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During your job search, you’ve likely come across many listings for apprenticeships. After reading some of the descriptions, you’re a bit confused by what they are. This post will explain apprenticeships as simply as possible while detailing if it’s a good career move to apply for one.
What is an apprenticeship?
The typical career path follows the approach of studying to gain qualifications before finally progressing to a job. But, what if you could have both in one go? An apprenticeship offers the chance to learn new skills while working. You’re taught how to do things and will undergo some study sessions while holding down a job. After qualifying and completing your apprenticeship, you become a full-time employee with a proper wage.
What are the pros and cons of apprenticeships?
Before we talk about whether an apprenticeship is a good career move, it’s useful to see the general pros and cons.
Pros of apprenticeships
- Receive on-the-job training
- Get paid while you study
- Learn key new skills to forge a new career
- Avoid loads of student debt
- Pick from plenty of career options
Cons of apprenticeships
- You may not like the career choices with apprenticeship options
- The pay is very low while you study
- You miss the benefits of a university degree – more holidays, better qualifications, etc.
Are apprenticeships a good career choice?
This is a very tough question to answer. After giving it a lot of thought, the best response is that it depends on where you currently are in your career, and what you’re interested in doing.
You see, apprenticeships aren’t available in every sector. If you want a hands-on job or fancy doing something that requires technical skills, perhaps you should consider an apprenticeship. We know there’s lots of funding for the construction industry and the sector has many apprenticeships available. You may also find IT apprenticeships to learn very advanced computer skills. However, you’re unlikely to find any apprenticeships in the medical field or within things like business management.
So, think about what you want to do in life, and then look at where you’re currently at. If you’re debating whether to go to university, an apprenticeship could be a viable alternative. You avoid all the student debt and start earning money right away. After three years, you’ll already be in a full-time job and may have earned a pay rise.
On the other hand, if you’re already in university or you’ve got a degree, it might not be worth going after an apprenticeship. It renders your degree useless and you’re spending more years not getting paid a full wage. Likewise, if you’ve lost your job, will an apprenticeship make sense? It’s not going to bring in much money until you’re fully qualified, so you always have to weigh up whether or not this is worthwhile. For some, it is beneficial to take a pay cut and retrain, but others may have financial commitments that demand a better-paying job.
Overall, an apprenticeship is one of many ways to get your foot on the career ladder. It’s an excellent choice if you want to train in a specific field and get paid a small amount while you learn. Think of it as an alternative to traditional higher education – but maybe avoid it if your life demands a full-time job with a living wage.
In this age of disruption, digitization, and the gig economy, people need a new mindset and strategies to become continual learners, create their own flexible careers, and cope with ageism.