Josiah decided uni was not for him whilst studying at his sixth form college. He tells us why he decided uni was not for him
Q:Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship over going to university? A:
Whilst in my first year of college there was plenty of talk about university options, with courses, locations and grade requirements being constantly discussed by both teachers and students; however none of it ever greatly appealed to me. There were courses I had some interest in, but certainly not enough to justify paying the extortionate term fees when I gave it some thought. I felt I was done with classroom education, and the endless coursework and tiresome group assignments which came with it, and I had learnt enough to start my working life. So, I began to explore university alternatives, with one of the most obvious options being apprenticeship courses, which vary so much in terms of what they can offer young people that there is something for everyone.
Q:What was the recruitment process like? A:
The whole process of being recruited was easier than I thought it would be. Leaving school and looking for apprenticeships seemed daunting at the time, but applications were straightforward, and employers who were offering apprenticeships were quick to get back to me and offer an interview. It was less complicated than I thought it would be, and I actually had much less to worry about than I initially thought. The idea I had when leaving college that companies wouldn’t want to be employing someone without a degree was quickly proven wrong, with plenty of fantastic companies keen to get skilled school leavers on board.
Q:What was your apprenticeship qualification in and how did you find it? A:
My qualification was in marketing. The actual apprenticeship work was split between units which closely tied to the work I was doing for the company and other units which were much more about general marketing, which could be applied more widely in the future. I found the coursework genuinely rewarding, as I knew I was learning so much by combining both work for the company and set unit work, which I was even allowed to complete in the office when I had the time to. Also, because the course tied in my job for the company, I could make it as applied or detached as I pleased on a unit by unit basis, able to overlap projects/reports I was developing for my job and those I was required to do for my apprenticeship.
Q:How were you treated by full-time members of staff? A:
I was only ever treated as their equal. It often didn’t feel like I was an apprentice, rather just another member of staff, with my responsibilities ever increasing as I was able to prove my worth working in exactly the same environment as everyone else at the company. In terms of pay, I felt I was being treated fairly, as most companies will pay well over the minimum apprentice wage, as mine did. It’s also important to consider that, although colleagues may earn more, they also get taxed much more heavily, so it works out that the pay is very competitive.
Q:What advice would you give someone looking to do an apprenticeship? A:
Be ambitious, but also be willing to compromise. There are many amazing companies offering apprenticeships, however they may not be the ones which you’re immediately aware of. I, admittedly, had never heard of the company I did my apprenticeship with, however it quickly became apparent to me that it was fantastic. The office was brilliant, the people were amazing and the industry events were all miles better than I thought they’d be. I think it’s very important to find the course you’d like to do, and from there find the companies which are looking for apprentices in those departments. Be open to working in an industry you aren’t currently interested in and be as active as you can when searching for jobs, as the more interviews you do hopefully the more options you’ll have. It’s also worth noting that I can’t recommend an apprenticeship highly enough. I learnt so much, and have now completed it very satisfied and delighted I chose not to go to university.
“There were courses I had some interest in, but certainly not enough to justify paying the extortionate term fees when I gave it some thought.”