Recently, it was Modern Apprenticeship week from 29th February until 4th March in Scotland. As a result, I was asked to deliver a talk to some pupils who were interested in applying for apprenticeships that attend the school I work at. I was asked to deliver this talk because I recently finished my year long SVQ2 Business Administration apprenticeship in November 2015 and so could provide valuable information to these young adults.
It was brought to my attention at the start of this year that there are people who don’t fully understand what an apprenticeship is and there are also accounts online dedicated to bashing companies who choose to hire apprentices. Therefore, I thought I would create a post to provide information on what an apprenticeship is as well as what my personal experience of the apprenticeship program has been. I do understand that some companies use the apprenticeship program to their advantage; however, apprenticeships are still worthwhile and valuable to those undertaking them
An apprenticeship involves learning while you earn. This means you are hired by a company full time and then you also gain a qualification on the side. How you earn this qualification is different depending on the type of apprenticeship you are doing. For example, with an administration SVQ2 apprenticeship you are given an hour and a half each week during work hours to complete some qualification work and anything further has to be done at home whereas with a building construction apprenticeship you get time off of work to attend a few weeks of college where you complete your theory work on a rota basis
I personally chose an apprenticeship because I had to move out so had to be earning a wage in order to live independently. However, I also wanted to continue gaining qualifications while at an age to do so. I started my apprenticeship at one location but transferred after three months. This was due to transport issues so when I saw an apprenticeship advertised closer to where I was staying I decided to apply and was lucky enough to be successful. Keep in mind – if you dislike the organization or work you are doing in an apprenticeship for whatever reason then there is the opportunity to apply elsewhere while still doing your qualification.
My apprenticeship has allowed me to gain my SVQ2 in Business and Administration as well as 1 year’s office experience which is the minimum asked for when applying for clerical posts. I’ve also learned how to work and act within an office, good time management skills and how to deal with the public. While doing my apprenticeship I was undertaking the same work as my colleagues but I felt that, with the apprenticeship title, there was an ongoing understanding from everyone that I did not have the relevant experience which eased the pressure from my first real job immensely.
After passing my SVQ2 I was given the opportunity to work towards my SVQ3. This was a huge decision to make because my new position as a clerical officer at my current employer is only contracted for 6 months whereas the qualification is usually completed in a minimum of 12 months. Therefore, I have to work twice as hard and be disciplined but I decided to take on the challenge. I plan to pass my SVQ3 within the next few months. I am currently applying for full-time permanent clerical posts due to my contract finishing in July and if I gain employment elsewhere I can be given the full 12 months to complete my qualification.
Overall I am pleased with the outcome of being an apprentice and would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of applying for one. It allows the opportunity for young people to gain a qualification while also earning a wage and valuable experience. The level of support I received from my managers was outstanding and I have thoroughly enjoyed my job. If you have any questions about my apprenticeship experiences then please do not hesitate to get in touch.