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Smart students look at an alternative to university

Business and marketing expert Alan Hemingway explains the vital importance of apprenticeship schemes and what they can bring to your business.

As thousands of A-level students begin their final revision for their examinations which are starting soon, more 18-year-olds are now taking a different route than the traditional one of A-levels and then university. When I was that age that was what you did if you wanted the best chance of a great career, get a university degree and then start on the employment ladder.

This traditional approach is now changing with the introduction of tuition fees and the growth of student debt and more and more 18-year-olds are deciding to go straight in to work and missing out on university. The growth of apprenticeships in to new areas is meaning that the traditional trades based apprenticeships are not the only ones available to young people.

The expansion of apprenticeships into areas such as accountancy and other professions now means that careers that often necessitated degrees are now seeing the benefits of employing young people as apprentices and training them up to satisfy shortages in the labour market of skilled labour. I must confess to being slightly biased with this because when I started my business 6 years ago it was just me, but after 3 years of working by myself, I took my first apprentice on. When Evie joined me the plan was she would begin her AAT qualification which would be 3 years and then she would progress on to her Chartered Management Accountant qualification for the next 3 years.
A year later Ruby joined us as an 18-year-old and just under a year ago, Dave joined Hemingway Bailey at 18. All three of them are progressing really well and they each make a great contribution to the business, the firm would be a lot less dynamic if they were not with us.

There are a lot of really talented young people out there who want the opportunity to shine and as an employer, you can offer that chance to a young person by taking them on as an apprentice. As I know from my business, they help you to grow and contribute greatly to your success. For the A-level students, getting a quality apprenticeship like my team have at Hemingway Bailey means that they will not have any student debt and will be earning AND learning. Whilst their peers are at university, my team are picking up valuable work experience and professional qualifications, which will give them an advantage over university graduates.

So whilst you are revising during those warm Spring days, do please consider an apprenticeship as a great alternative to university.

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