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Career Envy

Chloe Hutchinson-Brown: Business Administration & Finance Apprentice Career Envy

Chloe Hutchinson-Brown: Business Administration & Finance Apprentice
A new type of Apprenticeship...

One of the most-discussed subjects today is the education and future of young people. For those who aspire towards a successful career, completing A Levels and going to university seems like the obvious choice. However, with rising university fees and an increasingly competitive graduate jobs market, this path is not for everyone. But are there other options available?


The answer is yes. As a young person, I have first-hand experience of feeling confused and uncertain when it comes to making decisions about education and career plans for the future. Following AS Levels, I wanted to continue learning, but at the same time I was keen to gain work experience. While researching my options, I came across Apprenticeships.

At first this seemed an unlikely option. Many are still under the impression Apprenticeships are for those interested in manual trades. Well, let me tell you now that this is one of the big misconceptions surrounding the Apprenticeship scheme! Modern Apprenticeships are highly diverse covering 170 industries ranging from sound engineering and accounting to nursing and IT. There is a wide scope of opportunities available to suit different abilities within the workplace. Apprenticeships promote equal opportunity for everyone, whether you are more practically minded or academically orientated.

Once I found out that I would gain from an Apprenticeship, I started applying for different positions and ultimately joined Northstar, a market research agency. I was given the opportunity to train on-the-job whilst also completing a course in Business Administration and Finance. I chose the Apprenticeship route (as opposed to staying on at sixth form and going on to university) in order to develop life skills and gain much sought-after experience. In particular, I feel that this scheme allows young people to tailor their learning experience to their individual needs. 

The benefits of becoming an apprentice:

Work, Learn, Earn

One of the big controversies surrounding degrees is the reality that most leave university with an abundance of academic knowledge but little hands-on work experience. Many graduates struggle to gain employment and find themselves competing for low or unpaid internships. The beauty of Apprenticeships is that they offer a ‘three-in-one’ opportunity; work experience, a qualification and a wage. By studying within a work context, you are exposed to the realities of the workplace and get to see the practical application of what you’re studying – something I have found to be hugely satisfying and beneficial.

Grow Personally and Professionally

Through an Apprenticeship, you not only learn the skills required for a specific job role, you gain key skills needed for any workplace environment. With the right support and encouragement, you can grow in confidence, learn to adapt and handle new situations, improve written and verbal communication skills and work as part of a team. Speaking from experience, I feel I have learnt the most from my colleagues around me, rather from reading out of a textbook.

A Door to Full-Time Employment

In most placements there is the potential to grow within the company and earn a place as a full-time member of staff – something I have achieved at Northstar, where I am now an accounts assistant, working alongside the agency’s operations manager. Research shows that 92% of modern apprentices are still in work six months after completing their Apprenticeship and 70% of those are kept on by the same company. However, if you feel your Apprenticeship employer is not quite suited to you or a full-time position is not available, you still come away with the skills and work experience needed to open new doors.

University is Still an Option

For those trying to decide between an Apprenticeship and university, you do not have to choose one or the other. After completing an Apprenticeship, those keen to go back into full-time education can still go to university. Alternatively, you can continue studying alongside employment to gain a higher qualification.

Throughout my Apprenticeship, not only have I gained confidence, a qualification, work experience, friendship and social skills, but I also have growing appreciation for the benefits of working with people from different backgrounds. Overall, it is clear that degrees are not the only way to earn a high wage and carve out a successful future. Taking on an Apprenticeship is a gateway to success.

What would my advice be to others considering a modern Apprenticeship? Well, based on my own experience, my advice would be:

  • Be open minded and willing to learn something new
  • Search the internet, read job descriptions and posts from previous Apprentices
  • Take up a position you feel you want to continue with in the long-term
  • Be patient and take your time when looking for the best environment to work in
  • Ask lots questions and seek any advice you need to make you feel confident in your decision.

Chloe Hutchinson-Brown, Business Administration & Finance Apprentice, Northstar

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