doing well at what I needed to improve on, and unlearning the bad habits – it was nice to get a bit of reassurance I was on the right lines and the things I shouldn’t be doing as a line manager I was able to unlearn,  and going though changes in my management style was really beneficial.”

Jonathan Weighall, Management Level 3 Apprenticeship

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Myth: Apprenticeships don't lead to a full-time job

The most recent apprenticeships evaluation report states:

  • 93% of those completing their apprenticeship were in work with 76% in full time employment.
  • 83% of apprentices felt that completing their apprenticeship had improved their career prospects.
  • 60% of apprentices completers saw a positive impact on their pay and/or progression.

(Source: Apprenticeship Evaluation March 2020)

“Due to already having experience within a office environment I thought furthering my knowledge and skills within a new area would be beneficial for my career development. When looking at a potential career change I did research and enquired about starting a university course but the expense of the course put me off, whereas with a apprenticeship you gain access to a company you want to work in and relevant experience as well as a qualification – and with Ixion I was promised a job at the end of my business administration apprenticeship.”

Lillie Tempest-Routledge, Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship

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