Apprenticeships – a view from the sharp end

AnthonyFor the last year we’ve been tremendously lucky with having Ant Stackman as our digital apprentice. Ant combines four days in the office with one (long) day per week at college and is very much part of our team.

By offering an apprenticeship, Atom has had to make sure that Ant can learn some valuable skills in his two years with us and be ready to hit the ground running for his future career. But, of course, we also wanted to give him tasks which are of real benefit to our business. We’re very conscious that in Ant we’ve got a real star.

Here’s what Ant says about why he decided on an apprenticeship rather than going the full HE route into a technical career.

“The main reason I became an apprentice was that I was fed up with traditional education. However, I still wanted to further my education and that is why an apprenticeship appealed to me so much. You are learning and earning at the same time. You are also gaining invaluable experience that you can put on your CV. Potential employers in the future will think highly of this – every day I’m putting my learning to the test and coming up with real-life solutions to any problems I encounter along the way.

“Then there’s money: with university fees constantly going up and not being 100% sure on which course I wanted to pursue I didn’t want to get into a lot of debt for a course that may have been wrong for me.  An apprenticeship isn’t hugely well paid, but at least there’s money coming in rather than going out and I’ll emerge from it without debt and, with any luck, with a bit of money behind me.

“I do occasionally look enviously at some of my old school friends at university, with what appear to be shorter days and long evenings drinking and partying. But I’m enjoying my course, I’m getting real, practical experience at work, and I’m pretty confident that when my mates graduate and are still wondering about what to do next I’ll already be doing something I enjoy. And without debts to worry about, who knows, I might be catching up on some of that drinking and partying myself.”

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