Get Your Career Going
Choosing what you want to do career wise for the rest of your life can be quite daunting at 15 or 16 years old, writes Tracy Hargreaves
I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school. I had always loved English and writing and I kind of fell into the job I do now. But today there seems to be so many more opportunities, that I would probably be stuck for choice.
Going to university is usually the first option for college leavers, but for some young people, it’s not always the right decision for them. Not only can it be a financial burden, you are not always guaranteed to get a job in the subject in which you have just spent the last few years studying.
Apprenticeships are building in popularity and more and more businesses are seeing the benefit. No longer are they seen as the poor relation and only available for those wanting to go into the trades industry, the list of subjects is growing with social media to accountancy, business studies to human resources and even policing, being just a few.
An apprenticeship can be a springboard into a varied and rewarding career, whilst learning on the job, opening opportunities and getting paid at the same time, that it seems a no brainer. Traditionally apprenticeships were only available for 16-24 year olds, however this has started to change with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.
From April 2017, employers with a payroll over £3m will pay a new tax, the Apprenticeship Levy, and will be able to use the funds raised to pay for apprenticeship training. The aim is for an extra three million apprenticeships to start by 2020 and the Levy is intended to provide £3billion to fund this growth.
Employers best placed to benefit from their Levy funds are treating it as a ring fenced budget for training and development and looking to spend as much of their skills programmes to drive business improvement. Levy funding can be used to train an apprentice of any age.
Several colleges in Lancashire offer apprenticeship schemes, but it’s important to research what type of apprenticeships they provide and what links and partnerships they have with prospective employers, depending on what area you want to move into. Check out Runshaw, Preston’s College, Blackburn College, West Lancashire College, Burnley, Accrington and Rossendale College and Blackpool & The Fylde College.
There are also a number of training providers which are worth looking at. North Lancs Training Group is one of the largest providers in the country and works with more than 1200 companies including Sofology, Lancashire Police and Costa Coffee and have an excellent rate of apprenticeships being taken on full time after their training. Training 2000, based in Blackburn, offers a wide range of apprenticeships and training courses throughout the north west.
And CATS (Care Assessment Training Services) deliver work based apprenticeship training. Within its own organisation it tends to employ ‘trainees’ with sector knowledge and provide them with the necessary training to ensure best practice and skills.
But what kind of employer takes on apprentices? BAE Systems is probably one of the best known in the region for its apprenticeship programme. It believes that apprentices are the future and therefore it needs to invest in them. In return it wants honest, passionate people who are looking for career development.
However some other employers in the region include: Victim Support, Moore & Smalley, Leyland Trucks, United Utilities, Taylor Patterson, Lantei, Lancashire Fire & Rescue, Forbes and Bartle Hall.
With the upper age limit for apprenticeships lifted, the recent apprenticeships reforms and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy has also meant that funding caps for older apprentices have been lifted. This means now that apprenticeships are a viable and cost-effective way for employers to upskill their existing workforce and recruit cost-effectively as well as allowing those wanting a career change, a way to get the skills they need.
No longer are apprentices taken on to do the filing or make tea, they are there to learn and gain valuable hands on experience.
If you are unsure of which direction to take, take a look at an apprenticeship scheme, it could open up so many doors that you perhaps wouldn’t expect.