This week, it’s National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2021.

There are so many organisations of all shapes and sizes, offering interesting and challenging apprenticeships. It’s an area that is really misunderstood, so I wanted to explain how awesome apprenticeships are and update what they look like in 2021!

Between lockdowns in 2020, I went to the Gloucestershire Lift Off event. You can check it out here, and you’ll find out where the opportunities are, particularly if you check out the seminars here and check out the video resources too! We already know Gloucestershire is a great place to live, but it is also a great place to work. We have such a rich employment landscape including manufacturing, engineering, cyber, tech, creative industries, construction, hospitality, tourism, health and wellbeing.

It was a fabulous event showcasing the array of Gloucestershire businesses on our doorstep, and I met the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills at the Department for Education, Gillian Keegan.

Gillian was approachable, inspirational and impressive, and even better she was an apprentice herself, so she completely gets it.

The event demonstrated what amazing jobs and apprenticeships are available in our county. There is an energetic start-up scene and many large companies who have some awesome opportunities on our doorstep. Although we are currently going through a turbulent time, some companies and industries continue to prosper and hire, think construction, think accountancy, think manufacturing, or engineering.

So here are 10 reasons why apprenticeships are absolutely fabulous.

Apprenticeships are simply an alternative route into skilled employment.

They are a great way to earn while you learn, gain vital work experience and set yourself on a fast-track to a successful career. They are not for people who didn’t do well at school, large organisations such as GCHQ, Superdry, EDF, Raytheon and Suntory are all looking for apprentices, and you can do a higher apprenticeship which means you finish up with a degree, it’s a great way of getting into one these companies. You can also work for a smaller organisation too.

They are available across all sectors.

Apprenticeships are now available in over 1,500 occupations across 170 industries, ranging from cybersecurity to fashion, law, accountancy and food and drink, not just available in manual industries.

Exceptional quality

Apprenticeships are really high quality. Employer trailblazers, a group of employers that have come together to design new apprenticeship standards, have also been involved in developing new apprenticeship standards to be sure that they are learning the skills that employers need.

Opportunities for progression

Apprenticeships offer a ladder of opportunity. There are four levels.

  • Intermediate level (level 2)
  • Advanced apprenticeships (level 3)
  • Higher apprenticeships (level 4 and above)
  • Degree apprenticeships (level 5 to 7)

More and more people choose apprenticeships as an alternative to university while nearly a fifth of advanced apprenticeships progress to higher education over time following the apprenticeship.

Earn while you learn

Apprentices must receive at least the national minimum wage (currently £4.15 per hour for 16-18-year-olds and those aged 19 plus in the first year of their apprenticeship), though many employers choose to pay more.

In the long-term, individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications. While those completing a higher (degree level) apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.

At the Gloucestershire Lift-Off event, an organisation was looking for facilities management apprentices, and they would be earning £30000.

Accelerate your career

Apprenticeships are full time paid jobs where you can learn and earn and many high quality, and prestigious companies offer them. According to Department for Education research, a quarter of former apprentices (23%) secure a promotion within 12 months of qualifying, and the retention rate is very high too.

Employers benefit too

From August 2020 to January 2021, any firm that hires a new young apprentice aged 16 to 24 will receive £2000, while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1500.

Not just for school leavers

Apprenticeships are for EVERYONE, not just young people. Apprenticeships are available to people of all ages making them a great option for anyone looking to change career, upskilling or reskilling to secure a new role or re-enter the labour market after having taken time out for whatever reason.

A sustainable career

Apprenticeships can lead to permanent roles with 90% staying in employment after their course ends and 67% stay with the same employer.

Increase your overall employability

Your employability increases massively. You will have been on a structured programme. You will have built a network while earning and learning. You can do an apprenticeship in areas where skills are short, such as cybersecurity and telecoms.

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