NCW: Apprenticeships ‘a rich and rewarding career pathway for young people’

Edward Dawson, Work Experience Manager at Sheffield Council says ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper will be a spur to apprenticeships and shares why they are such a valuable choice for young people. 

Edward Sheffield Council
Ed Dawson, Work Experience Manager, Sheffield City Council

“I’ve been involved in the apprenticeship world in some way, shape or form since 2014. Some things have changed a lot. The range, the qualification levels, the way they are assessed, the way they are funded, how they are promoted and who can take part. Others are still the same, and it is these qualities I want to write about.

The Government’s ‘Skills for Jobs’ White Paper has cemented their commitment to developing apprenticeships, increasing the range available and the quality of the learning.

Apprenticeships will be key in plugging skills gaps. They will be key in helping the UK economy recover from the impact of Covid-19 and in providing young people with a rich and rewarding career pathway. Apprenticeships will keep on getting better. For many young people, apprenticeships will become first choice.

Apprenticeships are exciting. They can be techy, specialised, in new industry sectors or in high status roles and offer very desirable benefits. Who can knock the opportunity to gain a degree, without university fees, be paid a wage and gain vital industry experience?

But even the ubiquitous Business Admin/Customer Service roles peak my interest. A quick search of the ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ service, brings up 200 roles within 15 miles of my Sheffield home. 60 of these come under Business Admin or Customer Service.

They are in 60 different businesses and 14 different industry sectors. Every one of them truly able to nurture a young person into a valuable role. These roles offer the chance to get a foot in the door and to grow with the business. To grow based on skills, strengths and interests and flourish as a young adult.

Apprenticeships are rewarding for everyone involved. Recently our team helped place a hugely enthusiastic, energetic young man called Yoseph. Yoseph’s grades were average. Yoseph was not the finished article.

Yet Yoseph ‘pestered’ us almost daily; “Have you got any roles?”; “I’m really keen, I really want an apprenticeship”; “I’ve been looking every day for vacancies.” 

It worked. A few weeks later he started a traineeship, quickly followed by the offer of a joinery apprenticeship, with an award-winning local company called Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens – I recommend looking them up. It’s fantastic to be involved in the start of a young person’s career as well as help a local business grow.

Apprenticeships are challenging. They are not the easy option, but they are worth the effort. To get one requires determination, motivation, and resilience. To maintain one requires the same, and some.

It is vital that young people get as much help as they can when it comes to applying. The same for interview skills. Amazing Apprenticeships is a really good place to start.

The shift from school life to working life is dramatic and apprentices need to be championed in the workplace but also encouraged from outside the workplace when things get tough. Completing an apprenticeship, gaining a qualification as well as crucial work experience will pay off in the future.”

Ed Dawson, Work Experience Manager, Sheffield Council

This is a reposting of an article originally published on The Careers & Enterprise Company Blog on 23 February 2021