THE BLOG

Apprentices Are Worth More Than People Realise - A Lot More

23/08/2013 13:42 BST | Updated 23/10/2013 10:12 BST

What really gets to me at results time of year is how quick people are to judge those who have achieved well at GCSE and A-Level as academics and those who struggled as 'failures' perhaps 'only destined for an Apprenticeship'.

Apprenticeships shouldn't be seen as the 'poor cousin' to full time education, but rather a credible opportunity for young people to get their first breaks into industry. In the case of our apprentices the highly competitive creative media industries are well-known for an over-supply of new entrants compared to the amount of jobs available and our apprentices are excited about their break into their career of choice.

From working with our team of creative apprentices at Confetti, they are far from failures and could be the leading lights in the industry to the future. In fact, several of our apprentices have turned down university places in favour of an Apprenticeship because they were keen to 'get their hands dirty'.

It frustrates me that there are so many people quick to label apprentices incorrectly, or rather to assume that Apprenticeships are just for 'traditional' job roles such as engineers, construction, mechanics, retail, customer service and catering. This simply isn't the case, and in the past two years, there's been a noticeable increase in the number of creative media Apprenticeships available which support a wide range of job roles within the sector, offering alternative routes for young people with the drive and ambition to have a successful career in the creative industries sector....now.

Our young creative apprentices have been phenomenal, and fortunately have actually gained recognition for their efforts beyond what we as a business can offer by winning a national competition; to design a Facebook App to help would-be apprentices of the future increase the quality of their applications and interview skills.

The new Facebook app has gone from a winning design to a creative reality this week. Designed by a team of our young creative apprentices it aims to help people increase the quality of their applications and interview skills. It really is a brilliantly user-friendly tool designed by young people with their peers in mind.

I've led our Creative Apprenticeships team for just over a year now and mentoring the apprentice team to first take on the national competition, then go on and win and have to fulfil the creative design has opened my eyes to the true potential of apprentices - given the right direction, training, encouragement and motivation to keep up their hard work and a not insubstantial amount of management support. It's been hard work but the rewards are beyond an award and the achievement of fulfilling such a project. The apprentices had only started their Apprenticeships at Confetti three weeks prior to entering the competition. From winning to delivering the app, they had just 25 days to design and develop full content for a prototype app. This is no mean feat for an experienced digital design company, for a team of creative media apprentices, it's a fantastic achievement.

I've no doubt that each member of the apprentice team will go on to have fulfilling careers in the various areas of the industry in which they're interested. They're operating in a competitive sector in which your ability to get a job is based on the merits of your last project. To have participated in this app design project and include this work on their CVs will only strengthen their chances of impressing an employer, a client, or progressing to a Higher Apprenticeship or degree - all these options are open to them.

In terms of Confetti's Apprenticeship programme, this is an amazing achievement in the period of time we've been running, but we have further ambitions to develop the programme over the coming months. Confetti Media Group was a partner in the consortium who won the Ofcom bid to run the local TV station for Nottingham. Notts TV, is due to launch in spring 2014. This will mark an exciting wave of opportunities for Apprenticeships in a range of job roles. Alongside this we will be offering new Apprenticeship frameworks to extend the range of Apprenticeship we offer employers, and I'm looking forward to broadening our range of partners and stakeholders to develop additional initiatives attached to the programme.

Above all we'll most definitely increase apprentice numbers as we're currently recruiting for a number of media and non-media clients, which indicates there are exciting and busy times ahead for Confetti's Apprenticeship team and significantly, more vacancies for apprentices.