Broaden your horizons
With the UK Government confirming more people than ever before are now choosing an apprenticeship, how should you decide what to do next? Jack shares what made him choose an Apprenticeship scheme over university. He explains: “I studied Business Economics ICT A-level and I got my university place at Kent to study Business Management. It would have been a 4-year degree, with a 1-year industrial placement. It was a great university place to get, and it was actually my number one choice."Read more
Don’t just follow the crowd
As decision time approaches, it can be easy to just stick with what you know. Choosing a route just because everyone else is may not make you happy later down the line:
“Nearly everyone in my year was planning to go to university,” says Jack. “I felt like I needed more time to decide, so I deferred my place at Kent University and took a gap year.”
Prioritise trying something new
Make sure you take time to broaden your horizons where you can. Meeting new people and putting yourself outside your comfort zone could help reaffirm what’s most important to you.
“During my gap year I worked solidly for 6 months to try and save up to go travelling. This included some voluntary work where I helped to care for a disabled lad who suffers from cerebral palsy. I enjoyed it so much that I still carry this on today,” says Jack.
“I then carried out a month’s work experience; 2 weeks with a major car manufacturer and 2 weeks with Nationwide in Marketing as well as Business Transformation. I knew then that Nationwide was the company I wanted to work for; its ‘PRIDE’ culture was very clear even then."
Take time to decide whether it’s what you really want
Once you’ve made your choice, allow yourself time to take a step back.
“Eventually I travelled around Australia with one of my best mates; one week surfing in Byron Bay was definitely the highlight! I then went Inter-railing round Europe with my girlfriend. The two months of work experience helped me realise that I wanted to get straight into employment. Now I want to work my way up within an organisation instead, and I know that I can do that at Nationwide.”
Research your opportunities fully
If you do choose an apprenticeship or full-time employment, there’s still homework! Make sure you research the company/ employer as thoroughly as you would have if you were picking your university! It’s important their values- including career progression and work life balance- match what you’re looking for.
“I was aware apprenticeship schemes can be a really good way to get your foot in the door in an organisation, and a way to gain a qualification whilst on the job. However, when I came across Nationwide’s higher apprenticeship scheme I was blown away by the benefits: the scheme I went for has got me into a 3-5 year placement in the Finance department at Nationwide. I’m now studying to become a Chartered Accountant with CIMA which Nationwide is paying for, including the expenses involved when traveling to Bristol or Reading for study days. They’re even allowing me have these study days in work time,” says Jack. “The higher apprenticeship scheme also allows placements, so like the graduate scheme, I can move to other areas within the division. This is so I can get a experience across the business, while I decide which area I’d like to end up in!”Read less