National Apprenticeship Week 2022: Myth Busting Blog
Glynis Partis, Apprenticeship and Workplace Learning Operations Manager at Coventry College, has worked in the education sector for over 28 years, helping people of all ages and interests find and complete apprenticeships across the West Midlands and London.
In an exclusive blog, Glynis sets the record straight on some of the most common apprenticeship myths, and how Coventry College has been busting them under her expert guidance.
Despite the popularity of apprenticeships, misconceptions about what taking one means for your personal development continue to discourage people from making the leap.
Some of the most common myths that I hear about apprenticeships are: “I’m better off getting a job”, “they are not academic”, “I can’t go to university after doing an apprenticeship”, and “once I do an apprenticeship, I’m stuck with that job for life.”
None of these criticisms are completely without elements of truth. You’ll earn less as an apprentice than you would at an entry level job. University is an experience that can’t be replicated in the workplace.
In light of that, I like to remind people that apprenticeships have no special powers that prevent people from enjoying these benefits in one- or two-years’ time. Nor do apprenticeships mean there is no room for professional progression, lateral career moves, or even setting up your own business.
The best way for me to sum up the benefits for people who decide to take the apprenticeship route is that they enjoy a Goldilocks effect with their careers.
Going to university will tie you up financially, and time spent studying will restrict your shifts in the café, anyway. On balance, if you take the work route, you can’t join the badminton society when your week is spent in the office.
Apprenticeships take some of the best aspects of work and study, and leave you with options upon completion. You’ll earn a wage and pick up crucial experience that can go straight onto your CV. You’ll learn from experts in an industry that you are passionate about.
After that, you’ll have the freedom to find a better job thanks to your experience and qualifications, or apply to the university of your choice thanks to the UCAS points you gain through courses on and above Level 3.
Coventry College offers apprenticeships in seven key industries. They include education, construction, digital, business, childcare, motor vehicle and hospitality. But the hard skills associated with each industry are secondary to the behaviours and soft skills that our apprentices gain from working alongside first-class leadership and industry experience. This sets learners up with the right behaviours to find success in their own right.
Lots of learners have gone to launch their own businesses after a few years of work, largely because their experience has given them the confidence through independent learning to make that leap, as well as the practical knowledge to make sound career choices.
Our staff are always looking for the most effective ways to support our learners. Sometimes that can be providing close supervision of young students, or accommodating mature learners out of typical working hours.
People in my own team are even in the process of completing apprenticeships. They are one of the most effective ways to build expertise in a certain area, either from the ground up, or to go to the next level. As an employer I value them extremely highly, and because I work closely with plenty in the region – I know for a fact they do too.
After completing an apprenticeship, our learners’ futures remain open, and that is the most valuable quality it gives them. They can enter the world of work from a position of confidence, they can continue their education and forge a path to university. It is the best education route for people who value their freedom, and we think more people are starting to see that.