What it’s like being an apprentice around the festive season

This time of year is my personal favourite. You have all the festivities - Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas, New Year, and the general run-up to the end of the year. This is a great opportunity to celebrate and spend time with family and friends, but it can be busy both inside and outside of work. So, how do you create a good work-life balance around the festive season? 

Sadly, you will have to work Christmas Eve unless it’s on a weekend – obviously. However, as Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day, companies will most likely let you finish once your work is done or have more relaxed hours. It’s highly unlikely you will be working crazy hours/overtime on Christmas Eve, as everything should be prepped for the Christmas break the day before.  


Do you have to work that awkward time between Christmas and New Year? Some companies may make you take these three days off work, as the company has shut down from Christmas Eve till the first working day in January. Other companies may be open for business, and therefore you have to work, and finally, if you have to work but don’t want to, you will have to use/take a holiday. 

Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day are all national holidays, so you won’t be working on these days at all. Make sure this time is for relaxing and enjoying time away from work with family and friends. Even if you are told to do a task/work, you shouldn’t have to, as this is a nationwide holiday and everybody, bar key workers, will have it off, so there is no need to be working.  

Leading up to the Christmas break can be chaotic at work, but there are some positives too. Most likely, there will be a Secret Santa, and like every other year, you won’t know what to buy the person. There will also be a work Christmas party which is a great opportunity to have some fun and meet different co-workers. 

Some companies also include other social and work activities leading up to Christmas too! Likewise, Halloween and Bonfire Night activities are great chances to relax and socialise with work colleagues away from the office/working hours. 

Depending on what days Christmas falls on each year, you may have a longer period off than other times, changing year to year. It normally works out to around 10 days off or something similar. 

Overall, the festive time of year should be fun and exciting, so enjoy yourself and the festive atmosphere in the office. Make sure you relax before returning to work in the new year. Most of all, enjoy your time off with family and friends, as you deserve this time off after all your hard work.

As an apprentice around the festive season, it brings a unique blend of opportunities and considerations as per my experience. Time off, special perks, workload, festive activities, and personal commitments all play a role in shaping the experience. 

I would say the experience will vary as per the specific apprenticeship program and the policies of your employer. I suggest you stay informed, communicate effectively, and find a balance between your personal commitments and your apprenticeship responsibilities. Embracing the festive season as an apprentice can provide valuable experiences, foster connections, and contribute to your overall growth and development.

Suppose you expect time off during the festive season. In that case, I can’t directly say you will get it as it varies depending on your specific apprenticeship program and the policies of your employer. Some organisations may grant a break or reduced working hours, while others may expect apprentices to work regular hours. I recommend you consult your employer or apprenticeship coordinator for your holiday schedule.

I’ve seen some organisations that offer special perks or benefits to their apprentices during the festive season as a gesture of appreciation. If you get this, it will include bonuses, gifts, or access to holiday events.

Workload during the festive season can also vary, just like the above answers I provided. In some industries, such as retail or hospitality, the workload is higher due to holiday-related activities. In other sectors, work will slow down as clients and colleagues take time off. I suggest you communicate with your supervisor to know how the festive season will impact your workload and responsibilities.

Again, the answer depends on the organisation you’re working on. Many companies organise festive-themed activities or events to boost morale and foster a sense of community during the holiday season. I’ve seen them include office parties, team-building exercises, or charitable initiatives. 

If you want to balance personal commitments with your apprenticeship during the festive season, I would say it can be challenging. You should communicate any time-off requests or scheduling conflicts with your employer in advance. If you plan ahead, set realistic expectations, and maintain open communication lines, it will help you navigate your personal obligations while fulfilling your apprenticeship responsibilities.

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