002 – What I Learnt From Talking to Year 9 Students about Apprenticeships

A couple weeks ago, I took up the opportunity to give a talk to year 9 students about apprenticeships for their school’s career day. Being an apprentice myself, I was able to give the students a first-hand idea of what an apprenticeship is. I think that having a segment of the school’s careers day solely focused on apprenticeships is exactly what the student and even teachers needed as there were many questions, for example, what an apprentice does and what they can move onto after they have completed their qualification.

I accompanied two colleagues who work in the HR department of London Borough of Redbridge. Together they really provided the students with a concise yet comprehensive introduction to what an apprenticeship is. My part in the talk was to provide the students with some personal insights into what an apprenticeship is, from the view of an actual current apprentice.

The talk was given to 5 different groups of 13-14-year-olds, who are close to choosing their GCSE subjects and who all had a variety of knowledge and questions regarding apprenticeships.

I have made a short list as to what I learnt from giving the talk:

(Please note that some of the listed subjects are my own opinion but please do feel free to challenge in the comments)

  • The school curriculum is not doing enough to promote all future options or alternative pathways for young people. Many still think that to achieve their view of “success” you have to go to go to sixth form then take out loans to go to university and live in debt for, in many cases, the rest of their lives.
  • With school funding being cut there is a call for extra support to continue to give students a truly develop a better understanding of their future option.
  • Young people are open to all sorts of opportunities. What Central and Local Governments, as well as both big and small companies, need to do is to work in partnership to allow for these opportunities to continue to grow.

State schools need to drop “outdated snobbery” against apprenticeships, says Nicky Morgan current Conservative MP for Loughborough and former Secretary State for Education. Many teachers are reinforcing the impression that apprenticeships are second best to academic, school-based study.*

I strongly agree with what Nicky Morgan said and I believe that for the Central Government’s Apprenticeship Levy to achieve its goal, then the work must start from schools educating young people on alternative routes to success other than just going to university.

When I started sixth form, I really wasn’t enjoying myself but I kept on going because I was not aware of any other option I had. I was rather lucky (in a weird sense of the word “lucky”) that I had broken my foot because it lead to me having the free time to really re-evaluate my options and it was then when I decided to drop out and start a Business Administration apprenticeship with Redbridge Council and I have never looked back.

Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below and have a look around the website 🙂


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