During my apprenticeship journey, both before applying and since I’ve started as an apprentice, I have heard many stereotypical cons of taking this route. Throughout this blog I will be listing these ‘cons’, explaining what I have heard about them, and providing you with details on my own personal experience as an apprentice.
First of all, please note that everyone’s experience is different and this is my own personal approach.
1. Social life – People may describe an apprentice’s social life as almost boring compared to the stereotypical partying every night at university life and I will say as an apprentice you don’t have the same social life of partying everyday with other students, yet this isn’t necessarily a negative aspect. I have been to numerous social events with my colleagues that involve me meeting different people around my firm, as well as in-office activities. Therefore, I believe this aspect is better for networking with people you usually wouldn’t mix with because of the variety of age, experience, and job role. Not to mention that as an apprentice you are paid a salary so have more freedom financially when going out.
2. Qualification is less recognised – Some may say that if you don’t go to university, you can’t get the job you want, or employers won’t want to employ you based on your qualification. The apprenticeship route is still so new compared to university, so many employers are starting to understand the benefits of it and therefore implement their own apprenticeship schemes. However, I am also still enrolled at a university and my day-to-day schedule consists of doing university work, studying, and also attending a lecture once a week. I can also say that I may stand out to employers over people who took the university route because I have gained work experience from a young age meaning that I know how to perform in a working environment.
3. Stress/responsibility – As an apprentice you do have more pressure on you in the sense that you have bigger responsibilities with undertaking paid work. People may expect you to be of a certain expertise because of the larger responsibilities placed on you and the expectations regarding professionalism. Yet my place of work is very accommodating in allowing time for my studying if needed, as well as expressing the importance of asking for a little help if needed. I will be honest and say that it can be daunting at times, feeling like I have a lot on my plate with both university work and paid work but I’m always able to ask for help from my manager, other apprentices, and other colleagues.
4. Competitive – Honestly, I did find that during the stage of applying for apprenticeships and attending interviews/assessments, it was quite competitive. I was faced with confidence knocks in the form of rejection that made me question whether I’d get accepted to any. Luckily this only made me more determined to succeed, so yes apprenticeships are much more competitive, less in the sense of grades expected, but more in the sense of the application stage being very complex. However, if this is something that you want to do then allow yourself more time to prepare, ask others for their advice, and it will all be worth it in the end.
Hopefully these four points can give more insight into whether the stereotypical cons of apprenticeships would change your mind on pursuing one, or if I’ve made you realise that you would prefer this route based on my personal experience.