So you’ve reached a time in life when you have to think about your future, not necessarily long term – who can predict what they might be doing in 10, 20, 30 years’ time? But you need a plan for the next two or three years, right?

That could mean more school and going into the sixth form. Or perhaps if you’re doing A Levels you may have an eye on university. Then again, you may be considering turning your back on education for the time being and looking to enter the world of work for the first time, biding your time until you’re struck by career inspiration.

There’s no bad choice, it’s all experience after all, and you can always change your mind.

There is also, of course, another way forward by considering an apprenticeship. This is the earning and learning option, one where you don’t rack up student debt and one in which you can be as attractive to an employer as you are to them.

Two way street

That’s the thing about an apprenticeship, it’s a two way street and mutually beneficial. Forward-thing employers also have an eye to the future and they are looking for enthusiastic, talented, savvy young people to fill their roles and to help drive their businesses forward. It’s well documented, as well as on this website, that the UK economy and all the regional ones that make up the whole, that there is a skills gap that needs filling. The bottom line therefore is that ‘they’ need you as much as you need them.

And that message seems to be landing. The Office of National Statistics recently revealed new data from the 2022 Census that showed apprenticeships are being taken up at almost twice the rate of the previous census a decade earlier. This suggests that since 2011, perceptions of apprenticeships have been transformed – both by school leavers and employers.

Further, according to research from more than 6,000 reviews last year on RateMyApprenticeship, 97 per cent of apprentices would recommend them to a friend and that they scored their experience of the scheme, as much as 8.4 out of 10. Over the last five years that figure hasn’t dropped below 8.1.

As Oliver Sidwell, the co-founder of RateMyApprenticeship, said recently in FE Week: “Employers and training providers (at least those being reviewed) are doing an exceptional job of ensuring apprentices are gaining from their experiences.

“As the number of providers and learners grow, competition must drive quality up, not down. And it must be seen to do so to encourage even greater numbers of school leavers to choose an apprenticeship route to qualification over more traditional routes.”

Aspirations and preparation

The quality of teaching, learning and experience has long been high at TTE as reflected in our most recent (2017) Ofsted report. At least two sentences from the feedback that are particularly relevant as we prepare to welcome prospective apprenticeships to our next open evening.

The first:

“Leaders and managers have been highly successful in establishing an aspirational culture throughout TTE. They recognise and value the positive contribution that their apprentices make to employers in the region.”

And the second:

“Learners on 16 to 19 study programmes are prepared thoroughly for their next steps, and the majority progress to employment or apprenticeships in the engineering industry.”

The report may be six years old, but we haven’t let our standards slide; complacency is never allowed to creep in.

At our open evening this February you will be able to find out more for yourself, find out what’s possible, what courses are available, and meet people who are looking forward to meeting you and help you make a choice that will help define your future.

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