This March sees the 10th Annual National Apprentice Week. Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service it’s a week-long celebration of the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the UK economy as a whole.
At Plan we believe apprenticeships offer a practical option for many school leavers. As much as we value higher education we realise that it isn’t for everyone. Learning doesn’t just have to take place in a class room or lecture hall. Knowledge can be gained by whilst laying the foundations of a career and avoiding costly tuition fees.
We want to help any young person considering an apprenticeship as an alternative to A levels or University to make up their mind. So we’ve asked Plan’s current apprentice Harry Downer how he’s getting on with his role. Although it might look otherwise from his photo – he assures us he’s enjoying the challenge.
If you’re an employer interested in taken on an apprentice you’ll find the 5 simple steps to employing an apprentice towards the bottom of the page.
Harry how did you find out about Apprenticeships?
We were told about apprenticeships by the career advisor at our school. After finding out about them I had a look for different types of apprenticeships online, and come across this one.
What attracted you to starting an Apprenticeship?
The careers officer at school got in contact with the company and asked if they would be interested in seeing my CV. When I came for an interview Plan seemed to have a good vibe to it too, plus I’m a local lad.
What do you want to get out of your role?
I wanted to experience work as early as possible, so by the time I’m a lot older I’ll have the maximum amount of experience I could’ve gained. So it’s mainly experience, a good work background and ethic and obviously the certificate which I can use it in the future.
How are you finding the experience so far?
Challenging – there are harder parts and easier ones. So far I have been in two departments. Customer Service where I started – it was a good learning curve. I found out things about myself, such as I like talking to people more than doing paperwork. I am ok at multi tasking but it’s not my favourite thing to do. I am good at building a rapport with my colleagues and clients. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the Sales Department. I took it as a new challenge for me and an area I want to explore more, too. I have just started in this department and am looking forward to finishing my training.
How are you finding working versus going to school?
A lot more enjoyable. I am treated like and adult and an equal. I have more responsibility which is harder, but I enjoy it.
How are you finding the additional impact of working and studying at the same time?
Again, it’s quite challenging, but I make sure I try and fit studying in as well as work. I have to be motivated and push myself.
Are you still happy with your choice?
Yes – I really enjoy the work. I’d prefer not to do the study part, but it has given me the opportunity to be here, work and earn whilst I learn, so in that way it’s great!
Do you think you chose the right type of work?
Yes I do, insurance is a product that we all need and it can only grow, which means that I can grow with it.
How does your NVQ support work alongside your daily job role?
I see my NVQ manager every month and I am constantly updated with what I need to do. The company have also allocated time for me to do course work and I can always come and ask for help if I need to, so the support is great.
What has your role in the company involved so far?
Apprenticeship wise – lots of reading, work books, training videos to watch and exams to take.
Job wise – lots of new areas to learn about, practice, find out about, all of which helps me get a better understanding of business in general. I am always learning new things, ways of dealing with people and issues or going about the same problem in a different way.
What do you think of your apprenticeships now you have been doing one for 7 months?
I think they’re very helpful and give you great experience of work life
Would you recommend Apprenticeships to others like yourself?
Definitely – I think they are more beneficial than college, because I feel the experience you get out if it is as relevant as any certificate you’d get from school and college – but you also get work experience, which is important these days and hard to get sometimes. So it’s a big plus and you get a bit of money too, which as a young person is always a bonus!
If you’d like to learn more about completing an apprenticeship visit the National Apprenticeship Service’s events map to view details of activities in your area during National Apprentice Week. You’ll also find information if you’re an employer considering offering a place to a young person at your company.
The NAS co-ordinate and promote the delivery of apprenticeships in England. It is part of the Skills Funding Agency which is an executive agency of Department for Education.
How do we hire an apprentice?
Plan are one of the 4 in 5 businesses employing an apprentice that would recommend doing so to others. There are five simple to follow stages in the process of hiring an apprentice.
- Firstly you will need to select the apprenticeship framework also known as standard. These will be specific to your industry. You can decide on the one with the most suitable requirements. Using an agency will allow you to employ an apprentice without having to run an apprenticeship scheme yourself.
- Next you’ll need to find a training organisation that provides apprenticeships for your sector. They’ll oversee your apprentice’s training, qualification and assessment on your companys behalf.
- You can then see if you’re eligible for a grant and apply.
- The following stage is to advertise your apprenticeship – your training organisation will be able to do this via the “find an apprenticeship” service.
- Finally interview applicants, chose your apprentice and form an apprenticeship agreement with them.
How long will an apprenticeship take?
Apprenticeship schemes can last between 1 to 4 years. They vary in length based on the level of qualification being studied. The standards are set by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’. The standards state what an apprentice’s job role will require of them and what they can expect to be doing day to day.
There are many motor trade apprenticeship schemes to select from. They can be found listed under the automotive industry section on the following Gov.co.uk page.
To find out more about employing apprentices call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600.