Toni at a local Careers Exhibition

Toni Marshall, ITEC’s Youth Programmes Manager, guest blog’s this month and tells us why Apprenticeships are such a great alternative to University #Apprenticeships #ITApprenticeship #Essex

Apprenticeships give aspiring professionals the real world experience they need to get the edge in the job market, and will show employers that you can hit the ground running! For many, the apprenticeship route is not such an obvious choice. But for those who are motivated to get started in the job market, an apprenticeship is an excellent way of gaining essential experience. Due to the lack of graduate jobs and an astronomical increase in university tuition fees, demand for apprenticeships has risen dramatically.


Unlike other opportunities, you are earning money at the same time as studying for your qualification. As an apprentice, you will work alongside experienced staff that will help you to develop job-specific skills and earn a wage at the same time. Although there is no set amount, employers are legally obliged to ensure you are paid at least the National Minimum Wage and many employers pay more. This may seem low to start with, but bear in mind that you aren’t yet fully qualified, and as you grow in experience, your pay will increase accordingly. Research also shows that an apprentice can earn almost £4,000 more than graduates per year in their first job. As an apprentice, you will also receive the same benefits as other employees, such as pension contributions and leisure facilities. You’ll also feel more stable and secure knowing there will be a pay cheque waiting for you at the end of each week or month.



A student leaving university will face anything between £30,000 and £60,000 of student loan debt, which they’ll have to start paying back as soon as they reach a reasonable salary. An apprenticeship doesn’t have to cost you a penny! Those who embark on an apprenticeship won’t be weighed down by tuition fees or debt by the time they graduate. In fact, your employer will be paying you to gain a qualification instead.

As an apprentice, the Government, together with your employer, covers the entire cost of your training. There aren’t any additional fees to pay, and you actually start earning a real salary straight away, rather than depending on borrowing money to complete your studies.


Apprenticeships are designed with the help of employers and offer a structured programme that coaches you through the skills you need to be successful. Employers can guide and train apprentices until they are a skilled and reliable part of the workforce, increasing the chances of them staying on with the business. You will learn from experienced professionals on the job, and will also be trained externally at ITEC. You will also be set targets to ensure that you are well-supported and that you are progressing at an appropriate pace. The modules you decide to study will provide you with the essential knowledge needed for your future career. If you impress during your apprenticeship, you could also gain a full-time position with the company. To have a foot in the industry at such an early stage in your career is massively beneficial, and could give you the basis to work your way up. In the future when you are looking to develop your career, you will have relevant experience to guide you forward. Employers tend to favour candidates with a year or two of experience, as well as qualifications. This means you’ll be a strong competitor when you decide to progress with your career.


Josh Barwick close up

ITEC Apprentice, Joshua Barwick, now works for as an IT Manager for a top hotel in London after he completed his Level 3 IT Professional Apprenticeship with Microsoft qualifications

It isn’t just practical skills and experience that you’ll gain during your apprenticeship you’ll also be able to back them up with a respected qualification. For some industries, these sector-specific certifications will be even more valuable than a gaining a relevant degree, and a much better indication that you’ll be able to hit the ground running. Even if you decide to move on to a completely different role, you’ll still have something to show for the time you’ve spent studying. As well as lots of relevant experience, employers will see that you have the drive and determination to complete your training and gain an award. This will put you in a strong position when you want to climb the career ladder.


ITEC offers a solid support network from the first day! You will be allocated an Assessor and a member of our review team who will be developing not only your professional skills but your personal skills too. With regular contact and review meetings, we will travel with you on your learning journey helping you overcome any barriers along the way. We pride ourselves on our way of doing things and with a 90% success rate that speaks for itself!


Those leaving university often suffer from a lack of solid work experience in the field they wish to pursue. With an apprenticeship under your belt, you’ll have between 1 and 2 years of experience to flaunt, automatically giving you a head start in the job hunting stakes. You’ll probably also have made some good contacts at your employer’s company. Remember the saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? This is particularly true when it comes to jobs, so make use of your networks to find out about upcoming opportunities. If you can get a foot in the door before a job has even been advertised, then great!

Need any more help, guidance or advice?  If yes, call me on 01268 286929 or email me at

ITEC Advert March 2018