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The Advantages of Apprenticeships

There are many routes to take on your career journey, and it's important to take the time to consider and think about all of your options. One path is undertaking an apprenticeship, which can help you learn essential skills and gain experience within a chosen industry. Apprenticeships?are available to those who have reached the legal school-leaving age, which varies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

In 2016 and 2017 alone, there were 491,300 apprenticeship starts in the UK. However, The Open University Business Barometer, which observes the skills landscape of the UK, revealed a major shortage in skills?(within the UK labour market)?and a significant deficiency in 2018. David Willett, Corporate Director of the OU, explains?that skills shortages are costing UK businesses £6.3 billion. This large figure highlights the need for more skills-based courses and schemes, such as apprenticeships. 

This week is National Apprenticeship Week 2019, and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to remind you to weigh up your options, so we've come up with five main advantages to apprenticeships. 

  1. Apprenticeships?encourage and promote the development of practical (applied) skills in the workplace. They allow you to develop a great skillset to take with you into future jobs, much of which you can learn from experienced colleagues and mentors during your apprenticeship. 
  2. Apprenticeships are structured training programmes that allow you to work towards a recognised qualification while gaining valuable experience and know-how. What you learn can then be used as transferrable skills that you take with you to future jobs and projects. 
  3. Apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn! Many are well-paid and it means you won't have to take out a student loan or pay off any student debt after you achieve your qualification. 
  4. There is so much choice! There are more than 400 different types of apprenticeships so whether you want to work in construction, media, accounting, administration, engineering or agriculture, there will be an apprenticeship for you. 
  5. Apprenticeships offer a varied learning experience. You won't be sitting at a desk studying in a classroom for five days a week. You'll be learning on the job within a real-life company, which makes learning memorable and interesting, and you can apply what you've learnt straight away. 

There are three categories or levels of apprenticeship available, which reflect the trainees' skills and qualifications. These are Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2), Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) and Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4 and above). Once completed, trainees will gain a nationally-recognised qualification, which are now available up to degree level and above. 

So what happens after the apprenticeship training has been completed? In our experience, recruiters are far more likely to hire an apprentice who has successfully completed their training to a high standard compared to a sixth form student who has two poor A-levels under their belt. If an apprenticeship interests you, we recommend researching apprenticeship schemes, reading some real-life?case studies?or speaking to a current or past apprentice about their own experience as a trainee. It's important to weigh up all of your options to make an informed decision. 

There are a number of well-paid apprenticeship schemes?and placements in a number of sectors that can truly kick-start your career. For more information, visit and The Apprenticeship Guide for useful resources including current vacancies. 

Ascendant Recruitment turns 16!

School's out for Ascendant Recruitment, turning 16 years old this week! Life was very different when Ascendant Recruitment was first established on 03/03/03. There were no smart phones and not even Facebook was invented! Here are 16 things that have changed since Ascendant Recruitment began all those years ago. 

1: You don't have to memorise phone numbers anymore 

Remember having to memorise your friends' phone numbers or look them up in your phone book? Not anymore! It's not uncommon for friends and even partners to not know each other's phone numbers off by heart nowadays thanks to contacts lists in smart phones. 

2: You don't have to wait for the newspaper to browse job vacancies 

It was the done thing to race home from school or work and look through the daily newspaper for the current job adverts in your local area. Now we're swiping through job apps and emailing recruiters to find our dream jobs. 

3: An 'office' has become more of an abstract thing 

Thanks to co-working spaces, online conferences and even LinkedIn group discussions, a meeting in a typical company office isn't quite what it used to be. More of us are now working from home a few days each week or embracing flexible working. 

4: TVs are flatter 

Remember the chunky televisions so big that your grandma would even stand photo frames and ornaments on top? They are now a thing of the past (and something we're all pleased to leave in the early noughties!) 

5: We're on the cloud 

We've waved goodbye to back-up disks, storing boxes of CDs and DVDs, and even stopped keeping physical photo albums thanks to the 'cloud'. Much of our lives are now stored in the virtual world above our heads. 

6: Cars drive themselves 

In 2003, we may have considered this a bit of an extravagant idea and something we were only used to seeing in films, but we've entered 2019 with fully driver-less cars becoming the norm.  

7: Same-day delivery 

Before home delivery, we had to make the trip to our local shops to buy essentials. Now you can use up your last can of beans and ask your home assistant device to order you some more while you're cooking dinner! 

8: We rely on Wi-Fi 

Wherever we go, we expect to be able to log onto Wi-Fi, browse the internet, chat with friends and even upload real-time videos and photos to our social media platforms. Back in 2003, we would've been sitting at home at our computer monitors loading dial-up for several minutes! 

9: We're obsessed with chargers 

In the early noughties, the only things we had to charge once in a while were AA batteries and, very occasionally, our car batteries. Now, we're constantly plugging in our smart phones, headphones, smart watches and more. 

10: Job-seeking is a lot more personal 

Gone are the days that you would mail off your CV to different employers in the hope that one of them would call you. Now, it's all about communicating with companies on LinkedIn and building personal connections. Networking has been a great change for recruiters and employers. 

11: The workplace has become more flexible 

Gone are 9-5 days and hour-long lunchbreaks. Many companies now offer flexible working hours so that employees can pick their children up from school, go to the gym before work and generally experience a healthier work/life balance, which is better for both employees and employers. 

12: Christina Aguilera has been replaced with Ariana Grande 

At the time of writing, Christina Aguilera's Beautiful (number one in March 2003) has been replaced with Ariana Grande's single, which has been sitting at number one for some weeks. 

13: Cameras! 

Remember taking your film to the local camera shop to get it developed, and even having to wait to pick up the photos a few days later? Now, you can take a selfie, see it straight away, and upload it to your social media feed in seconds. 

14: Facebook 

When Ascendant Recruitment started out, Facebook didn't exist!  It was actually established in 2004 and it's hard to believe that this platform developed in Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room now has more than 1.5 billion daily users

15: You can talk on the phone and use the internet at the same time 

Talking on the phone, scrolling through social media and watching TV all at the same time is definitely taken for granted in 2019. Back in the early noughties, we used dial-up to connect to the internet, so we got kicked off the phone if someone wanted to get online. 

16: No more borrowing movies at your local rental store 

A weekend trip to Blockbuster was a highlight for many, but we can now simply log onto Netflix or Amazon to download a movie in a matter of minutes. 

We have no way of knowing what the future holds, but whether it be hologram job interviews, video CVs or teleporting, we'll be ready to embrace change and keep moving Ascendant Recruitment forward! 

Ascendant Recruitment itself looked very different 16 years ago. Nick, our Managing Director, took the photo below in 2003. 

... But his three children have now grown up a lot! 

If you're a candidate looking for work or an employer looking to hire, contact our Milton Keynes office or Northampton office today.