Learning from the best
Each year, international youth day falls on the 12th of August! It is a day in which we celebrate the qualities of young people and acknowledge the challenges that today’s youth can and may face.
From the ages of around 4 to 18, we spend this crucial time in our lives in education, going to primary and secondary school before heading off to college where we have spent the last few years building strong connections with individuals our age, are taught valuable lessons (with a bit of maths & English thrown into the mix), and perhaps for some, spend the day staring at the clock waiting for home time. Then, once college is over, the one thing on a lot of student’s minds is what now? What’s the best way to kickstart their career?
In 2021, it was recorded that 37.9% of the entire UK 18-year-old population went on to start a full-time undergraduate course, leaving a large majority who chose to follow a different route.
There are many reasons as to why lots of people may not have decided to continue their education by going to university. For example, they may have:
- Taken a gap year,
- Started their own business,
- Found an entry-level job,
- Or even went on to do an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships are a great opportunity to be able to work and study simultaneously, with most of your time being spent doing on-the-job training (80%), and the rest dedicated towards getting a nationally recognised qualification (20%). They come with a variety of benefits for both the apprentice, employer, and community too! By upskilling, it can not only help with turnover, increase staff morale, and improve efficiency but also open training sessions enable the apprentice to see the bigger picture when it comes to the industry, they work in. And the process furthers the appeal to apply as the deadline isn’t the same as university – in actual fact, it’s down to the employer to choose when, with the application being done through sites such as ‘Indeed’, ‘Career finder’ or ‘Find an apprentice’. There is also no restriction to it either, meaning you are able to apply to as many as you wish. There is a minimum employment of 30 hours a week (with some exceptions to 16 hours needing to be approved and meaning the apprenticeship will take a bit longer).
One example of a business who not only trains apprentices, but also provides PE GCSE and BTEC exam moderations for young people is Quench Cycles, a repair centre located in Flimwell, East Sussex. Quench have been providing rental mountain bikes for visitors at Bedgebury since 2007, and in the last year have opened a tech and repair centre just a few minutes aways in Flimwell Park. At Quench, the apprentices not only learn engineering skills, but also customer service and interaction, which students may not experience in conventional education settings. By recruiting locally and providing formal qualifications for their apprentices, Quench have shown their support to the local community, provided employment opportunities, and even created adaptable and skilled local workforce. You can read on about Quench Cycles here.
Another example of an apprentice (who back in 2019 was named ‘Apprentice of the Year’) is our very own business manager at Locate East Sussex, Emily Wright. Emily began as an administrator at Locate before eventually broadening her horizons and took on the role as a business manager. Because of the training she has undertaken, she has been able to help provide the right advice and support for a variety of businesses across East Sussex. The award won back in 2019 was for ‘Overall Contribution to Business’ at the East Sussex Apprenticeship Awards which took place in Eastbourne. At this time, Emily had not only won the award, but had also accepted her Level 3 Apprenticeship in Management. Now in 2022, she has recently passed another apprenticeship in Operations and Department Management.
With over 700,000 apprentices across the UK studying from level 2 to level 7, 86% of employers said that the apprentices they employed already have the skills necessary to their role and 75% of them decide to stay on after the apprentice is complete. In addition, the training is done in a way that suits the employer. Another benefit to hiring an apprenticeship is there is a vast amount of grant funding available that covers the training of the employee.
Places that offer these apprenticeships/training are:
- East Sussex College Group and Bexhill College both run apprenticeship programmes with another 10 being rolled out in September.
- Plumpton College are also starting apprenticeship programmes where you will need to go onto campus to learn the technical skills for the role. This will then lead to being taken on as a level 4 apprentice.
- Government Funded Traineeship which is a 6 to 12 month, unpaid work-based skills development programme to help 16-24 year olds to prepare for an apprenticeship or employment that includes a work placement after.
- Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) are an opportunity to learn new skills and get experience of working in a particular industry, for example care, construction, or warehouse work.
- Other training including VRQs – vocationally related qualifications, national skills toolkit, and English & maths plus digital skills.
Each year, 1,000s of people complete their apprenticeship in East Sussex and in every sector, spanning from agriculture to engineering to retail and commercial. They make up a key part of the county’s workforce and future, with the four different apprenticeship levels being: intermediate (level 2); advanced (level 3); higher (level 4 or 5); degree (level 6 or 7). Not only that but there is great support available to those with special educational needs thanks to Disability Rights UK. Becoming an apprentice is an opportunity for everyone!