What’s it like to be an apprentice? What will I learn? What will I earn? How do I apply? These are just some of the questions secondary school pupils were asking apprentices in Portsmouth this week.
Shaping Portsmouth, of which Carrington West is a proud patron, took a bus of apprentices to visit ten local secondary schools around the city. The pupils had the opportunity to find out more about what it is like to undertake an apprenticeship, and hear about the different skills they could learn, the qualifications they can gain and companies they could work for.
On the bus was Carrington West’s marketing apprentice Morgan, and throughout the week apprentices from the armed forces, and local employers such as the NHS, BAE Systems, ComServ, Hover Speed, South West Railway, Vivid property, a HA hairdressing college and Portsmouth City Council.
We asked Morgan her thoughts on the initiative.
This week you have been on the Shaping Portsmouth Apprenticeship Bus, can you tell us what the bus is and where it went?
The Shaping Portsmouth Apprenticeship bus is a scheme which visits local schools to allow school pupils to meet apprentices and find out about what an apprenticeship is. I remember when I was at school if I was told about apprenticeships I probably didn’t take it in. I think by actually meeting people who are not that much older than yourself and hearing what they are doing it is more relatable.
How was it?!
I had a great day being able to visit the schools to educate pupils on all things apprenticeships. Inevitably some pupils were more engaged than others, but overall I was energised by seeing pupils realise there are options open to them that might suit them better than other traditional academic paths. It was also interesting to speak to the other apprentices on the bus and to learn about their experiences.
What kind of apprenticeships were your fellow bus travellers on?
There were a range of apprenticeships that the others were studying, including both blue and white-collar roles, ranging from nursing, project management, engineering, and accounting. We were all doing very different roles. Some people were doing apprenticeships where they went to college for a day a week, and others were like me where their learning was online. The armed forces apprentices were really interesting as there were so many skills that they could choose to get qualifications in.
What sort of questions did the school pupils ask you?
A lot of the school pupils wanted to know what an apprenticeship is and how they work, including the application process, day to day responsibilities and where to find one. However, the most commonly asked question was how much an apprentice will earn! I was happy to point out that whatever the starting salary of an apprentice, for me personally, an income of any kind was a bonus because the alternative could be expensive university fees. Whilst this is not the only reason to do an apprenticeship, it is definitely something to consider. Other questions I had were around what it’s like to work in an office, and also what is marketing. I don’t think it is a job many pupils know much about.
Do you think you would’ve benefited from an initiative like this when you were at school?
Yes, I definitely think that I would’ve benefited from an initiative like this when I was at school. Knowing the different opportunities available is important when you’re young and considering career options. Sometimes choice can be overwhelming, and it is very hard to decide what you want to do for your whole career when you are a teenager. Exploring the options is the only way you can narrow it down. I have younger brothers and I would definitely advise them to talk to people who already do the jobs they think they might like to do before they make decisions about further education.
What was the highlight of the day?
The highlight of my day was being able to meet the other apprentices on the bus. It was great to speak with others similar to me, seeing what they were studying and how they have found their experience as an apprentice. I also enjoyed sitting in the driver’s seat of the bus!
What would you say to anyone considering an apprenticeship?
To anyone considering an apprenticeship I would say go for it! They are a great way to earn a qualification whilst getting firsthand experience and earning money. You can learn so many valuable things from being an apprentice, not just the subject you are studying but the life skills you get from the working world.
Read more about the Shaping Portsmouth Apprenticeship Bus initiative here.
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