Apprenticeship Myths

Apprenticeship Myths

Here is a list of 5 myths about apprenticeships which you may have thought were true.

  • Apprenticeships are for people that can’t get into university

This myth is not true at all. Some people might just decide that university is not the career path that they want to take and decide that taking an apprenticeship is the way they want to go forward.

  • Apprenticeship qualifications are not highly recognised

There are different level qualifications in the apprenticeship scheme starting from intermediate all the way to degree level. No matter the level of apprenticeship you decide to take, they are all recognised.

Intermediate – Level 2 (GCSE equivalent)

Advanced – Level 3 (A-Level equivalent)

Higher – Level 4, 5, 6 and 7 (Foundation degree)

Degree – Level 6 and 7 (Masters equivalent)

  • I will get better job offers if I go to university

This is not always the case, a lot of employers now look for employees that have had experience, which is what you get when you take an apprenticeship, you get hands-on experience in a working environment, whereas with university you don’t get that experience which employers necessarily look for.

  • The employer will let me go after I finish my apprenticeship

Unfortunately this is the case sometimes but not always. Studies show that over 72% of employers keep their apprentices on as full-time staff after their apprenticeship ends which is a huge amount! This of course won’t happen for everyone but you will gain experience that other employers may look for.

  • Apprenticeships don’t pay enough money

The rate of pay will be different for everyone depending on the level of apprenticeship and your employer. However, the pay for apprentices is still rising! One of the benefits of being an apprentice is that you don’t have to pay for your training whereas if you go to university you will have to pay.

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Twitter Tips & Tricks – Part 2

Twitter Tips & Tricks – Part 2

So last time we talked about a few tricks you could use to improve your standing on twitter. We mentioned some points about staying consistent with posting and using hashtags when posting, but there are other methods that we did not mention as well, and some of them we’re going to cover here.

 First one we’ll mention is interaction, but not just interacting with your own followers with polls, we’re talking about interacting with accounts at any opportunity. Of course this is better and much easier with your own followers and the accounts you follow. What I mean is, when you see an account who you follow saying “Oh we’ve finally achieved X”, congratulate them. Or when an account you follow, or someone you follow follows, does a ‘weekly riddle’ or something similar, this might seem minor, but hop in there and get involved! 

 You may be wondering why now, you see the more you interact, the more friendly and approachable you seem, the more involved you get the more people will see your account, might like what they see and give it a follow, and the more followers you have the better. This is especially good for a company’s account, as the more people who see the account, means the higher chance of people getting interested in your product or service.

 Second point to mention, be casual, now this doesn’t mean be overly casual but avoid being too professional on a site like Twitter. People will enjoy talking to your account if you act casually, and especially if you want to follow the first point. Crack jokes, use GIFs, people enjoy talking and joking with others, rather than the professional talk. From my own experience, our more casual tweets do way better than our tweets leaning more to the professional side. 

 Keep in mind, especially for a company’s account, you don’t want to go overboard with being too casual (unless that’s the aim of the account), if you get too casual it could put people, especially other companies, off, a good balance between professional and casual is the perfect way to act on your twitter account, way more so if it’s a company account.

 And a Third point, we mentioned previously about having the company logo as the account’s profile picture, but also having a twitter banner on your account also helps jazz up how your account looks, and it looks like the effort has been put in as well, making it even more appealing to potential followers. Make sure that this banner is related and in keeping with the overall theme of the account, and most certainly make sure the banner is the correct size – the recommended being 1500×500 pixels. 

 Like the second point, and the previous blog, another thing you could try is hosting one of these “Weekly Questions/Riddles” and creating your own interactions, although to get the ball rolling, you’d need to tag people, so make sure you pick your targets well! This one is kind of risky, tagging the wrong person could result in a lost follower, or the account just doesn’t participate, best accounts to target would be the ones already involved in these things. The timing is also a thing to think about, you don’t want to put it out when all the bigger accounts do, or you’ll just get overshadowed, well tags might still help, but still.  

 And something else you can try is shout outs, getting yourself ‘shouted out’ or ‘shouting out’ others, this will allow more people to see your account. The easiest way to do the first is to make a list of people who follow, like and interact with your account, and at the end of the week compile these account handles (the @name) from the list into a thank you tweet, this will drive up interactions from the accounts mentioned, and the accounts who follow them will also see it, increasing the amount of people who see your account even more.

 As you can see, there are many ways to improve your twitter account’s interaction and popularity. Maybe you have your own ways, but this list of a few things you can do, should hopefully help.

What Can I Do With My A-Levels

What Can I Do With My A-Levels

You might’ve already decided on the career you intend to pursue when you chose your A-Levels (or even your GCSEs) but have you considered whether you can take that route through apprenticeships? And if you didn’t know precisely what career you wanted to pursue before you took them and you’re nearing the end and you still don’t know exactly what you want to do, consider apprenticeships as well.

It’s commonly misunderstood that apprenticeships are only offered in subjects such as Construction & Engineering, Business, Accounting and such, but in fact there are several different options of careers within each sector.

Here are some of the A-Level subjects required for a variety of apprenticeships you might never have thought of:

Geography

Science

English

ICT

History

Art / Media Studies

While many universities require a facilitating subject at A-Level such as a science, a foreign language or Maths, alongside multiple extracurricular activities, a flawless personal statement and sometimes more, a large amount of apprenticeships require English and Maths GCSEs at grades 9-4 and an interest in the subject you’re applying for. Doesn’t sound unreasonable, does it? Not only this, but that apprenticeship course could secure you a career you didn’t even realise you wanted (whilst getting paid) or guide you towards the various options available to you at the end of your course.

Check out the Apprenticeship Guide website for more information or in case your A-Level subject wasn’t listed above.

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Apprenticeships Vs Traineeships

Apprenticeships Vs Traineeships

Many people still do not know the difference between apprenticeships and traineeships so this blog will hopefully help with that.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships give people of any age the chance to learn new skills, earn an income and gain experience in a work environment. Furthermore, Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries and 3 different levels; intermediate, advanced and higher. During your apprenticeship you can go on to do a higher apprenticeship in your chosen area of work. Apprenticeships are a great way for young people that have just left school to experience what it is like to work in a work environment.

Traineeships

Traineeships are a training, education and work experience programme specifically designed for 16-24 years old. Traineeships can last from six weeks to six months, which is a lot less than an apprenticeship. On average they typically include 100 – 240 hours of work. At the end of the programme the trainee may receive a real interview where  a job or apprenticeship opportunity is available. They may also get an interview to get feedback so the trainee knows what they need to work on and how they can improve their interview skills.

One of the biggest differences between an apprenticeship and a traineeship is the length of each one, apprenticeships can typically last from a year to four years, depending on which level you are at whereas traineeships only last from six weeks to six months, could be more depending on your contract. Also traineeships are unpaid with no guarantee of a job at the end, whereas apprentices are paid and could be given the opportunity to stay with the employer at the end of their apprenticeship. 

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How An Apprenticeship Benefits A Business

How An Apprenticeship Benefits A Business

A lot of people now are finishing school or college and going onto an apprenticeship, there’s a lot more benefit for them than going to uni or college, if they are fresh out of school. But some businesses might be wondering; “what benefit is there for me?” Well, I’m here to tell you about them. 

For one, when your company is training an apprentice, you can adapt their training to suit your business better, making them an ideal workforce for you when they finish their course. In fact, it’s said by the apprenticeships.gov.uk (which is the source for many of these statistics) that 74% of employers said that the quality of their business’ product and services increased, which is a great benefit to a business, one would think.

Apprentices tend to be very motivated to learn new skills during their courses as well, so training an apprentice is a lot easier than you would think, people who chose to do an apprenticeship tend to have chosen it as it’s what they wanted to do. As well as this, 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped the apprentices develop skills relevant to the business, which reinforces that apprentices make an ideal work force and benefitting the business even more

And not forgetting that apprentices don’t have to be out of house, you can train existing employees as apprentices, to improve their skills and their effect on the company. 78% of employers said that apprenticeships improved the productivity of the business, another great benefit to a business.

Not forgetting as well the apprenticeship levy scheme, this is where you, the employer, would contribute a 5% investment on each apprentice, whilst the remaining 95% would be covered by the government. You would also be eligible for a £1000 incentive payment for  taking on apprentices aged 16 – 18 and if your business has less than 50 employees and an apprentice aged 16 – 18 will receive 100% of the apprenticeship funding from the government as well as the £1000 incentive.

As you can see, there are many benefits to the employer as well as the employee for taking on an apprentice. If you are interested, you should get in contact with us at Oracle, and if you would like to learn more about the apprenticeship levy scheme, there’s more info on the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pay-apprenticeship-levy 

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Apps For Students and Apprentices

Apps For Students and Apprentices

Whether you’re studying for your GCSEs, your A-Levels or your apprenticeship, there are a few apps you need to help you with your workload, managing your schedule and revising for your exams.

1. Calendar – essential. It’s up to you whether you download a calendar app or use the general calendar on your phone, but you definitely need one in some form. This will allow you to schedule all your classes, tests and deadlines – and some relaxation time too, of course – to help you prioritise your workload and ensure you never miss anything (notifications enabled usually helps with that).

2. Mathway – this may not apply to everyone, but for those studying any subject at GCSE or A-Level with a Maths element, or are enrolled in an apprenticeship such as Engineering or Accountancy, this will make your life MUCH easier. You can input your problems for the app to solve either by typing them in, speaking them or taking a picture.   

3. Any.Do – an addition to calendar or an alternative. The Any.Do app can sync your calendar to input any tasks or deadlines you’ve already added to it or you can add your own for a range of activities such as call / meeting someone, clean, pay, study and many more. Another feature is Any.Do will sort the shopping lists you input by aisle which could be useful for any student or apprentice with their own home.

4. Quizlet – perfect for pretty much all subjects. This can be used for any GCSE / A-Level subject or for the theory element and modules of apprenticeships – either way the flashcards will come in handy for learning anything.

5. HabitNow – a similar app to calendar and Any.Do but as the name suggests it organises your habits as well as tasks. This can be supportive in quitting bad habits or adopting new habits such as daily exercise, allotting study time each day or any other habit you promised yourself you’d take on this year. Overall creating a better routine for you to benefit your studies, mental health and physical health, alongside any tasks you add which you can categorise, add due dates and add priority levels.

Now you’ve finished reading this blog, you can go straight to the app store and download one or two (or all) of these apps and hopefully they’ll be helpful to you in your studies.

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Apprenticeship Progression Options

Apprenticeship Progression Options

There are many options available once you have completed an apprenticeship. Whether you choose to stay on in employment, take your studies further, or seek different employment.

1. Your Apprenticeship Could Become A Permanent Position

Many apprentices are taken on as full-time employees after completing the apprenticeship within the organisation that they worked for. This is because the employer will know what skills and qualities the apprentice brings to the table and also the apprentice will have all the training that is required for the specific job role. 

Of course this isn’t the case for everyone but over 84% of employers take apprentices onto full time employment after completing their apprenticeship which is a massive amount. Many apprentices that are kept on progress to higher positions within the company.

2. Progress Onto A Higher Apprenticeship

Once the apprentice has completed their apprenticeship, they may have the opportunity to progress onto a higher apprenticeship. This will give the apprentice a chance to widen their skills and gain more qualifications in their chosen area of study. Higher apprenticeships make the apprentice more valuable to their employer as they will be learning more and expanding their knowledge on their chosen area of study which they can then apply to their work.

To progress onto a higher level apprenticeship is completely the apprentices decision if they want to do that, so if the apprentice decides that their chosen area of study is a topic they don’t want to do anymore, they can decide to not do it at a higher level.

3. Branch out to further employment

Some apprentices may decide that they don’t want to stay on with the company they completed their apprenticeship with and decide to branch out to further employment. Apprenticeships give valuable experience of a working environment and give apprentices skills that employers look for.

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Getting Back Into Work

Getting Back Into Work

Some people may find it difficult getting concentrated when first starting a job, or maybe you’re coming back to work after a holiday, lockdown or working from home, it can be difficult to adjust, however there are ways that can help you concentrate! It can be different for everyone, however here are some ways that could help you, or could help someone you know.  

For some people, listening to music can help with concentration. Music can improve your mood and can help with motivation, a good mood can reduce stress and generally can help you work more efficiently, just like how a good level of motivation can keep you going in whatever task you’re currently taking on. Music has also studies stating that it can help with focus, whilst this was more in line with classical music, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work with the songs you love – it works for me!

Scheduling and planning out your day can keep up your motivation and your focus, with an idea of what you want to do for the day, the worry of “when can I do this?” or “will there be time for this” would be gone when you have some good time management and a good schedule. Having a plan set with goals in mind can help people focus and keep up motivation, being able to see progress being made would keep some people working on, while not being able to see having the opposite effect. Having a good plan will also help with time management as well, a very important skill to have. 

Whilst at first, you may think taking a break might have the opposite effect, but taking a break every now and then helps to improve your focus and concentration, it would stop yourself from overloading from a lot of work – a quick walk around outside or however you would take a break would be beneficial, however don’t get to into your break, or you might just mess up and lose all concentration you have left! But regardless, sometimes taking a step back and thinking of different solutions when you’re stuck or just going over what you’ve done, there’s nothing wrong with that – collecting your thoughts is important for concentration.

A more obvious one but a difficult one for many, having a good sleep schedule. Whilst missing a schedule a few nights wouldn’t do too much harm, constantly missing a good night’s sleep can affect your mood and affect your concentration as well. Getting a good night’s sleep can improve your concentration and your overall mood, which will in turn also affect your focus – not even mentioning the other health benefits to having a good sleeping schedule. If you struggle to get some sleep, there are ways to help you get to sleep, which I’m sure you can find anywhere, however I’m just talking about improving concentration here, although my next topic can help. 

Another thing you can do to help improve focus and concentration is to exercise, exercise can lead to having many benefits with better concentration being one of them, and exercising can also improve your mood, and being in a good mood does affect your concentration and focus, so maybe like a 20 minute jog to start the day, or maybe walking to places instead of a car or even bike instead of walking. Just being outside itself can help, just taking a break in your garden or going out for a walk in a park can greatly improve your mood, and like what has been said, better mood means better concentration and focus.

Surprisingly to some, playing video games can help improve your concentration and focus. Some studies have shown that playing games can increase the concentration of the player, which can also last on for a while, although the study did not say how long. Not to mention there’s games specifically for ‘brain training’ that aim to improve your ‘brain skills’ like memory, focus and concentration, so they will most likely help with improving.

Well after reading this, hopefully you’ve thought of a way to improve your own concentration and focus. Maybe you used one of these methods, or found your own way, but either way I hope this helped you out in any way!

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Apprenticeship Application Checklist

Apprenticeship Application Checklist

Sending that first apprenticeship application is always nerve-wracking and this can be even more stressful when it’s for an apprenticeship you really want. So, before you press send use this checklist to ensure you’ve got everything you absolutely need to make a good impression. Also, by following this list, if you’re successful, you’re already halfway prepared for an interview.

You should have…

1. A CV

Every single application will ask for a CV in some form, and it’s your chance to present all the necessary information about yourself that you can to ensure you stand out. Start off with a personal statement, these don’t need to be an entire essay unless you’re applying for uni, instead just keep it to the basics – who are you, what school did you go to and what are you looking for. You can also mention your key skills here or describe yourself in 3 words such as organised, approachable and confident but keep in mind the job you’re applying for at all times. For example if you’re applying to be a business administration apprentice, you’re likely to be the first face a visitor would see so you’ll need to be friendly, have a good telephone manner etc. After your personal statement and skills, give as much information on your experience as possible, if you’ve had any previous employment, this is where you tell them – give them details on who you worked for but more importantly what were your duties and what did you learn (references are beneficial too if you have them). However, if you’ve never had any employment, add any other experiences you’ve had like any voluntary work as it’s all good experience and shows you’re not afraid of working hard or responsibility.

2. Understanding of the role

When you apply to a job, no matter how much you try to hide it, if you have no understanding of the role the employer will be able to see this. And it doesn’t look good. The majority of apprenticeship vacancies will advertise a general explanation of the role alongside a list of the tasks you’ll be completing but if this isn’t extensive or you want an even more detailed understanding, check their website or the Institute for Apprenticeships page. This way, you can see precisely what skills they’re looking for, what situations you’d be in if you were successful and then you can tailor your application to this. For instance emphasise times when you utilised the skills they’re asking for to show you’re a suitable match. Using past experiences as often as possible gives your claims much more weight, everyone and anyone can say they have excellent communication skills or work well in a team but by giving an example of a time you did this – and did it well – you’ll be showing them how good a candidate you are.

3. Company knowledge

After you’ve completed step 1 and 2, you’ve already improved your chances but by completing some research into the company you’re applying for you’ll be even more impressive. This research benefits both you and the employer as you’ll stand out from all other applicants with your knowledge of what the company specialises in and maybe giving examples as to how you could contribute to this given the opportunity but also it’ll be helping you out. When you’re researching, look up the company’s values and goals which could tell you whether this is the right company for you or not. Then, if you’re invited to an interview you’ve prepared yourself for some of their questions already.

Some companies might ask for a cover letter or give you a couple of questions to answer based on your real life experiences such as “tell me a time when you used teamwork skills” and some may ask you nothing more than your name and education, but applying everything above will put you one step ahead of your competition. That way, next time you find an apprenticeship advertised which fits all of your skills, interests and more, you’ll be presenting yourself to the employer in the best way possible.

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What Can I Do With My GCSEs

What Can I Do With My GCSEs

There are a number of options you can choose from once you have finished your GCSEs and got your results, here are a few pathways you can choose from…

– Academic Qualifications

By far one of the most popular options that people choose to do after sitting their GCSEs is to go to sixth form or college to sit their A-level exams. Completing your A-levels is the most traditional route to university and takes two years to complete.

A-levels are a lot more challenging than GCSEs so if that wasn’t for you then you may want to think about a different pathway that is more suited to you and your learning style than sitting A-level exams.

Colleges and sixth forms have different entry requirements depending on which subjects you want to do at A-level.  

– Vocational Qualifications

If you don’t get the grades to continue on to A-levels or want to do something a bit more vocational, NVQs or BTECs could be for you. These are both work related qualifications that offer an alternative to A-levels.

They’re ideal for people that prefer to be assessed through course work rather than exams. 

– Start an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are also another popular option that people choose to do once they have completed their GCSEs. They are great for people that want to gain experience in a workplace environment and start earning an income straight after finishing their exams.

Different employers will also have different entry requirements, depending on what apprenticeship you choose to do. They’re so many apprenticeship options out there, which can lead to full time employment with the employer or you could progress to a higher apprenticeship.  

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