Year 11 is the most stressful year of a teenager’s school life. You have constant mock exams mixed with real exams, all building up to your GCSE’s in the summer, which at the time, feel like the most important set of exams you will ever take. Whilst all of this goes on you are also thinking about your future ahead. Where do I go when I finish my GCSE’s? What if I don’t get my grades? You have three options: Sixth Form, College or an Apprenticeship. What course you do obviously does depend on your grades and it feels like a lot to deal with when you are just 15/16 years old.
I was like many other youngsters, not really sure where to go. However I did feel relaxed and confident that I would get the grades needed to do the courses that I wanted to do come September, when I would start a new chapter in education. I wasn’t aware of apprenticeships at the time, for me it was either Sixth Form or College. Sixth Form was the option I went for in the end simply because it was easier to get there and I would stay in familiar surroundings. But even back then, deep down I knew I was not interested in further education, I wanted to get out there, start working and earning money.
I did well in my GCSE’s and got the required grades, then like thousands of others, started Sixth Form in September. However I lasted just five months. Those five months were very turbulent as I could not get myself in the right mindset. I knew my heart wasn’t fully in it. I just could not see what I was going get out of the work and where I would go next if I completed the two year course. I was doing subjects I loved but something just wasn’t right; I had gone from a hardworking student who would work his socks off, to a lazy, uninterested student. One thing I learnt in my time at Sixth Form was that if your heart is not in it, it’s not for you.
After leaving Sixth Form, I was lucky enough to turn my Saturday job in optics into a full time job. This wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed but I was gaining experience and was earning money. It was great earning money but did I really want to spend my whole life in optics? No, and that’s when I sat down, evaluated my options and then realised an apprenticeship was what I needed.
It took just over half a year for me to get an apprenticeship. Why? Because I knew this decision would shape my life so could not afford to rush it.
I will always remember the moment I found out that I was the chosen candidate and was to become an apprentice. It was a moment of relief, joy and happiness. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity that I have been given by Zoe and Gareth.
Flash forward to February 2016 and I am now in the fourth month of my apprenticeship and I can happily say I have
loved every minute of my time here at ZC Social Media. 12 months ago I was languishing at Sixth Form, struggling to find any motivation and not having a clear picture of what I was going to do in the future. Now I am doing a job I love, learning an array of new skills and I now know where I want my career to go. By the end of my apprenticeship I will have experience in Social Media management and a qualification to back it up which will set me up for life.
As I just said, an apprenticeship sets you up for life. It gets you on the ladder so you can work towards a successful career doing something you love. You may gain qualifications out of Sixth Form and College but it is unlikely that you will have any experience to go with it. With an Apprenticeship you get the best of both worlds. Experience, and a qualification.
I cannot recommend Apprenticeships enough and would urge anyone who is either not enjoying Sixth Form/College or is in Year 11 to try and get an Apprenticeship. You will not get one overnight, it is hard to get in and become an apprentice but it is certainly worth the effort. Never give up and stop applying. But make sure that whatever Apprenticeship you do apply for, it will involve you doing something you love. Becoming an apprentice has changed my life in a positive way, so go for it and let it change yours.