Blog A Day June | Confessions of a Former Apprentice

I don’t think many of you know much about me, apart from that I work at a desk in an office in a college, but the truth of the matter is that I was for two years an apprentice, and I’ve now been working as a permanent full time member of staff for over a year, I’d thought I’d share with you a few things about being an apprentice.

 

1. We are drastically underpaid

I’ll start it off at the most obvious. But at £2.73 an hour as of 2015, it is very hard to make a living on that wage. Luckily because we are paid so low, we don’t have to pay tax. But if we do, we get a nice tax rebate. But we are basically paid half the amount of non apprentices but end up having to do twice more work if not more. We are doing our job and also have to study for our qualification.

 

2. No, being an apprentice doesn’t mean we are engineers, builders, or chefs

I have lost count of how many times I have told someone I am an Apprentice and they have looked at me and said, sceptically, “you wouldn’t have struck me as a builder…”. First of all, what would strike you as a builder? Anyone can be anything they want to be.

 

3. I do have a job specification, I don’t exist as an apprentice to be everyone’s PA.

I have a very demanding job, being in front of the students for quite a lot of the time makes it hard to do paperwork and other things. Some days I am constantly on the phone and literally have no chance to do anything, sometimes I am busy doing something that is needed by a deadline, and I’m constantly interrupted because I’m an apprentice everyone assumes I can do everything. I’ve even been tearing my hair out trying to do my work for the day, whilst being on the phone and I’ve heard someone say “Oh you can borrow Kate if you like, she’ll help.”

 

4. It is not as glamorous or as ruthless as Lord Sugar makes it out to be, but it is as stressful.

We don’t get a treat to a swanky new wine bar or a spa weekend when we do a good job. Most of the time we congratulate each other on not crying in the office kitchen for a week. The most glamorous part of my job is wearing a skirt with my uniform!

 

5. It is a great way to start a career

I started work as an apprentice at the age of 19, I’m now a full time member of staff with benefits, at the company I’m in now I have good options to progress, and at the age at 21 I’m paying into a pension so, should I wish I could retire in my forties.

 

So I hope you enjoyed my little insight into the world of being an apprentice. If any of you are apprentices and want some advice or are looking into it, please leave a comment and we can have a chat about it.

So next time there is an apprentice in your office, be nice to them, they are probably really nervous and just want someone to understand it is difficult!

Beth

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