For any of you that don’t know, I’m an advanced level 3 editorial apprentice at The Daily Telegraph, and study 1 day a week at Lambeth College for my NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists). Recently I’ve attended a couple of events in aid of promoting apprenticeships to young people, school leaders, employers and parents.
There is an undeniable stigmatism around the word ‘apprenticeship’. Recent figures revealed that “22% of parents still say that they would not – or are unsure – if they’d encourage their children to undertake an apprenticeship. With 30% citing ‘low pay’ as the reason”. The figures also revealed that “41% of teens said they have never been told about ‘white collar’ apprenticeships in professions such as accountancy and law”. The stigmatism surrounding apprenticeships simply has to stop, the opportunities that these courses present to young people are simply invaluable, and this message needs to be relayed to employers, young people and parents.
I believe I speak for apprentices as a whole when I say that we aren’t a group of people who didn’t get into university – I can vouch for this, as I got acceptances and declined them all – we chose this path because we wanted to earn while we learn, rather than being £27,000 in debt.
It must be said that if you want to be a doctor or neuroscientist then yes, you need a degree – but there are roughly 250 different apprenticeships in different career avenues that can be considered.
The 2015 apprenticeship rich list revealed statistics surrounding apprenticeships, namely the richest former apprentices and their net worths: Lord Bamford, Chairman of JCB, former apprentice at Massey Ferguson who is valued at £3.15 billion. Laurence Graff, Founder of Graff Diamonds and Former apprentice jeweller, valued at £3 billion. Amongst the names appear a few familiar faces: John Frieda; former apprentice hairdresser, David Beckham; Former Youth Training Scheme and Jamie Oliver; a former catering apprentice.
I’m not saying I’m the next David Beckham, and my cooking skills are relatively far off the abilities of Jamie Oliver, but we apprentices are enthusiastic, malleable and more than anything, incredibly keen to learn – what else could a company want in an employee.