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Parents: Why apprenticeships may be the best route for your kids

Results day has come and gone, maybe your kids have started college, or they’re off to university. But, for those who aren’t, they’re hopefully joining the ranks of young people applying for jobs. But, let’s face facts, that’s not always the case.

Rewind the clock 13 years and I’d just left university and was struggling to find meaningful work. After a couple of weeks of not hearing anything back or getting rejected, I started to get disheartened and before you know it, I was staying in bed until 1 pm and playing video games for most of the day. It was a mixture of not wanting to get a “regular” job in an office or shop as it felt counter-intuitive, etc, and having just completed a degree which inevitably made me feel a little entitled. It was only after regularly intervalled ear bashings from my mum that I got off my arse and started applying for jobs again. Which raises a really valuable point. As parents, you have a huge influence on your children when it comes to finding work. I’d imagine, had my mum been aware of apprenticeships at the time, that she’d of probably enrolled me on one herself rather than see me slobbing around the house in my joggers shouting at my computer monitor.

In this short article, I wanted to highlight some of the benefits of apprenticeships to anyone who has children who have recently left education, whether that’s school, college, or university. If you’re experiencing what my mother did, then an apprenticeship may be the answer to getting your kids out there into the working world and building skills to set them up for a brighter future.

 

Apprenticeships get them into the working environment

Apprenticeships are great for loads of reasons. The major one is a solution to the slobbing around the house whilst not paying rent issue.  Apprenticeship providers work with young people to actively find them work. We’re basically recruiters for young people. We seek out junior roles with companies across the nation and fill them with individuals like your son or daughter who are looking to build a career instead of just having a job. For us at The Marketing Trainer, we work with businesses looking for junior marketing talent. Marketing is a great area for young people to get into. Why you may ask, well, it often combines two things young people are very interested in. One, social media, that thing that keeps them glued to their phones; and two, a way for them to earn good money and apply themselves to more meaningful work.

The great thing about the apprenticeship process is we work with young people to prepare them for interviews, start their jobs, support them through the duration of the programme, and provide valuable career advice once they’re done. But, as I say, the most important part is it gets them off of your sofa.

 

Develop future-proof skills

Apprenticeships are a great way of preparing your son or daughter for the future. In marketing specifically, we help build a foundation of knowledge in the subject that they can build upon with practical skills and experience. During an apprenticeship, apprentices will be given time during work hours to learn and develop using off-the-job training time each week. They’ll use this time to conduct activities that contribute toward CPD (continual professional development) which can help them keep abreast of new technologies and industry changes. This means that they’re able to keep up to date with how everything is moving forward and adapt as required. This instils a continual drive to keep learning for the future.

 

They won’t get into debt

If your children are going to university then ignore this bit… Okay, now they’re not looking. Apprenticeships will save your children from the mountains of debt accrued from university fees. I know, there’s the argument that they’ll eventually pay off the debt and people will always tell you that you won’t notice it taken from your paycheck. However, I can attest that you do notice it, and it does take a long time to pay it off.

I graduated from university back in 2010 before the huge hike in university fees. I’ve passively paid my university fees for 13 years and it’s only when you’re earning over £45k per annum that you’ll actually start making any dents in the total. Recently, I wrote an article on apprenticeship degrees as a viable, debt-free, alternative to regular degrees. In that article, I calculated that it’d take approximately 25 years to pay off the full amount of debt for the average degree cost of around £45,000. That’s 25 years of money that your children could save by enrolling on apprenticeships instead. Additionally, one of our very talented collaborators, Nuha, wrote an article about Halal and university debt which talks about apprenticeships being a fantastic alternative for Muslims who cannot go to university due to the implications of debt.

Now, I know that this doesn’t apply to all degrees. You’ll still need to go to university for plenty of specific careers out there. However, in our case, marketing, you really do not need to go to university to get into this area of work. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that some of the apprentices I’ve trained over the last three years are now earning well above those who will be going into graduate-level entry roles now and have far more hands-on experience.

 

Working gives them purpose

Having attended school, college, or university on a regular basis for 16+ years the reality shock of having nothing to get up for can be a bit of a shock. That’s why apprenticeships are a great way to break the ice and expose young people to the realities of the working world. It combines continued education with exposure to the working work.

What’s interesting in my line of work is seeing young people initially hesitant to start their careers and at the end of just 12 months seeing a complete change in those same individuals. For instance, a couple of years back I coached an apprentice called Kieran. Kieran was a bit of a rocker kid and had just about skimmed through his GCSEs and had gone to college to do media A-levels. Kieran had become a little disheartened with the working world after numerous rejections and the competitive nature of job hunting. However, with my then employers, Kieran had landed himself a junior role with a small marketing agency. Initially, he wasn’t 100% bought into the apprenticeship process. However, fast forward just three months and it was like I was coaching a completely different person. Kieran was getting to work early, getting involved in additional projects, and trying to push video/content marketing within the agency. Fast-forward again to 2023, and he’s now responsible for the agency’s content creation arm and manages a small team including a videographer, copywriter, and designer. Kieran’s entire perspective changed as a result of his apprenticeship, and that’s not an isolated case either.

 

Ah, but they don’t get paid a lot

Wrong. Long gone are the days of apprentices getting paid £2ph to make tea and do all the work no one else wants to do. Depending on the location, age, and organisation I’d hazard that the average starting salary for most of the apprentices I’ve dealt with over the last 24 months was between £17,000 to £21,000. On occasion, we may see apprentices earn a little less but this rarely drops below £16,000. This is purely based on marketing roles, however. Recently, the apprenticeship minimum wage rose to £6.40 which means an annual salary would be around the £12,750 mark. However, we tend to work with companies that pay above this due to the skilled nature of the work involved in marketing and their investment in apprenticeships overall.

 

Final breakdown

Encouraging your children to enrol in apprenticeships can offer a wide variety of benefits that contribute to their personal and professional development including:

  • Practical learning experience;
  • Skill development;
  • Workplace exposure;
  • Earning while learning;
  • Industry connections;
  • Increased employability;
  • Tailored education;
  • Career advancement opportunities;
  • Alternative to traditional education;
  • Encourages entrepreneurship.

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