Like many of you who may be reading this, I was once in the same position, deciding upon my very own future.  A scary thought indeed. Words such as ‘UCAS’, ‘Degree’, ‘Student Finance’ and ‘Gap Year’ seemed to be floating around on an almost daily basis.

 You had a few distinct groups starting to form, those seeking adventure through a gap year of some sort, those (in my case, everyone I pretty much knew) who seemed set on heading to university, and then there were those daring few individuals who suggested an alternative career path, and were then looked upon in discerning fashion. And me? Well I guess I was an outsider, torn between all three groups.

I’ll spare you the details, but after much deliberation I ended up settling for the choice that no one had even mentioned. Apprenticeships. Looking back at the position I found myself in, I find it a little disappointing that this option isn’t better known. I feel the general perception towards apprenticeships are essentially the following; “Why would you want to work for a rubbish wage with little chance of being kept on by the company?” and I’d like to dismiss this myth as nonsense.

Fast-forward a year later and I’m currently working on a large postal client, earning a competitive salary and getting to experience the wonderful sights and sounds of what London has to offer. Although London isn’t the only location that Higher Apprentices work in, they cover the breadth of the country. Just thinking about those who joined in my intake, there are Higher Apprentices who work in Cardiff, Manchester, London, Newcastle, Leeds and Milton Keynes. And that’s just what I can recall from the top of my head. There are numerous opportunities to work all over the country.

And don’t worry about being thrown in the deep end immediately. Another benefit that Higher Apprentices get to enjoy is the amount of training and support you gain when starting. I spoke about it in a previous post if you’d like more information. It’s also hugely beneficial to see the things you are learning being put to practice in a working environment. It’s not just theory, as a Higher Apprentice, you get the chance to apply your knowledge on an actual client.

With each intake, the network of apprentices is constantly growing. There are many benefits to this, one aspect I found invaluable was being able to speak to previous intakes and talk to people who were once filling my shoes. This means more support and guidance and is comforting to know that there are many others you can connect with if you have any queries. Personally, I’ve found I’ve formed some great friendships as a result, and with this another huge social aspect that again doesn’t get mentioned as much as it should.

The final point I haven’t mentioned is the opportunity to obtain a degree alongside working. The best part is the fact it’s debt free meaning you don’t require a university loan so by the end of your Higher Apprenticeship, you’ll come out with a degree along with 5 years of industry experience with the guarantee of being kept on by the company. Can’t really ask for much more than that!

As ever, if you have any questions about the programme or any aspect of my day to day role, feel free to get in touch via my Twitter @akashnayee.