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  • Writer's pictureKaren Gittins

I wish I’d known more about Apprenticeships

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

In 2016, I went through the dilemma of making a decision for my son; should he go through sixth form or look at taking an apprenticeship? What information was I given? To be honest, none. The school did not support or give any advice. In fact, the careers officer (head of 6th form) seemed only to be interested in persuading my son to stay on regardless of what was best for him. However, the lack of open discussion did not end there. The idea that apprenticeships are for less academic students was prevalent and my son was encouraged, by his peers, to believe just that. Understandably, he did not want his peers to perceive him as less academic. So, we chose the sixth form route. 3 new suits, two new pairs of shoes and 6 months later, it turned out to be the wrong move. My son was keen to earn and he had difficulty in finding a much sort after holiday job. Furthermore, while he is bright, he was bored by the sixth form route. Sixth form is good for students who have the discipline to utilise their free periods for study and sixth form is also good if 6th formers can find a part time role in the 6 weeks holiday. When my son left sixth form, I had to revisit the options. This time, I was determined to find the right option for him. As a result, I found that there are various apprentice exhibitions – none of which were mentioned by the school. I only knew about them because, as luck would have it, I recruited for one of them after my son had already gone down the 6th form route. What was astonishing was that when I spoke to the other Mums, most of them weren’t aware either! These apprentice exhibitions are great for students who have an idea of what they want to do. Although, let’s be honest; how many 16-year-olds know what career they want to take. So now we have him on an apprenticeship, he is earning money, so the bank of mum and dad is no longer in use and he is learning a skilled job. We are still waiting for a college place but we are nearly there at least. The good news is that for parents having to go through this there is now more information and support. The government introduced an apprenticeship levy. What does this mean? The “New Levy”, which came into effect in May 2017, aims to increase the amount of apprenticeships training being offered. The Levy is charging companies with a payroll of more than £3million a year – a half percent charge of their payroll bill. This money is taken at source. This money will either go directly to the HMRC or can be used to offer apprenticeships training. The aim is to positively encourage companies to spend money on training. The levy can only be drawn down by using an Apprenticeships Training Provider to deliver the training. There are now many specialist Apprenticeship Training Providers for example; Amdas training is now an Apprenticeships Training Provider. Amdas training, as well as offering the training, is also delivering “Employability “seminars. These entail help with CV writing, Interview techniques as well as general career advice as to how to get onto these apprentice schemes and what this will involve. So far, the response from schools and students has been really encouraging, I just wish that this was in place last year. Great news for those in year 10! Lots of fantastic choices for those not wanting to go down the University route!

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