Up until a few years ago, the term ‘apprenticeship’ didn’t have the best reputation. Many people thought apprenticeships were for low-skilled individuals in trade jobs. A few of my friends even expressed that “apprentices just complete boring admin tasks and employers make no effort to help develop their skills”. 

As I came to the end of my media course, I began to explore the opportunities available to me. I had never considered an apprenticeship as an option and had only heard bad things, until now. With little support from my teachers, never mentioning anything other than university, I only knew about the route of attending university. However, I wasn’t keen on university life, it didn’t feel right for me. To study for another three years, without gaining practical experience felt like a step in the wrong direction.

Relying on someone else to tell me what to do next, would not suffice. This was going to be my career and I wanted to find something that I would be genuinely excited about doing. A job that was worth getting up early for, a role I could talk to my family and friends about and an employer that simply made me happy.

So, I began exploring career options related to my passion for the media industry. Filtering through vacancies felt a bit like when I was at school, choosing my favourite subject to focus my energy on. I knew I had to start at the bottom to work my way up, like everyone. I also knew the competition would be tough.  

Apprenticeships are a great way to get into the industry and build your career from the ground up – did you know

  • 90% of apprentices will get a job or go into further training after finishing their apprenticeship
  • 88% believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, and 81% of organisations would prefer to work with a company that has an apprenticeship programme
  • Jamie Oliver, Sir Alex Ferguson, Elvis Presley and Stella McCartney were all former apprentices – so I am in great company

Discovering PR and Communications

As I explored and reviewed career options, I came across a PR and Communications apprenticeship at Sage. My dad uses Sage to manage the finances for his business so I knew I could trust the company, and from a young age I’ve always been fascinated by marketing and communications campaigns and wondered how they created such powerful material. I also liked the fact that PR involves so many disciplines which meant I had the opportunity to learn so many different skills

Walking in for the assessment day at Sage, I was really impressed by the time and effort that had put in to hosting the afternoon session. It was carefully planned and organised with a group activity, 1-2-1 interviews with members from the Sage Communications team, and a final presentation with the talent manager. 

After a few weeks of crossing my fingers, I received a call from Sage. I was over the moon to be offered the PR and Comms apprenticeship role, which I accepted without hesitation. 

I’ve always felt equal to others working at Sage, we are all here to get the job done, regardless of job title. Everyone is super friendly and genuinely make a great effort to get to know me. I am fortunate to be in the position I’m in. 

Fast forward to 2020, and my own opinion as well as many others have been flipped, thanks to providers like Sage who are leading the charge with apprenticeship programmes in a multitude of career choices. 

Myth-busting apprenticeships – Hear us out!

For National Apprenticeship Week, I thought it would be nice to hear from a few of Sage’s other current and former apprentices about their experience at Sage. My colleagues have helped to shine a light on what an apprenticeship is really like, busting some of the UK’s most common myths.

MYTH 1: “Apprentices are poorly paid”

Rumana Chaudhury, Social Marketing Executive:

“Would you rather go to university and finish after three years with at least £27k debt, or gain a qualification and three years on-the-job experience, having earned more than you could have found yourself in debt for with student loans?

Brooke Heywood, PR Executive:

“For many, embarking on the journey of an apprenticeship is their first taste of full-time employment, and it is about much more than just getting paid. Personal growth, industry experience and life skills, that all build towards future opportunities. So, in short, apprentices will start on a lower salary in comparison to their colleagues BUT in comparison to their peers, who attended university, they will be debt-free from student loans and earning whilst learning.”

MYTH 2: “Apprenticeships are only available in manual / trade jobs”

Megan Tucker, Reception Apprentice:

“This used to be the case; however, apprenticeships are now available in over 170 industries including aerospace, fashion, broadcast media and finance. This gives you more opportunities to gain experience in a field you are passionate about, and help you gain insight and potentially a full-time job at the end of the course.”

MYTH 3: “You do not earn a degree”

Rumana Chaudhury, Social Marketing Executive:

“Depending on your apprenticeship provider, employer and career ambitions, completing an apprenticeship could be more beneficial than attending university. From 16 years old, apprentices can experience on-the-job learning, earn a salary and build their professional network. It is also a comforting opportunity for someone who wants to get back into work after a career break. Yes, that’s right! You don’t need to be straight out from college to become an apprentice.”

Millie Lane, Internal Communications Executive:

“You are open to so much opportunity as an apprentice. I joined Sage at the age of 16 and was working towards a Business Administration Diploma, while gaining experience and getting paid. At the end of my apprenticeship journey, I was offered a full-time role, which was amazing. If you are looking to work and gain a qualification, I believe an apprenticeship is the best route.

MYTH 4: “Apprenticeship is not a ‘proper’ job”

Josh Barkway, Marketing Apprentice:

“This statement is completely false. In fact, apprenticeships are the perfect way to gain the relevant industry knowledge, experience and training, whilst also working a full-time role within a business. This allows you to continue to grow and develop to more senior roles later on in your career.”

Brooke Heywood, PR Executive:

“Dispelling the other common myth that apprentices are hired to just make the teas and coffee, with the right employer an apprentice can excel, getting stuck in with an abundance of roles and responsibilities. An apprentice’s exposure to a breadth of experiences, means every day brings a new learning opportunity whether it be job-specific or personal.”

I hope I’ve shown you what great opportunities you can get with the Sage Apprenticeship programme and how it’s helped many individuals to make milestone progress towards their future career goals.