It’s coming up to two years since I started working at Ecce Media, and a year since I graduated from my apprenticeship. So what better way to celebrate than by talking about my experience as an apprentice.
I didn't like education at all. I dreamt of the day I’d be old enough to start working. Once I got to 16 that's exactly what I did. So when Brant turned round to me after a few weeks of work experience and said “What do you think about an apprenticeship”, I honestly didn't know what to think. An apprenticeship to me was something you did when you wanted to become a tradesman, but oh was I wrong.
So what will you be doing?
A lot of teenagers get scared off by apprenticeships because they feel like on day one they have to walk in and be the nuts. This is far from the truth! One of the great things about apprenticeships is that people expecting you to have an interest, enthusiasm and basic knowledge but nothing else. It’s their job to teach you for crying out loud.
Is it all tea and coffee?
I have done my fair share of public speaking, especially about apprenticeships and the tea and coffee thing is a joke that gets made A LOT! It’s true being an apprentice does involve keeping your co-workers fueled with caffeine, but it is far from the main part of your job role.
If it’s not tea and coffee what is it?
A mixture of real client work, your own projects, and coursework. Your life as an apprentice will never be quiet. Now this is the part of the article where you are shouting at your screens because I said the word coursework. Yes I did say I hated education, and no I wasn't lying. This is a very different type of coursework from what you do in school or college. To be honest at some points the hardest part of my apprenticeship was the course work. Not because it was difficult but because instead of working on exciting new projects with the team I was stuck writing about them. But, if you get your head down and bite the bullet you can get it all done in no time.
Work, Work, Work.
An apprenticeship really gives you an opportunity to work alongside some skillful professionals and tackle some exciting new projects. It may seem like you're being thrown into the deep end when you get briefed to do something on one of the company's biggest clients. But remember you’re training and your team are there to guide you. My biggest bit of advice to anyone starting an apprenticeship is to ASK QUESTIONS. No matter what, just ask questions all the time. I have not only learnt about being a web developer at my two years at Ecce Media. I have learnt about finance, life, science and the world. I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating but it's true.
Independence, surely not?
Actually yes. Within a month of starting at Ecce Media I had launched the first website I had built independently.
Straight after that I took another project on. Admittedly these were smaller projects, but real projects nevertheless. To get given that trust and belief from your boss and co-workers really gives you a chance to show what you can do. At the same time if you do get an independent project those questions and team communication is still really important. Even just talking someone through what you have done and asking if they would have done it differently.
It's not all about work.
The thing that most surprised me about an apprenticeship was how it changed me as a person. Yes, you build career skills and work experience. But you also develop your own character. Since being an apprentice I feel I have matured massively. I gained a different outlook on my life and life in general. Through learning and building the foundations of my career I have been able to fund a new lifestyle. I can travel and experience amazing things in my own time and with my own money. It makes life feel like a massive win win.
If you don't know what you want to do when leaving school, or if you know you want a career but not sure how to start it, an apprenticeship is an amazing opportunity to get your foot in the door. I could bore you with stats about how much apprentices go on to earn, or how many get taken on to full time work, but I feel that misses the point. For me an apprenticeship is an amazing step in life. It doesn’t just change our working day but our entire life.
For more info on apprenticeships look here : Click Here
If you have any questions and want to ask a previous apprentice who has lived it, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Charlie Robinson