It is a very stressful period when you are trying to decide on your next step in life. I've been through this myself, last year in fact.

I had all my universities lined up and I couldn't decide whether I should just go and hope that I would enjoy it, get a ‘job’ and see where it led or get an apprenticeship and know I will be in a win-win situation. This decision is what a lot of young adult’s face because they don’t understand how to progress from school or college.

Career Advice needs to be compulsory

A lot of the problem is being unaware of the opportunities you actually have. When I was at school I never had the chance to have a careers lesson to understand how I could get to my ‘dream job’. Having the right guidance is the key to success and schools are not stepping up to the plate to pass on this vital information.

Another issue is the government doesn't require schools to have a careers lesson, so schools are not always clear on the choices and therefore, do not give any guidance, which pushes the guidance over to your parents.  Many parents have a misconception of the higher education options, thinking the only way to get a ‘good’ job is by going to college, university and then get a graduate job. This is an out of date approach to getting into a career.

For some jobs, yes you do have to go to university and earn that specific degree, however there are plenty of degree apprenticeships that can let you earn a qualification and be debt free. For example, did you know you can become a qualified Lawyer by doing an apprenticeship? This is not the only degree apprenticeship that is available, but many teachers and parents aren't even aware that this is an option, highlighting the problems that a young adult faces.

My University Experience

I actually tried a university degree for a couple of weeks because I thought it was the right thing to do, I soon learnt it wasn't for me and decided an apprenticeship was the right route. Maybe if I had more guidance on the options available to me while I was at school, I may have chosen the right path for me in the first place. Apprenticeships are a stepping stone…

More misconceptions

Another misconception is that young people think that once you get into an apprenticeship you are stuck in that role or industry for the rest of your life. GetMyFirstJob has plenty of successful stories proving this is just a myth. Just because you do a business admin apprenticeship doesn't mean you cannot become a manager or move onto to something entirely different in another industry.

Apprenticeships help you build the skills and knowledge that can be transferred to many different jobs and career paths, meaning even if you decide to take a career sidestep you will have built up an excellent foundation to help you progress. Also working hard and putting the extra effort in with the company you are training with will help you be recognised and could even result in a well-deserved promotion.

Don’t rush trying to reach the top, you will learn so much from others around you about all aspects of the business, gaining knowledge as you work your way up and you never know what doors it may open or where it may lead.  I was so confused on what career path to take, it is a very difficult thing choosing your career but signing up for an apprenticeship can give you the time to decide on what you actually want to do, you’re earning money as well as earning a qualification.

Don’t worry, even if you find that you want to do something different your apprenticeship will never have been a waste of time, but a perfect stepping stone towards your dream job.

Apprenticeships top tips Careers