To many, the prospect of joining an international company is pretty daunting. I was no exception to interview anxiety or that first day feeling. The only ‘career’ experiences I’d had before joining Capgemini were a paper round and part-time work in a restaurant. You can probably believe me when I say that joining the Higher Apprenticeship was a big step.

I’ll put this into context a little more. My age group were the first struck by the university fee shake up, introduced in the 2012/13 educational year. Initially, I was very critical of the changes introduced. Now, when I look back a couple of years, I begin to realise that it really opened my eyes to alternatives; university no longer seemed to be the only option.

There’s an archaic view in society – it’s a common belief that apprenticeships aren’t the “right” path to follow after school or college. I used to agree. Society drills it into your psychology when growing up and that’s where I feel the problem seems to be. The media constantly criticise apprenticeships, particularly noticeable when I was still at secondary school. Reports of unfair treatment and low wages seemed to be the norm. Negativity towards apprenticeships is ripe in the following articles, to name but a few:

The latter article is of particular interest to me. From my experience, what I’ve read is very true. My secondary school always seemed dismissive of apprenticeships and university certainly took the limelight. The figures which stand out are that 62% and 20% of respondents to an IAC survey believed higher education and further education were, respectively, what to aim for following compulsory education. Just 4% viewed an apprenticeship as their next step.

Placing these figures against my old school peers reveals a definite attitude resemblance. Teachers and career advisors gave very little mention of apprenticeships. For the majority, the aim in education always seemed to be university. It was the incentive to gain good grades for many.

University has been the “bar” in education for a long time, but apprenticeships are finally starting to fight their corner. Apprenticeship schemes are being viewed more positively and those offered by companies such as Capgemini are undoubtedly a reason for this. Why is there a recent rise in apprenticeship applications and why are people picking Capgemini in particular?

I remember being asked “Why Capgemini?” in my interview. It was the easiest question of the day. All I found myself doing was comparing the Higher Apprenticeship scheme to university. Capgemini offers locality, work experience, a strong reputation (many recommendations), a sponsored degree, a large GAP community and yes, financial stability.

We all have a difficult decision to make after college or school. It’s a fork in the road – work or university? Capgemini’s apprenticeships are hybrids with all the benefits.