By Alex Halliwell
Here, Alex Halliwell, member of the Global Talent and Development Team, explains some of the common misconceptions that she often hears by anyone considering an apprenticeship.
Myth 1: Apprenticeships are for people who aren’t academic
This is not true. Apprenticeships are an alternative route into employment and those choosing this route are ambitious and keen to earn while they learn. Many simply prefer the hands-on experience that an apprenticeship can bring.
Myth 2: I won’t be able to afford it/I won’t be paid
Apprentices are paid, and often more than you might think! These are genuine jobs with accompanying skills development programmes. They give people the chance to bring home a salary while they learn and build a platform for their career.
Myth 3: Apprenticeships are only available in certain sectors
The days when apprenticeships were available only in certain industries like construction and manufacturing are long gone. They’re now available in a huge range of sectors, like financial services, insurance and other professional services too. Here at BNY Mellon we’ve been offering apprenticeships since 2005 and our apprentices get to experience first-hand what a career in financial services is like.
Myth 4: An apprenticeship will limit my future career prospects
Apprenticeships can take you right to the top of an organisation. Here in Manchester we have colleagues that started as apprentices and are now company directors. Employers increasingly value apprenticeships as a viable career route. It means applicants have real experience of the workplace and, at the end, often a qualification too. Most employers look at someone’s experience and their qualifications - an apprenticeship delivers both.
Muth 5: I won’t get a good qualification
Apprenticeships cover different qualification levels, from GCSE equivalents right up to post-graduate, and at BNY Mellon we offer apprenticeships which result in highly desirable, internationally recognised professional qualifications.
Myth 6: If I do an apprenticeship I’ll get stuck in one job
Apprenticeships are available in a variety of industries and equip you with the transferable skills that employers from many different sectors will value. Some apprenticeships offer the opportunity to work in different parts of a business too, which allows you to experience various roles and find what you enjoy doing. An apprenticeship is a foot in the door and can open up many exciting new career paths.
Myth 7: Apprenticeships are only for school leavers
There are no upper age limits to being an apprentice, from 16 to 116 you can take advantage of the opportunities that an apprenticeship could bring.
Myth 8: I need experience to get an apprenticeship
Experience can help but having the right attitude and a willingness to learn is the most important thing we are looking for in the apprentices we take on. For many of our people, an apprenticeship provides the first opportunity to gain experience and develop workplace skills. And once you start on your apprenticeship your experience will quickly grow – my colleague Sean Turner started as an apprentice and is now Head of Global Liquidity Management & Head of European Money Transfer. He’s a great example of how far an apprenticeship can take you.
Myth 9: Businesses are not hiring apprentices
More than ever, employers are committed to hiring apprentices. In July 2015, the UK Government stated its commitment to creating three million apprenticeships before 2020, and in 2016 established the Institute for Apprenticeships to ensure high-quality apprenticeship standards.
Myth 10: I’ll be making tea all the time!
While we do encourage everyone to make the odd tea round for colleagues, an apprenticeship is a real job with real responsibilities. We invest in our people and ensure they are delivering work with genuine impact and gaining skills for life.