We got the chance to speak to Olivia Martin who will be completing a level 3 Digital Marketing apprenticeship in April with Prospectus via White Hat. White Hat match non-graduate talent with apprenticeship opportunities at some of the UK’s most exciting companies. Read Olivia’s blog below “Breaking the Negative Stigma of Apprenticeships” and check out what the life of a White Hat apprentice is like further down.

Breaking the Negative Stigma of Apprenticeships

Written by Olivia Martin

The future is one of the few things that we consider intangible and yet we spend our entire lives trying to grab hold of it. Each decision we make daily can lead us down one of a thousand tangents – so the question arises of why are so many paths closed by the preference of the mainstream education system?

Leaving the safety net of school and taking a leap into the world of the unknown is nerve-racking, especially when you are leaving and going against the preferred route of university. Throughout my school years, the idealised image of going to university was drilled into each pupil every single day. I remember sitting in endless sessions informing us about the university route. Yet, there was not a single mention about apprenticeships – was this because schools want a good leaver reputation or is it because there is still a negative stigma of the word ‘apprentice’?

I know that some people reading this may think this sounds like an advertisement, but from the bottom of my heart, I truly believe that finding an apprenticeship with WhiteHat has been the best decision I have ever made so far in my education journey.

3 Benefits of Taking an Apprenticeship

  • Social Life: Many people often choose to go to university for the social side; however, what many people do not realise is that you can also have this social life whilst doing an apprenticeship! For example, the apprenticeship provider I am with creates social events where people of a similar age and position can meet and socialise!
  • Good Pay: When people think of an apprenticeship, they think of the poor wage… this is untrue. Not all apprenticeships consist of low pay. Since starting my apprenticeship, the wage has allowed me to achieve so much, such as owning my own car, living more independently and even paying for my first holiday!
  • Experience: Real-life work experience is also a great aspect of an apprenticeship. By the end of your journey, you will not only receive brilliant qualifications but also a whole range of experience. This workplace training has not just helped me develop as a person and in my profession, but it is also brilliant to have on your CV if you wish to look for other jobs in the future.

There are so many other great reasons for starting an apprenticeship, but I will stop here; otherwise, this might turn into a novel!

The Life of an Apprentice

What Experience Do You Need to Get an Apprenticeship?

Before my apprenticeship with White Hat, I had a retail job at WHSmiths and Robert Dyas which I started during school. When I finished my A-levels at sixth form I knew I wanted to do film or media and university was a clear option, but I realised I wanted to get right into a job. I was constantly searching for a gap to get into an apprenticeship and I was in contact with other apprenticeship providers, but White Hat was the choice for me. They invite you in for a kick-off day where you meet other apprentices, help you with your CV, and get in contact with organisations like Prospectus. I felt that all the other places before I’d send a CV and 2-3 weeks to get back from them. Their website looked more real compared to other apprenticeship pages.

How Are Your Friends Doing on Other Educational Routes?

I now have a lot of friends who are doing different apprentices with White Hat. They’re loving their apprenticeships, both learning, earning money and making a life for themselves. I also know people who have been to university, that is like “woohoo party” and now tell me “it’s too much work, I’m struggling”. I can see a difference with my friends. The ones at uni are obviously motivated to get their degree, but at a point where they are struggling, whereas my friends in an apprenticeship are still loving.

What Is the Support System Like in Your Apprenticeship?

It’s great; we have a personal coach with White Hat. So if you’re worried about anything you can go to them within the hour they’ll respond, so efficient. Whereas at university there’s likely more pressure from the university on them, while at White Hat, they are more relaxed.

How Much Do You Earn in an Apprenticeship?

My wage is good for an apprenticeship here. I know other apprentices with low pay but it depends on the organisation and what you’re doing. At Prospectus, there’s two of us in the marketing team whereas at other apprenticeships there will be six people in a marketing team.

What’s the Social Life Like at White Hat?

At university, you’re always with friends, but in apprenticeship, everyone’s doing something different. White Hat run parties for their apprentices, with lots of people doing the same thing as you, where you can make friendships. In my experience, I’ve then been able to socialise with some of them outside of workspaces. White Hat even runs boat parties, so they’ve got the social aspect covered to the extent that you don’t feel like you’re missing out.

What’s Do You Do on a Workday?

I advertise different charities jobs on social media, help with events, use a lot of Adobe Photoshop and illustrator, and carry out a lot of design work. The aim is to get Prospectus and some of the charities we work with in front of as many people as possible through the social media pages.

Do You Think Some People Could Potentially Waste Their Time on an Apprenticeship?

One of my apprentice friends isn’t a fan of the marketing field. They dropped out of university and prefer the apprenticeship, but the field may not be for them. They don’t feel like they’ve wasted their time and they’ve now got the work experience plus much more skills than what they would have got out of university. They can make animated videos, use Adobe photoshop and illustrator, which can now go on their CV even if they don’t use them in marketing.

What Is Learning Like in a White Hat Apprenticeship?

In the past, we would have a coach come in and take an individual learning session with you. Now we have a lesson at White Hat, once a month. You have to do coursework during office hours, which is great at White Hat. The group sessions are more open and relaxing I find. I’m building a portfolio for my coursework which is due at the end of my apprenticeship. The coursework is relevant to your organisation where you can learn about marketing in a relevant topic that makes it more enjoyable than other coursework may be. I previously had an intense coding week with different sessions followed by an exam week is great because we are now incorporating it in our work.

Olivia Martin at Prospectus

In summary, apprenticeships are not as bad as people say, and the negative stigmas surrounding them need to stop now. If you are debating whether you should attend a university or to start an apprenticeship, please weigh up both options and do not just go down the ‘preferred’ route due to the pressures of the educational system.

Hopefully, Olivia has cleared up some of the questions and confusion you may have had on apprenticeships. If a White Hat apprenticeship sounds ideal for you then check out their site and see what’s on offer. If you’re already looking for a job then make sure you upload your CV to Prospectus where you can then apply to jobs available on their database.

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