"These days there are more options that ever but they need to choose what’s right for them. University isn’t for everyone, just like it wasn’t the right path for me, which is why apprenticeships are providing an all-important alternative option.

"University isn’t for everyone, just like it wasn’t the right path for me."

"If you need convincing how beneficial apprenticeships can be, there is a long line of successful men and women who started out as apprentices, to help you.  Those who learned the invaluable twists and turns of their professions on the job straight after school such as Karen Millen, Alexander McQueen, Jamie Oliver, Alex Ferguson and F1’s Ross Brawn are fantastic examples of those who chose an apprenticeship that helped them to excel at their craft. Obviously, not everyone is going to be a famous fashion designer, chef or football manager, but it illustrates my point that the opportunities are endless and that is why I am so passionate about apprenticeships. They give you paid experience to learn a craft inside out: what better way to learn if a career is for you?

 

"They give you paid experience to learn a craft inside out: what better way to learn if a career is for you?"


 

"Apprenticeships are a win-win for both employers and employees and the results of being an apprentice are undeniable from the shop floor to the boardroom. I have heard so many times from apprentices across the board that the best thing about the schemes are that they can earn while they learn, and this is so important in young people setting out on a positive footing in the workplace and for their own finances.  The vital skills which young people need to learn to make the leap from education to the workplace can be incredibly daunting, so being able to learn and develop inside a business from a young age is life-changing for school-leavers.

"Karen Millen, Alexander McQueen, Jamie Oliver and Alex Ferguson are fantastic examples of those who chose an apprenticeship."

"An apprenticeship is more likely to see you gain a full time job as you’re the one already doing that job. Unfortunately, a University degree doesn’t automatically promise you a job anymore, it’s a bit like trying to score a goal against a team that has double the amount of players; the odds are always going to be stacked against you! An apprenticeship reduces the opposition and you are almost guaranteed a goal at the end – what an opportunity! The only thing which is definite when an individual leaves University is the large tuition fee debt, and no one should have to face that when they are starting out.  University is the right choice for those who need a degree for the career of their choice, but if not, why wouldn’t you learn on the job?

"Apprenticeships are a win-win for both employers and employees: the results are undeniable from the shop floor to the boardroom."

"I have spoken recently about the perfect storm for retailers – the combination of the change in consumer habits, the weaker pound against the dollar and euro, increasing labour costs and the archaic system of business rates. The Apprenticeship Levy is also a part of this; an important scheme which according to the Government will see 3 million new apprentices by 2020, however a word of caution - which the government doesn’t always listen to – apprenticeships are about quality not quantity!  

"Are school leavers’ paths paved with gold? There are certainly more opportunities out there now and I’m pleased that the future is moving away from that one size fits all mentality. Apprenticeships should be seen as an equal opportunity to the University option in the minds of school leavers, and that is the role of everyone including the government, businesses and very importantly schools. Educate on the options and give them the skills and knowledge to make the right decisions.  The future for apprenticeships can be an incredibly bright one, especially with further investment.

"Raising awareness, and reducing the “stigma” around apprentices is making great progress but is still an ongoing battle, and one I am backing all the way!"

Follow Theo on Twitter @TheoPaphitis