How COVID-19 is changing perceptions on apprenticeships and training

apprenticeships and training
© Fizkes

Jackie Denyer, MD and Founder, Professional Training Solutions, discusses why attitudes towards apprenticeships and training need to change after organisations realised that the UK workforce is ill-equipped to handle shortages, during the pandemic

Even before COVID-19, there were many preconceived ideas (and misconceptions) around apprenticeships and training. However, with the pandemic causing havoc across almost all business sectors, furlough, redundancy, and remote working meant that many workers took a pause and reconsidered what they wanted to do, and how they’re going to get there.

As part of this, there was a realisation that retraining and revamping your career was achievable via the many apprenticeships and training opportunities available. However, with many cliches and stereotypes lingering, and we need to bust some myths:

1. Apprenticeships are only for students and those at school/college-level

You can start an apprenticeship at any age, you don’t have to be 16 to apply and train. There’s no upper age limit, although funding arrangements are slightly different for those aged over 24. Someone in their fifties can decide to reskill or upskill in their current role, or could look to do something completely different. In fact, 47% of the apprenticeships started in 2019/20 were by people aged 25 and over.

2. They’re only for vocational training, and you have to be onsite to do them

Incorrect! Although vocational training is a great way to learn new skills, many apprenticeships are office-based too. Learners can train in a huge variety of sectors from engineering, business admin, sales, marketing, early years, among many others. Whether it’s remote learning or hands-on training, apprenticeships come in many forms.

3. You have a degree, so don’t need to do an apprenticeship

You can do training whether or not you have a degree or other higher education qualifications. And just because you have one doesn’t mean that you can’t use them to level up your career. Even if you have a Masters or a PhD, you can still complete an apprenticeship and learn a new skill.

4. Men do construction apprenticeships, and women do hairdressing training

All genders are welcome in all apprenticeships, and there are many examples of men and women breaking down gender stereotypes. Statistics show that the number of women and men starting apprenticeships were almost at the same level in recent years, and industries are making progressive strides when it comes to achieving equality.

5. You have to be out of work to do one

Again, incorrect. You can be in an existing job and need the knowledge and skills to progress/seek promotion or need additional skills in your current role. The pandemic resulted in the number of apprenticeships dropping in 2020/21, but the number of opportunities across the UK are still thriving. Whether it’s to pursue a new career or passion or to level up your existing training, apprenticeships are a gateway to new knowledge, connections, and expertise.


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