It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2021! Apprenticeships blend together study and work, meaning you gain valuable experience in the industry, a qualification and earn a wage all at once!
This week, we sat down with Cameron to find out what it’s really like to be an apprentice. Cameron is currently doing his Hairdressing Apprenticeship and is working at a popular salon based in Leicester. Cameron gave us an idea of how he is finding his apprenticeship and puts to bed any worries other people may have…
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
I chose to apply for an apprenticeship because with hairdressing being a hands-on job, I felt like I wasn’t able to learn the skills I needed by just sitting in college. I thought it would be a massive benefit for myself to be learning skills within a workplace so when I qualify, I have real work experience.
How did you find your employer?
The Colleges apprenticeship team helped me find my employer. I applied online for the role and they then passed over all my details to the employer. It was really simple, and I was supported throughout the whole process.
What was your first week like?
My first week was quite intense as I hadn’t done anything like it before, however, I found it really exciting and I didn’t even notice I was actually working! Everyone in the team was so welcoming and I felt really proud to be working with them, as well as being able to help out.
Did you have your maths and English GCSE or are you re-taking them alongside your apprenticeship? If you are retaking it – how are you finding it?
I am currently doing my Maths and English Functional skills alongside my apprenticeship. I did get my qualifications when I lived in Scotland however, because they are Scottish qualifications, I had to retake them. I was happy to do this as I know it will help me out in the future. I’m finding it really manageable and the college are supportive if I have any questions.
How do you find balancing working as well as working on assessments at College?
I am finding the balance pretty easy! The College make it simple for you as they come to the workplace and you do your assessments there. It’s really good as I feel confident when I’m in an environment I know, and we can get started straight after we finish our assessments.
How often do you attend college?
I do not attend college at all unless they specifically ask me to come in for my English and maths exams. My 20% off-the-job training consists of practicing on block heads and completing my assessments.
Did you have any work experience before you started your apprenticeship?
Yes, I had a fair bit of work experience before starting my apprenticeship. I did work experience in places similar to my current workplace but also did a few in a variety of different workplaces which I think is important for broadening your horizon. I found having a little bit of experience really helped me secure an employer, so I would definitely recommend getting some experience – even if it’s on Saturdays or voluntary!
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about going for an apprenticeship?
I would say go for it 100%!! It’s incredibly rewarding but also hard work. If you are passionate about the work, however, you won’t even notice that you’re working! What’s better than doing what you love AND getting paid for it?